Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King has died

Widow of slain Civil Rights Leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, has died at the age of 78.
King, a Civil Rights Leader in her own right, had been ill with heart disease. She died Monday, January 30, as reported on Fox News (Fox & Friends)Tuesday morning.
Let us please take this day to reflect on how we all can walk the King's path, even if it is only for a little while.

Hurray for Banneker!

g-four star school 01-30-06
copyright 2006 ljm

GARY-Beating the odds takes dedication.
Leading the way in academic success within the Gary School District, Banneker Achievement Center has again

been selected as a Four Star School for 2004.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed announced Monday, that of the states 1,870 schools 198

earned the award, the state's highest distinction. Banneker has received the designation for 16 years in a row,

Principal Sarah Givens said.
She credits the school's success to good leadership skills, smart students and a great staff.
"It helps when the students come in with high potential. My key thing is discipline and being consistent in what

you are doing," she said.
Winning schools won't get money but will receive a certificate.The award is based on overall attendance rates,

student achievement on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus.
In spite of a school size of about 500 students and class sizes that can count as high as 28 pupils and almost

no racial diversity, the ISTEP scores at Banneker have greatly exceeded state averages for the past six years

according to data from the Indiana Department of Education.
Reed said in a press release that individual school corporations receiving the award should be proud.
"...Schools are models of high-level of performance and achievement," she said.
Givens, who has been principal at Banneker 14 years, can often be seen sitting not in her office but in one of

the brightly colored alcoves in the hallway and in the doorway of the school. The children gravitate to her,

when seeking affection and respect her when getting redirection. Her pep and stylish attire match her

voluminous personality. In other words, beating the odds takes dedication.
"I'm in the hallway all day long and in the classes and popping up in the children's lives. Everyone knows where

I am--no one has to look for me," Givens said.
Givens said teaches work late, stay late and on lunch hours and take pride in their school. Givens said she

rewards her teachers with praise or help when needed to keep morale up. She recognizes hard work.

Teachers at Banneker grade about 90 papers a day.
"We live in Gary, Indiana and i realize we have environmental conditions that can hamper learning but what is

on the outside, stays on the outside. What I do in this school will depict the kind of lives they will live tomorrow.

The children buy into the school and have high-self esteem," she said.
Givens said other schools in the district can do it if they do the same things that are happening at Banneker.
She said she would be happy to share her techniques if ever placed in a leadership position within the district.

She was a resource teacher for 15 years where a part of her job was writing curriculum. She has had various

positions as principal for six years throughout the district before landing at Banneker in the 1990s. In all she

has 20 years experience as a leader of educators.
Aiding the school's success is her form of school management, named departmentalization.
Givens said kindergarten and first grade teachers have self-contained classrooms but in grades two through

six, one teacher teaches one subject each.
"After 14 years, don't you thing they would become experts? When test scores come out I can look at those

individual teachers," she said.
A state-accredited public school qualifies for the Four Star designation by meeting Adequate Yearly Progress

as defined by The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The school must perform in the top 25

percent of all public schools in the state, in student attendance rates, mathematics proficiency scores,

English/language arts proficiency scores, and the percent of students passing both mathematics and

English/language arts.
Also designated Four Star schools in Northwest Indiana are Franklin Elementary School in Griffith, Southridge

Elementary School in Highland and four schools in Munster; Munster High School, Wilbur Wright Middle School,

Ernest R. Elliot Elementary School and Frank H. Hammond Elementary School.

Mary Jane Michalak, a communications specialist for the Indiana Department of Education, said achieving the Four Star designation 16 years in row is quite an accomplishment.

She said the Education Roundtable is considering including a best practices portion so that schools like Banneker can pass what they know on to schools that may not be doing as well.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

I missed my rent-my-blog bid

My apologies to the bidder who wanted to rent space on my blog. I was remiss in checking my e-mail and have only 24-hrs to respond. I will be more careful in the future.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Foxx on Leno Wednesday night

Sexy R & B singer, Jamie Foxx, was on the Jay Leno show last night chatting about his musical airing tonight on NBC and his platinum CD "Unpredictable"--which is also the "no. 1 song in the country," Foxx said.
Leno and Foxx seem to go way back to days when they both did stand up. For those of you who somehow don't know, Foxx is a comedian--a good one at that--and actor, songwriter and singer. I first took notice of his greatness as an actor in "Any Given Sunday" and of course on the "Jamie Foxx Show" which was mysteriously ripped off of the air for some reason and "In Living Color" and most recenty, "Ray." His recent CD is where I realized his depth as a songwriter and vocal range although he has had fans buy and rave over his previous releases.
Those first songs were not flukes but steps to his current status.
Leno has not yet realized the recent greatness of Foxx and his Oscar and his hard won success.
They talked about the film "Booty Call" and the good ol' days at the Comedy Store (?) and though I believe Foxx was there to promote his musical special, he hammed it up, joking and laughing. (Too bad Arsenio isn't still here. Hey, where is Byron Allen? He deserves a primetime talk show.)
Foxx is still normal and down-to-earth--unless he was just ON last night and is totally Hollywood. Being in the public eye can sometimes affect how one interacts with the world and people around them. Foxx is handsome and humorous and intelligent, (I like that in a man)so it is easy for an insecure man to become envious.
And his taste in clothing is to die for. His ensemble was comprised of security guard type pants in what looked to be gray wool with the stripe down the leg, v-neck sweater, shirt, velvet(?) blazer and the most wonderful pair of shoes in black and white. (I dunno, we were at the Cave and I had all the folk up in there watching Jamie and cheering him on--yes ma, we were drinking--and I am a little blurry on detail.)
But ifn Jamie Foxx wasn't famous he'd still be a cool broa to hang with and all--bet. Forreal tho.
And if you are at all wondering why I am writing about this man (who obviously doesn't need much help to shine) it is because he has really been achieving his career goals lately and I am proud of him.
And because folks in our age group hardly ever get to have our opinions heard or have someone like Foxx speak our language to our generation. (we ain't Baby Boomers and are too mature for the lower rungs of Gen X) He and Kanye West are really doin' the damn thing.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jamie Foxx in NBC special this month

Jamie Foxx: "Unpredictable" airs January 25, at 7 p.m. on NBC/WMAQ, Chicago.
TVGuide.com states that the hour-long special features Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, the Game and Common in a musical or urban play--of sorts.
Vignettes will illustrate portions the actor/songwriter/R & B Soul singer's life. The songs are from Foxx's no. 1 hit CD/DVD, "Unpredictable."
(I hope he takes his shirt off at some point during the special;>)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday Baby Brother!

My brother's birthday was January 18 but I got tied up with going wireless inside my home. This mesage is late. (i'm shamed)
My baby brother --who stands over six foot tall-- is a year older now. And he is still the baby. I used to change his dipies. Mom was old fashioned and used cloth diapers because the disposable ones back then left a rash. I was in charge of dunking the diapers up and down in the toilet before wringing them out and placing them in the diaper pail.
I did this with joy.
I was so happy to get a baby brother. No more would I be blamed for eating up all of the cupcakes and twinkies. Or breaking things in the house. I even got to share the blame of knocking over the Christmas tree with him one year. Oh glee!
Happy Birthday Grown. I hope you had a nice one but I don't care how tall and big you get, you will always be my baby brother.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

1999 WBEZ

this is an audio post - click to play

Interview with Leslie Jones McCloud on CPD. Things have changed since this interview.

1999 WBEZ

this is an audio post - click to play

Interview with Leslie Jones McCloud on CPD. Things have changed since this interview.

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Today is Mommy's birthday. She has a full day planned with her mother and sisters and we have been ringing her phone off of the hook all morning long.
My mother is such a blessing to me and she forgives me for my shortcomings. Daddy just yells a lot.
Anyway Happy Birthday to my Little Brother on the 18th of this month and of course, The Rev. Dr, Martin Luther King.
The anniversary of this blog passed us all by on December 5. Happy belated first birthday "yeah and--so what!"
(Thank You. Better late than never)
I hope everyone has enjoyed my ramblings here. Some have not. But then again that is why America is known as the land of free-enough speech (heee heee)
On my wish list still is Sirius Radio so that I can listen to Howard Stern. BF didn't want to get it for me for Christmas. Instead I got knives--the really good kind. He said I have some jewelry he bought but has yet to give.
I'm waiting.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cigarettes in Chicago may get Costlier


copyright 2005
Contributing Writer

Cook County residents are encouraged to voice their opinions about the proposed
2006 budget at an upcoming series of public hearings.
January 5, 6:30 p.m. at the Markham Courthouse; January 6, 10:00 a.m. at the
Cook County Building; January 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Skokie Courthouse; January 12,
6:30 p.m. at the Maywood Courthouse.

Subhead suggestion: Windy City smokers play a game of give and take

A proposed county cigarette tax increase could bring the price of cigarettes in
Chicago to $8 or more a pack.
However, according to the 2006 county budget proposal released Monday, property
taxes will not be raised.
Smokers at Chicago Legend, a South Loop bar, kept the proposed tax increase in
perspective and took it in stride.
Freddie Atkins, 40, said he would continue to purchase cigarettes because it is
only a $1 difference and because he intends to continue to smoke. His friend, a
woman who only wanted to be identified as Ms. Tina, had mixed feelings.
"It's more money out of my pocket but I don't need to do it anyway," she said,
adding that as a property holder in the county, "either way, I'll get it,' (in tax
She said she was glad the tax was placed on cigarettes rather than
her property but storeowners had a slightly different perspective.
Mustafa Muhammad, owner of a 7-11 in the 5200 block of North Western, said he
thinks his customers will stop buying so many cigarettes but wonders how many
more will express anger at him because they don't understand the tax increase. He said cigarettes at his store cost about $6 without tax included.
"Maybe they will stop smoking. Maybe they will buy them somewhere else. They
get mad at us when they are so expensive," Muhammad said.
In a blog dated Decmeber 22, 2005 Tim Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, said in "Burned: Cigarette taxes are unfair to smokers," that the taxes on cigarettes in the city could go as high as $4.02 per pack if the proposed tax increase is allowed. (so just tack that on to whatever the taxless price of smokes are and you will have an accurate description of what to hand the cashier).
A sign from cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris was spotted in the cashier's
window in nearby Hammond, Ind., asking proprietors to limit the number of
cartons of cigarettes that customers could purchase at one time.
Reasons for the proposed cigarette tax increase are due to significant reductions in federal
health care reimbursements to the state, rising costs for employee benefits and other
increasing financial requests--all which resulted in a $307 million county budget shortfall, according
to a Cook County Board of Commissioners released statement.
The $1 tax increase on cigarettes, if approved, will bring $2 in taxes to
the county coffers, instead of the $1 the current tax structure now allows. It will yield $75 million for next yearÂ’s budget, making
sure public health services are not cut, Cook County Board President John H.
Stroger said.
Included in the proposed cuts are, "nearly 100 staff positions." Also, there
will be no new positions created.
"It's doubling the net profit the county will get. That money is plugging the
gap in federal Medicaid reimbursements (cuts)," John Gibson, a spokesman for
Stroger told the Defender.
Public safety is the largest part of the county's budget with funding levels in
excess of $1 billion. That budget funds the operations of the Sheriff, Chief
Judge, Clerk of the Court, State's Attorney, Public Defender, Judicial Advisory
Council and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
The 2006 budget provides almost $830 million for the Bureau of Health, which
funds Stroger, Oak Forest and Provident Hospital operating costs, the Department
of Public Health, CORE and 28 ambulatory clinics.
"Prescriptions are probably the fastest increasing healthcare service we
provide. In 2003 we filled 2.2 million prescriptions. In 2005 we filled nearly
3.8 million," Stroger said.