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january 6 - 12, 2014

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LOCAL
Winning Projects for “Voice of the Citizen” Budgeting for Public Safety Vote
840 votes were cast by local residents and business owners over the past two weeks as part of the “Voice of the Citizen” Budgeting for Public Safety initiative. This initiative gave the community the chance to vote on what they feel their specific neighborhood needs. The Southwest quadrant winner was the Jobs for Life career and community education program which will provide job referrals and mentors for 30 adults and tutoring for 60 youth in science, technology, engineering and math. The project also includes seminars on block club leadership, civic engagement, financial literacy and home buying as well as a youth disaster recovery workshop that teaches skills in disaster preparation. The winning project in the Southeast quadrant includes civic engagement opportunities like traffic calming discussions and implementations, neighborhood enhancement projects such as mini-Clean Sweeps, gardens, landscaping and community collaboration events such movie nights, health fairs and holiday celebrations. The Northwest quadrant winner was entitled Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. The items to be funded in this project include tactics to encourage pedestrian traffic and discourage loitering, street drug sales and gambling. These would be high visibility pedestrian crossing signs, increased brightness of street lighting in select areas, outdoor café seating for rotating use among the quadrant’s restaurants, stores and delis, sidewalk plantings and hanging baskets and vacant storefront art. The Northeast quadrant winner was the GIS Scholars Program. The VOC funding will allow the program to add 5 to 10 more students to take part in after-school training in the operation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. The students will create a mapping project designed to assist with crime prevention in selected areas. They will collect data and identify crime rates through the mapping technology, create maps to plot variables surrounding crime such as property ownership, poverty, proximity to services and others. They will publish and share their results. Mayor Thomas S. Richards dedicated up to $200,000-up to $50,000 per city quadrant-to be spent on projects that were wholly created and developed by citizens. The winning projects are scheduled to proceed to the implementation phase in January.

State of Rochester BookLet Released
The State of Rochester,” which provides a snapshot of the status of the city’s financial, infrastructure, budget, public projects, public safety and more has been released. The report summarizes Rochester’s general census information, economic conditions, housing units, City budget and finances, City investments, Bureau of Housing Development program outcomes and itemizes the City’s project pipeline. There is also data on the City’s workforce, festivals and events and also a crime status report. “Although we still face many challenges, we have much to be proud of,” said Mayor Richards in the booklet’s preface letter. “We have seen our real property values continue to increase... we flattened our population decline and seen record public and private investment in our neighborhoods and Downtown...People have faith in Rochester and...we need to continue to build on that investment.” The data in the report is sourced and will give the community a factual, unbiased look at the state of Rochester. The booklet will be available at City branch libraries, Neighborhood Service Centers and as a downloadable file on the City’s website at www. cityofrochester.gov/sor.

Democrats Say Yes to MCC Downtown Campus Contracts
Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature voted in favor of two contracts for the MCC downtown campus during a meeting of the Recreation and Education Committee. The legislation proposed by the County Executive would authorize contracts with LaBella Associates for design services and DiMarco Constructors LLC to provide design phase and construction phase construction management services. “This caucus is pleased to support these two contracts so the work at MCC can finally begin,” Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews (D-Rochester) said. “The notion that the MCC project is being held up is a complete misrepresentation of reality. The truth is we have $24 million available for the project from the 2012 Capital Budget and only $7 million in proposed contracts, leaving a balance of $17 million to be spent on future contracts.” The contracts total almost $7 million and are the first steps towards designing and constructing the new downtown campus. Funding for the contracts is contained in capital fund 1665, which according to page 415 of the 2014 County Budget has $24 million available to pay for the downtown campus. “Republicans should be embarrassed for trying to use this project and MCC’s students as pawns in their effort to continue allowing the County Executive to investigate her own actions. They need to reevaluate their course of action. As we vote in favor of these contracts tonight, we would hope that they will consider the value in compromise and working together to protect taxpayers and restore the community’s faith in their representatives,” Andrews added.

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LOCAL

Midtown Tower Site Renamed “The Tower at Midtown”
Midtown Tower will now be called “The Tower at Midtown” after the City transferred the title to Midtown Tower, LLC, a partnership of Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management. “The redevelopment of the Tower at Midtown is truly transformative for Downtown and the entire region,” said Mayor Thomas Richards. “Prior to the Midtown Rising project, the Midtown Plaza and Midtown Tower had been vacant for all intents and purposes. This will breathe new life into our Center City, bringing with it new residents and commercial development.” The $59 million redevelopment project, now known as The Tower at Midtown, will create a central point of commercial and retail, office and residential activity and is one of the centerpieces of the Midtown Rising redevelopment project. It will create 29 new permanent jobs, retain 316 permanent jobs and create 200 construction jobs. The project will get underway in spring 2014 and is comprised of 179 residential rental units and approximately 160,000 square feet of commercial space on the first three to five floors of the Tower and the former Plaza area. “Our redevelopment of The Tower at Midtown is one of the most exciting opportunities that has ever been presented to Buckingham Properties. It represents over a year of very hard work by City officials, engineers, architects, and our private development group,” said Buckingham Properties CEO Larry Glazer. “The opportunity to transform an entire neighborhood and raise it to new heights does not occur very often. We are pleased and honored to be part of this opportunity. We are most grateful to the City of Rochester and the staff we have worked with to make this idea a reality. Two years from now, it will be hard to remember the skeletal remains that exist today.” Buckingham Properties owns and manages more than 50 properties comprising over 9 million square feet and has a successful history of redevelopment and adaptive re-use of existing properties. Morgan Management, based in Rochester, has extensive experience in the ownership and management of high quality, residential communities, owning and operating a residential and commercial real estate portfolio since 1976. “We are excited about the revitalization of the Tower at Midtown for what it represents for Downtown Rochester,” said owner Robert Morgan. “We feel that this will be a major improvement in redeveloping a part of the city that was once thriving and will become thriving again, with a live-work-play lifestyle.” Midtown Plaza consisted of approximately 1.4 million square feet of vacant office and retail buildings covering 8.6 acres. The Midtown Rising project involves the demolition of most of the Midtown buildings, the adaptive reuse of the former Seneca Building as the new Windstream office project, the adaptive reuse of the former Midtown Tower, the inclusion of new streets and open space and the creation of four additional development parcels. The total investment in the Midtown Rising project, including acquisition, relocation, demolition, infrastructure improvements, rehabilitation of the Midtown Parking Garage, the redevelopment of the Windstream offices building and the redevelopment of the Midtown Tower - is more than $184 million. New York State is providing a total of $5.2 million in funding for The Tower at Midtown, $1.2 million through the Upstate Regional Blueprint Program and $4 million through the 2012 Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council process. The City approved $8.7 million in funding for the project and worked with the developer to secure approval for $18.6 million in incentives and property tax abatements through the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. The former Midtown Plaza was the first downtown indoor mall in the United States in 1962 with stores like McCurdy’s, Wegmans, hotel, upscale restaurant and the famous “Clock of Nations.” The plaza closed permanently July 29, 2008.

Lovely Warren Sworn-in as Rochester Mayor
Lovely A. Warren was sworn-in as Rochester’s Mayor early Wednesday morning in a private ceremony at the University of Rochester Medical Center beside her grandfather and role model, Cecil McClary, Sr. profound feelings of blessed gratitude and humility,” Mayor Warren said. “It is a bittersweet occasion, to say the least. But I am also thankful that as I look ahead to the challenges before my administration and me, I have been given this reminder that God is indeed very, very good. I believe this is my grandfather’s final lesson.” Mr. McClary, who helped raise Mayor Warren and played a formative role in her decision to enter a life of public service, suffered a stroke Christmas Eve and is in palliative care. The ceremony was held at 12:01 a.m. in Mr. McClary’s hospital room. Mr. McClary held the Bible on which Mayor Warren rested her hand while Rochester City Court Judge Stephen T. Miller administered the oath of office.
Lovely Warren and her grandfather Cecil McClary, Sr.

have provided her grandfather. A public inauguration ceremony is scheduled for noon Saturday, Jan. 4 at the Auditorium Theatre, 885 E. Main St. Doors will open at 11 a.m. and seating will be available on a first-come, first-

served basis. All are welcome. Warren is Rochester’s fifth elected mayor, Rochester’s first female mayor, the first African American female mayor and the youngest to take the position.

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“Today, I begin one of the most important journeys of my life with obvious sadness tempered by

Warren said it was vitally important that her grandfather be with her at the first moments of her Mayoral term. She thanked her many supporters who prayed that he could participate in the inauguration. She also thanked the URMC staff for the excellent care they

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LOCAL
Mayor Lovely A. Warren Presides at Swearing-in Ceremony for Fire Chief, Interim Police Chief
Beginning her term with a focus on public safety, Mayor Lovely A. Warren presided at the Swearing-in Ceremony today for Fire Chief John P. Schreiber and Interim Police Chief to Michael Ciminelli. “Public safety is the most important function of government, and I am confident that Chief Schreiber and Interim Chief Ciminelli will lead their Departments in a manner that earns the respect and trust of the people of Rochester,” said Mayor Warren. Chief Schreiber has more than 30 years experience in the fire service including 25 in the Rochester Fire Department. He most recently served as the Rochester Fire Marshal. Interim Chief Ciminelli has more than 35 years experience in law enforcement, including 17 with the Rochester Police Department. He most recently served as Deputy Chief of Administration. At the request of the chiefs, the initial swearing-in ceremony was conducted with a small audience of friends and family in City Hall. Rochester City Court Judge Teresa Johnson administered the oath of office. “I want to take this opportunity to thank these two men and all the men and women of the Rochester Fire and Police Departments for their commitment to protecting our citizens and visitors,” Warren said. “I also want to thank the families of our police officers and firefighters for the sacrifices they endure to support loved ones in such challenging jobs.”

Lovely Warren Speaks Out on Husbands’ Past
Mayor-elect Lovely Warren decided to set the record straight about her husbands’ past only hours before being sworn in as Rochester’s first Black, female Mayor. “Today I was asked about a matter involving my husband, Tim Granison, more than 15 years ago,” Warren said. “In 1997, at the age of 17, Tim was involved in a situation instigated by other youth that resulted in an encounter with the criminal justice system. Because of his age and the nature of the alleged offense, he was adjudicated a youthful offender.” Granison was involved in armed robbery of The Source jewelry story in Greece on West Ridge Road in March of 1997, after which he received 5 years’ probation. Warren said the file is sealed and he does not have a criminal record. “Tim learned a great deal from the experience, and is now a loving husband, father and contributing member of our community. What happened with Tim is illustrative of what happens to too many young people in our community who are growing up in very difficult circumstances and get caught up in things that they should not.” Warren said her husbands’ situation is like so many other teenagers growing up in the city and their past should not brand them as a deviant or a nonupstanding person for the rest of their lives. “Tim's story, a story that is unfortunately common among many of Rochester's young people shows us why it is very important for us to reach out to our youth, help them get a good education and into the workforce. Lots of young people make mistakes, the important thing is that as a community, we don't give up on

Lovely Warren and husband, Tim Granison

them and help them find a better path, just as Tim did. “…Our message to our youth is that you don't have to end up where you start. We are proof positive that you

can make changes. You can find a better way,” Warren said. “…We are very thankful that Tim was able to take this experience and use it turn his life around in a positive direction.”

New City Management Team Tours Neighborhoods
Mayor Lovely A. Warren organized a bus tour of city neighborhoods for the members of her Senior Management Team. “Our work is not limited to what happens in City Hall,” said Mayor Warren. “Rochester’s neighborhoods are where our customers live, work and play and that is where we must deliver our services. First and foremost in their day-to-day activities, I want City staff to maintain a strong connection and desire to help the people and neighborhoods of our city.” The staff visited the following areas, receiving presentations from: * Brooks Landing, LaShay Harris of the 19th Ward Community Association * College Town, Peter Robinson of the University of Rochester * City Gate, Anthony J. Costello * St. Joseph House, Ed Doherty and Jennifer Leonard of the Rochester Area Community Foundation * David F. Gantt Community Center, Gladys Burgos of Ibero American Action League * House of Mercy, Sister Grace Miller * Genesee Brewery, Rich Lozyniak, North American Brewing * Lyell Avenue and Mt. Read Boulevard, Roger Brandt of the JOSANA Neighborhood * Port of Rochester, Mark Gregor, City Manager of Port Development * High Falls Area, Lewis Stess of the GardenAerial Project * Rochester Transit Center, Daniele Coll-Gonzalez, of Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority * Midtown Plaza-Sibley Building Area, Ken Glazer of Buckingham Properties The following City staff participated in the tour: * Charles Benincasa, Director of Finance * Lisa Bobo, Director of Information Technology * T. Andrew Brown, Corporation Counsel * Christine Christopher, Director of Communications * Michael Ciminelli, Interim Police Chief * Jeremy Cooney, Chief of Staff * Tassie Demps, Director of Human Resourc Management * Reggie Hill of the Mayor’s Office * Norman Jones, Commissioner of Environmental Services * Marisol Lopez, Commissioner of Recreation and Youth Services * John Merklinger, Director of Emergency Communications * Tracey Miller of the Mayor’s Office * Leonard Redon, Deputy Mayor * John Schreiber, Fire Chief * Delmonize Smith, Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development * Patricia Uttaro, Library Director * Christopher Wagner, Director of Management and Budget * Allen Williams, Director of Special Projects * Spencer Ash, Director Development Services * Rosiland Brooks, Director of Accounting * Kim Jones, City Treasurer * Eric Rose, Assistant Commissioner of Recreation * James McIntosh, City Engineer * Mitchell Rowe, Director of Planning and Zoning * Donald Starver, Deputy Director of Communications * Suzanne Warren, Assistant Director of Management and Budget * Michael Wood, Deputy Police Chief of Operations

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LOCAL

COMMUNITY EVENTS
Local family celebrates christmas with the homeless
By Delani Weaver Over 100 homeless men, women and children were given an early Christmas party at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. Several volunteers and sponsors from all around the city did their part to make sure that the homeless brought in Christmas with a smile from the small idea of a local family who lives to give, officials stated. Olivia Bradley-West, her husband Norman West and her children threw a Christmas party for the homeless in the Kate Gleason Auditorium of the library. Bradley-West said she got the idea from a smell in the library. “I had a meeting at the central library for the boys’ book and on the way to the conference room, I inquired about the smell,” Bradley-West said. “It smelled like campfire. I asked a lady if there was a fireplace somewhere, and she said no. She said one of the things that contributes to that smell is that there are homeless people that live underneath the building. They reside in the library during the day and at night they go underneath the building and make campfires, and the smell circulates through the ventilation system.” West said, initially, she never intended to throw a party for the homeless. She and her family planned on making bags and giving them to the homeless instead. “We had been in the process of making “Be a Blessing Bags,” which were bags that were filled with toiletries for the homeless. But we weren’t sure which homeless people to give them to. So we decided with the lady at the meeting that we would have the party there, and then it turned into this huge thing,” Bradley-West said. Hot food and drinks were prepared for the people and families in need. Bingo, raffles and other games were played for prizes that included gift baskets filled with food and snacks, sweatshirts, socks, hats, scarves, cosmetics for the women, and gloves. Children were given brand new toys, books, and games from Santa Claus as well as a book reading from BradleyWest’s two sons Jeremiah and Joshua West, who are authors of the children’s book “Champions of Change, Live to Give.” “I feel bad for them. Nobody should be homeless, and we want to make changes in the community,” Jeremiah, 8, said. “I feel very blessed with everything that I have, and I think that they need help more than I do,” said Joshua, 6. The party was sponsored by Triedstone Missionary Baptist Church, Church of Love, Tops Friendly Markets, Homewood Suites and several others. “I think this is something we want do every year,” Bradley-West said. “I haven’t bought one Christmas present for my family; I’ve been so focused on this event. I think we should get the focus off ourselves, and get it onto someone who is really in need because this is going to be a cold winter. Imagine living outside. It’s just making it harder for those people.” Her husband, Norman West said, “In addition to that we want to try and connect them with resources after this event. So, throughout the year, they have places they can go to have a hot meal. So, we’re putting together little laminated cards that will have where to get hot meals from Monday through Sunday, and on the other side will be shelters.” “If Jesus is glorified, and these people have hope, I’m happy,” Bradley-West said. The West family said they thank all sponsors and volunteers.

Olivia Bradley-West pictured back center

NATIONAL
James Avery of ‘Fresh Prince’ fame dead at 68
NEW YORK (AP) - James Avery, the bulky character actor who laid down the law at home and on the job as the Honorable Philip Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has died. Avery’s publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told The Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., following complications from open heart surgery. He was 68, Snyder said. Avery, who stood more than 6 feet tall, played the family patriarch and a wealthy attorney and judge on the popular TV comedy that launched the acting career of Will Smith as Banks’ troublemaking nephew. The sitcom, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996, was set in the Banks’ mansion, where Smith’s character was sent from Philadelphia when things got tough in his own neighborhood. Con’td on next page

PUZZLES NATIONAL
James Avery...FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
Fans came to know the imposing Banks as “Uncle Phil.” Avery liked to say that the way to be an actor was to act, and he had a busy and diverse career before, during and after “Fresh Prince.” His TV credits included “Grey’s Anatomy,” ‘’NYPD Blue” and “Dallas,” and among his many films were “Fletch,” ‘’Nightflyers” and “8 Million Ways to Die.” His voice alone brought him many jobs, notably as Shredder in the animated TV series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” According to Snyder, he will be seen in the film “Wish I Was Here,” directed by Zach Braff and scheduled to premiere later this month at the Sundance festival. Avery grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., and served in the Navy in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After returning to the states, he settled in California and studied drama and literature at the University of California at San Diego.
James Avery

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He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and stepson Kevin Waters.

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COVER

A
By Delani Weaver
Almost every seat in the Auditorium Theatre was filled with Rochester residents, community leaders and elected officials as Lovely Warren was welcomed as the new Mayor of Rochester. The inauguration for the first African-American female to be elected Mayor of Rochester was an emotional event with several attendees either laughing or in tears throughout the event. The inauguration began with a slideshow of pictures of different events and appearance throughout Warren’s campaign. Following the slideshow, the Master of Ceremonies, Ron Thomas thanked outgoing Mayor Thomas Richards for his work as mayor and his support of Mayor Warren after his announcement to end his campaign. Several students from the Rochester City School District participated in the event, including the national anthem which was sang by School of the Arts student Timothy Mitchum, children from The Montessori Academy led the Pledge of Allegiance, a dance performance by the Borinquen Dance Theatre, a tribute to Warren from her high schools’ step team The Wilson Pearls and a dance by School of the Arts student Hajah Fisher accompanied by music from Timothy Mitchum. “It is a great day for Mayor Lovely Warren,” said New York State Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. “…Lovely Warren, no one put a silver spoon in your mouth. You got here the old fashioned way. You earned it.” The first woman and African-American to be elected onto the Monroe County Board of Supervisors Constance Mitchell said, “She needs us to become a community of family, looking out for each other and looking out for her. Today I pass the torch to Lovely. I wish her well, I wish her success and I pray that God leads her down a successful path. Seeing Barack Obama become the first Black President, seeing Bill Johnson become our first mayor of color, seeing you (Warren) become our first female mayor. What a blessing that’s been.” Scott Fearing, acting Executive Director of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley said, “We look forward to working with Mayor Warren to create a Rochester that focuses on livability… Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people are part of all identities.” New York State Assemblyman David Gantt, who Warren previously worked for and refers to as a father said, “There are those who are saying, she’s just gonna be a David Gantt clone. Believe me, those are people who don’t know Lovely Warren…I did not get her to run for mayor. She did it on her own.” Mayor Warren was presented with the family bible by Mary McClaryHill and took the Oath of Office with Judge Teresa Johnson in place of Cecil McClary, Sr. In a stirring speech that left many in tears, Mayor Warren gave thanks to the community of Rochester, her family, friends and volunteers who have supported her throughout her campaign and shared her plans for the city of Rochester. She dedicated her speech to her grandfather Cecil McClary, Sr., who passed last week after witnessing Warren being sworn in as Mayor of Rochester from his hospital bed. “I am truly and deeply honored that you are her to share this special day with me,” Warren said. “On March 22, 2013 I stood a few miles from here and said that together, we have the power to make history. Rochester, you did it. We did it…I know this isn’t going to be easy, but I am going to fight for changes and outcomes with the fierceness of a parent defending their child, because I am.”

Lovely Warren

New York State Assemblyman David Gantt

Borinquen Dance Theatre, Inc.

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COVER

Lovely Warren and her leadership team

Lovely Warren and husband Timothy Granison New York State Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer

Constance Mitchell

Lovely Warren

Borinquen Dance Theatre, Inc.

Lovely Warren

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NATIONAL
GED test overhauled; some states opt for new exam
WASHINGTON (AP) - The GED test, for decades the brand name for the high school equivalency exam, is about to undergo some changes. On Thursday, an upgraded GED exam and two new competing equivalency tests offered in several states will usher in a new era in adult education testing. The GED (General Educational Development) exam was created in 1942 to help World War II veterans who dropped out of high school use college benefits offered under the GI Bill. This will be its first face-lift in more than a decade. The revamped test is intended to be more rigorous and better aligned with the skills needed for college and today’s workplaces. The new test will only be offered on a computer, and it will cost more. What consumers pay for the test varies widely and depends on state assistance and other factors. Even before its launch, officials in many states have balked at the cost increase and at doing away with paper-andpencil testing. At least nine states New York, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine and West Virginia - severed ties with the GED test and adopted one of the two new tests that are entering the market. Three others - Wyoming, New Jersey and Nevada - will offer all three. Tennessee will offer the GED test and one other, and other states are expected to decide what to do in the coming months. That will leave test takers, adult educators and states grappling with new questions: How do you best prepare students for the tests? Which is best, by price and quality? How will the tests be accepted by the military, employers and colleges? The advent of new tests has sent thousands of test takers rushing to complete sections of the old test they had left incomplete. Once the upgrade happens, the old scores of “partial passers” will no longer be accepted. “Angst is the good word” to describe this time in adult education, said Lennox McLendon, executive director of the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium. Marty Finsterbusch, president of ValueUSA, a resource organization for adult learners, said he fears there will be a lot of unintended consequences and he’s worried about adult learners “getting caught up in the crunch of this.” For example, he said, he wonders what will happen to someone who partially passes a test in one state, then moves to another state that doesn’t offer that type of exam. “The system will work itself out eventually, but how many people are going to get hurt in the meantime?” Finsterbusch said. More than 700,000 people took the GED test in 2012. The average test taker is about 26, and many people seeking a high school equivalency diploma are poor. Nationally, about 40 million American adults lack a high school education. The GED test has been owned by the nonprofit American Council on Education since its inception. Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE, said that when it became clear a new test was needed she wanted it to include materials that would help test takers better prepare for the exam and get linked to resources that would help them plan. To do that ACE enlisted a partner, the for-profit company Pearson Vue Testing. The new test can make results available quickly and collect data that will help teachers better understand how their students did on the exam, so teaching can be adjusted. The changes to the GED test opened the door for states to begin looking for alternatives, and two vendors

responded. One was Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit that also administers the Graduate Record Examination. It developed a high school equivalency exam called the High School Equivalency Test, or HiSET. The other was CTB/McGraw-Hill, a forprofit company that is helping states develop assessments of Common Core standards, which put an emphasis on critical thinking and spell out what reading and math skills students should have at each level. It developed a high school equivalency test called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC. Both say they offer a quality test at a lower price. They also allow their tests to be taken without a computer and are open to accepting the scores of GED test takers who have partially passed the old test that recently expired, as long as their state approves. Amy Riker, national executive director for HiSET, acknowledged that both new vendors have a lot of work to do to educate people about the new exams.

Broad, from ACE, said she likes the idea of competition and said it “will keep everybody on their toes.” In Lowell, Mass., Ben Morrison is a GED test instructor at the United Teen Equality Center, which works with former gang members and others doing on-the-job training and GED test preparation. Morrison said that whatever is ahead, his center will adjust its program because the equivalency diploma is critical for the job prospects and self-confidence of the youth it works with. “We know that having that credential will make our young people more employable,” Morrison said, “so regardless of what test it is that they need to pass to get that credential, I can look at it and pull it apart and figure out how to get them through.” ___ Online: http://GED.com http://HiSET.ets.org http://www.tasctest.com

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12 www.minorityreporter.net |JANUARY 6 - 12 | 2014

NATIONAL
SCLC Wins Historic Victory In School Name Change from KKK Leader
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has assisted in scoring a major victory against the relics of racism in Jacksonville, Florida as the Duval County School Board last week voted 7 – 0 to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School. The School was named after Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1959 when the United Daughters of the Confederacy successfully lobbied the city of Jacksonville to rename the school in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision which outlawed segregation in schools and public accommodations. According to community activists in Jacksonville, there have been numerous attempts to change the name of the school over the last fifty year, but those attempts were unsuccessful. This time around organizers argued that the name of the school was “an embarrassment to the city.” “Because of the many failed attempts there weren’t very many people who were confident that it would happen,” said Opio Sokoni – the local SCLC President in Jacksonville. “We got it done because the city saw that the activists were unified and took high quality actions to educate the public about who this man was.” “It was very hard for those wanting to keep the name to overcome Forrest’s record of atrocities,” added Sokoni. According to Sokoni, Nathan B. Forrest amassed his fortunes in the late eighteen hundreds buying, selling and enslaving human beings in Tennessee. He also employed slave catchers that would capture enslaved human beings who were seeking freedom. During the U.S. Civil War, he is best known for being responsible for the worst massacre during that conflict. He was reported as giving the orders to kill over three hundred surrendering, Black Union soldiers, women and children at Fort Pillow. Soldiers who wrote about the affair said that the river ran red for over 200 yards from the blood of the slaughtered. Last month, the Duval County School Board voted to go through the process to see whether the name would be changed. That process included surveys given to the students, alumni and the surrounding community. There were also several forums where the community could voice their opinion on the issue. Both sides were in attendance and made impassioned arguments for their sides. The SCLC led an action that pulled together a coalition of organizations which included the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, Change.org, the New Jim Crow Movement, the NAACP and the Florida New Majority- as well as a few individuals. One of those individuals was Omotayo Richmond who placed a petition on Change.org which gained close to two hundred

thousand signatures from around the country. ___ Sokoni claims that organizers were able to utilize technology and an old Civil Rights strategy to help tip the scales in their favor. “Just like the 1960s Birmingham movement, we took children out of school, went to the major streets near the school, and while buses of students passed by we held up signs advertising our position,” said Sokoni. “We caught the morning and evening traffic which also included parents

going to work. We then wrote letters to board members and used social media to create the buzz among the students and throughout the city.” The tally from the surveys showed that two thirds of the students voted in support of the name change. The next step is for the school to vote on a new name and mascot – The school currently goes by the Rebels and incorporates the Confederate flag as part of its mascot. “This was for the children, said Sokoni. “Now they can lift their heads up high and show their diplomas with pride.”

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Airline Pilots May Get Better Security Than President Obama
By Hazel Trice Edney (TriceEdneyWire.com) – He described it as a “dagger”. That was the word used by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) supervisor at Reagan National Airport Dec. 6 to describe a six-inch metal letter opener with a razor sharp tip at the end of a three-inch blade. “This could be used as a dagger,” Supervisor Joshua Hunt told this reporter after he was summoned by TSA Officer Venus Washington. Washington had discovered the knifelike instrument inside a large leather purse as it moved through the x-ray machine at the U. S. Airways terminal. The agents were doing their jobs to protect airline pilots, other employees and passengers. They gave this reporter a choice to either trash it, check it, or FedEx it to herself. She chose the latter. The TSA officers were unaware that the U. S. Secret Service had apparently given the same letter opener the green light to be distributed by the thousands in a ballroom where President Barack Obama alongside First Lady Michele Obama shook hundreds of hands, separated from the crowd only by a rope. That night was Sept. 21 at the 43rd Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner, where the President was keynote speaker. The letter openers, which were incased in black cardboard boxes alongside matching ink pens and placed in each chair, were gifts to the more than 3,000 dinner guests. The security was so tight for people going into the gala that the Secret Service even confiscated umbrellas. Yet, as the President and First Lady strode from the stage to the floor and worked the rope line after the speech, hundreds of people leaving the event with the ‘dagger’-like instruments in their possession pressed to shake their hands and take photos. The couple interacted with individuals in the crowd for at least six minutes. President Obama has spoken at nearly every CBCF Phoenix Awards Dinner since he was elected. The friendly, nonthreatening audience receives him warmly at the event which showcases the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus and its honorees. But, hate experts and those familiar with assassination plots indicate no event should be taken for granted. That’s because ambush - a common strategy for deadly attacks on elected officials – remains a constant threat. When asked for comment, Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), among the nation’s leading trackers of hate crimes, simply pointed to all the failed plans to assassinate Obama. They included an Oct. 2008 plot foiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which arrested two racist skinheads in Tennessee, who had taken several steps toward a plotted killing spree of 88 African-Americans, culminating with Obama, who was then only the Democratic nominee for president. SPLC reports the number of hate groups leaped to an all-time high of 1,007 in 2012, coinciding with the presence of a Black President in the White House. That - in part - is why President Obama has been protected by a larger Secret Service security force than any other President. The force has done its job successfully, which is why the loose letter openers seemed rather odd. Secret Service spokesman Edwin M. Donovan said risks can only be minimized, not totally omitted. “We’re unable to remove all risks when our protectees go somewhere any of our protectees - the President, the Vice President or anybody else we protect,” Donovan explained in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire, Sept. 23, the Monday following the dinner. Donovan, who was not at the dinner that night but said he has worked presidential security in the past, sought to detail why the letter openers were allowed to be so close to the President and Mrs. Obama. “I would say presumably these were purchased well in advance of the dinner. So, when our advance agents get there setting up security, they have to make a decision based on what the committee tells us. The host committee would say, ‘Hey we’re giving these out as gifts.’ So, you look and you say ‘Oh my goodness, you’re going to give these out to everybody that’s attending?’” he said. “The decision had to be made, ‘Are we going to ask them not to give them out until after the President leaves or are we going to ask them to give them out as people depart? Or are we going to just let them give them out the way they want to?’ So the decision was made to give it out the way you want to.” CBCF spokeswoman Shrita D. SterlinHernandez declined comment on the CBCF’s interactions with the Secret Service on the matter of the letter openers. She wrote in an email, “I am not comfortable making comments on behalf of the Secret Service’s security protocols. Please direct all of your questions about the security of the President to the Secret Service.” Donovan said as long as the President and First Lady were accompanied by attentive Secret Service agents as they shook hands with the crowd, any danger was minimized. “That’s their job to look for anything unusual; to look for anybody that’s acting in a way that’s not appropriate or certainly if someone has taken this out of the box and is brandishing it,” he said. He compared the letter opener to dinner ware. “They go into a room to visit people, we don’t remove the furniture although someone could pick up a chair presumably and try to strike them,” he said. “At that table there were knives and forks on the table, there were glasses on the table. Someone could certainly break a glass and cause a problem for us as well.” The presence of the razor tipped letter opener so close to the President was initially brought to this reporter’s attention by a photographer who observed what appeared to be extremely high security surrounding the event except when it came to the letter openers. The photographer asked to remain anonymous. But that observation gave rise to this Trice Edney News Wire investigation into how many high security areas that letter opener could enter undetected. Incased in the same black gift box inside a purse, the letter opener was not flagged as it went through the x-ray machine and bag search at the Secret Service headquarters where the interview with Agent Donovan took place Sept. 23. On Nov. 6, it went undetected through an x-ray machine and bag search at the U. S. Capitol. Yet, afterwards, when asked whether a letter opener would be allowed inside the Capitol building, U. S. Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus responded in a Nov. 7 e-mail, “Visitors are strictly prohibited from carrying any pointed object, such as letter openers, knitting needles, etc., into the Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center, at all times.” Then, on Nov. 20, the letter opener was not flagged as it went through a Secret Service x-ray machine and bag

NATIONAL
search at the White House. That day, it was taken into an East Room ceremony where President Obama bestowed 16 Presidential Medals of Freedom. It was finally flagged Dec. 6 at the airport security gate, where Officer Washington took no chances. “I saw something in here that looked like a letter opener, but it looked rather sharp,” she said, removing the purse from the x-ray belt and beginning to search. Despite the sharpness of the letter opener, it apparently did not violate airport security. The list of “Prohibited Items” on TSA.gov doesn’t even mention letter openers. Washington gave a one-sentence explanation as to why it was not allowed on the plane. “It’s to our discretion, Ma’am,” she said. As the Secret Service successfully handles hundreds of events a year during which the President and/or First Lady conduct rope line greetings, the loose letter openers indicate all loopholes are not closed. “A lot of what happens in many instances is determined by what the President wants to do,” said U. S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, ranking Democrat and former chair of the Homeland Security Committee. For example, he noted that President Clinton would unexpectedly go to a McDonald’s or greet people who have gone through no security. “So, I think those are some of the risks associated with it,” Thompson said. Stressing how Secret Service agents “put their lives on the line every day” to protect the president, Thompson concluded, “I’m confident that the Secret Service does a good job. I know that when I chaired the Committee, the President had more threats on his life than any other President before him. So we were able to, even before he became President, we got him a security detail there early; and obviously they’ve done a good job. But, even with that, there are still potential vulnerabilites that a president or any other person with a detail just has to face.”

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14 www.minorityreporter.net |JANUARY 6 - 12 | 2014
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of Minority Reporter.

OPINION/EDITORIAL
Mr. Robertson closely would see that 1) the views he expressed were his personal views, 2) they were done at a time when he was not “working” for the network where the reality show airs, and, 3) he did not demean homosexuals, he just pointed out what the bible says. It is a sad day in our nation when the personal views a man shares on his own time are enough to get him dismissed from his job. That is the height of intolerance. What if a practicing homosexual working for a Christian organization provided comments for a magazine on his own time, and that Christian organization put him on suspension for his views? There would be protests, the media would completely denigrate that Christian organization, and President Obama might even go on television to say something about it. The reaction would not be the same. Therefore, it leaves one to conclude that, we live in a nation which has become (or is trying to become) one that is tolerant of every viewpoint, except Christianity. As Christians, we’re going to have to be very vocal about our beliefs before the very gospel we preach, and the free speech we have as a right to speak it, is taken away! We must not put our heads in the sand; there is a well-coordinated plan being formulated to silence Christians. We have to remain vigilant, or we will wake up one day and all bible-believing Christians will find themselves like Mr. Robertson, dismissed because he dared to not only believe the word of God, but also to speak it! As I said in the beginning, I have never seen “Duck Dynasty,” but I have heard the comments of Mr. Robertson, and I stand with him as a Christian who will not be silenced in the face of a false tolerance purported by our society. We must stand up when an injustice is done, and what is being done to this man is just the beginning. If we allow it to occur, only God knows what the “tolerant” society will not tolerate from Christians! -------------------If you would like to contact me, please email me at mvaughn.seniorpastor@ newwineskin.org

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…

True Intolerance
For my last column of 2013, I have decided to dive into a topic that has just come up within the last two weeks. It is regarding statements made by the star of the reality show than even those who have taken lives through terrorist acts. I believe that an endangered species in America is the bible-believing Christian. Those who believe homosexuality is a sin that will cause someone to end up in hell, right next to the adulterer, and those killing innocent babies, unless they repent. It is not that homosexuality has been singled out; it is just the subject of what got Mr. Robertson into trouble. God loves the homosexual, He loves the adulterer and He loves the abortionists. However, He hates the sin of homosexuality, the sin of adultery and the sin of abortion. For a society that tries to say it is tolerant of people’s views, the truth is that this only holds true to those who hold views consistent with liberals. This nation has been founded upon Christian principles, and those principles are being eroded in the name of tolerance while the very core of what made our nation great is being dismissed. Those who read the comments of

C. MICHAEL VAUGHN

“Duck Dynasty.”

I have never seen the show, and most likely never will. However, I am going to come to the defense of the man who is at the center of the controversy, and make the case that what he and all Christians who believe in the bible face is true intolerance. In our society, everything is ok to say and do unless you are a Christian who truly believes what the bible says. If you are a “Christian” who wants to commit adultery, practice homosexuality or support abortion, you are good to go, and fit right into the society that calls itself tolerant. However, if you believe the bible, and do your best to follow what the word of God says, you are more persecuted

STRAIGHT…no ChaseR

What does “private” mean to you?
The only people who are not proud of the accomplishments of our mayor-elect Lovely Warren, Esq. are people who have never met her, people who are color blind, or people GLORIA WINSTON AL-SARAG who are just haters who hate for the sake of hating. In fact, anyone who knows Lovely knows she is not only capable of sitting in the executive chair at City Hall, she is more than worthy and deserving. And, when I take a moment to examine where she came from, I also take the time to consider that, come Jan. 1, she is going to be sworn in as Rochester’s first female mayor who happens to be black. I have to admit, I do find myself sticking my chest out and grinning like I did something. But, although I didn’t do anything special, just being part of such a historical journey does make me proud to know her. And anyone who has walked with Lovely or supported her over the years is no doubt smiling as much as I am. Recently, when she called to tell me she had been invited to the White House to meet with the president, Barack Obama, I literally screamed with joy. Of course she swore me to secrecy, and that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do because, as a journalist, it was extremely difficult not to tell the world and write about it. When I was asked to be a part of the mayor-elect’s hand-picked inaugural committee, I felt honored as well. Jeremy Cooney and Lydia BoddieRice are inaugural committee cochairs who are working closely with Chris Christopher, the mayor-elect’s communications director and media person. It is always nice to know that some people respect what you bring to the table. Personally, I think I mastered event planning decades ago (stroking self). In addition, my duties to date include having worked closely with playwright Jerry Capers. So, in essence, I have contributed to the framework of the public program. I have also been asked by Mary McClary-Hill, the mayor-elect’s aunt, to assist her in the planning of the private ceremony. The family has been charged with the overall planning of this event, and that is a good thing, because the games people want to play in this community are unreal. And, for those who do not know, the events planned for the inaugural begin with a private ceremony January 1, 2014, followed by a public swearingin to take place Saturday, January 4, 2014, at 12 p.m. in the Auditorium Theater. The public is invited, welcome and encouraged to attend this event. And, the good news is that you can bring as many friends as you like to the public ceremony on Jan. 4. Lovely will be delivering her major inaugural address, and I know people will not want to miss it. The inauguration ceremony will also be broadcast live on YNN and City12 news. On Sunday Jan. 5, the public is also invited to attend the Community Interfaith Worship Service at 2 p.m. in the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Flower City Park. Please invite others to attend this event as well. Special thanks to Bishop Gregory Parris and Rev. Marvin McMickle for coordinating faith leaders from across the community to offer words of encouragement and blessings to our new mayor, and the people of our city. Finally, the aforementioned brings me to the point of why this piece was necessary for me to write. Working with Lovely’s Aunt Mary on the private program has revealed some things to me that I consider to be flaws in this community. And they are things that I just can’t help writing about. The level of ignorance, insensitivity, and egoism in this community has come to light, and needs to be addressed. We have many intelligent people in this community, and there are many I often try to give credit to.

15 www.minorityreporter.net | JANUARY 6 - 12 | 2014
The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of Minority Reporter.

OPINION/EDITORIAL
standard, best-in-industry store security protocols and cultural sensitivity efforts that can be adopted by retailers across the country. 6. Government Shutdown/Effects of Sequestration: The across-the-board “sequestration” budget cuts that went into effect this year slashed funding for Head Start, youth job training, long-term unemployment benefits and other critical human service and safety net programs. With the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 12.5 percent, these cuts fell especially hard on African Americans, who still have double-digit unemployment. The 17day Government Shutdown in October also had an out-sized impact on African Americans who make up a large share of the Federal workforce. Thankfully, Congress has taken necessary steps to avoid a repeat in January 2014. However, while “governing by crisis” has ended for now and there is partial relief from sequestration cuts, a major flaw of the budget deal is its failure to include a crucial extension of federal jobless aid where more than 1.3 million workers will immediately lose unemployment benefits - a vital source of income that covers basic family needs. 7. African American Leaders Convening (AALC)/Release of the 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom: On August 23, 2013 at the National Urban League’s “Redeem the Dream” Summit during the 50th Anniversary March on Washington celebration, national civil rights leaders joined together - for the first time - for an historic release of a policy agenda addressing five urgent domestic goals for the nation - the 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom. It covers critical areas including jobs and the economy, healthcare, education, voting rights and criminal justice system reform. The document was the result of months of joint meetings convened by me, along with Rev. Al Sharpton/National Action Network; Benjamin Jealous/NAACP; and Melanie Campbell/National Coalition on Black Civic Participation with nearly 60 of America’s leading civil rights, social justice, business and community leaders. 8. Rise of Economic Inequality: While the richest one-percent have seen their incomes rise astronomically over the past 20 years, millions of middle class and low-wage workers are falling into poverty and struggling to make ends meet. This phenomenon worsened in the wake of the recession - and has only widened through the recovery. This growing inequality is not only unjust; it is unstainable for our economy. This year, Pope Francis, President Obama and a growing number of economists sounded the alarm. 9. The Death of Nelson Mandela: On December 5th, the world lost one of the greatest champions for freedom, justice and peace ever to walk this Earth. After 27 years of political imprisonment as a leader in the fight against apartheid, Mandela was released from prison in 1990. In 1994, he became South Africa’s first democratically elected president. His leadership was marked by his constant reliance on forgiveness, reconciliation and unity in the building of a new South Africa. His life and legacy will forever inspire the world. 10. Banner Year for Black Films: This year was a notable one for Black films ranging from the true event-inspired stories of the “The Butler,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and “Fruitvale Station” to the highly anticipated “Best Man Holiday” and holiday classic “Black Nativity.” From the National Urban League family to yours - we wish you a blessed holiday and a Happy New Year. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” --------------------Marc Morial is President/CEO of the National Urban League.

Top 10 News Events of 2013
(TriceEdneyWire. com) - “Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.” James Weldon Johnson As the sun sets over a tumultuous Monique W. 2013 and rises over the promise Morris of a brighter new year, we have put together a list of the top 10 events that have particularly affected African Americans and communities of color over the past 12 months. Presented in no particular order, this list is a mix of triumphs and tragedies that mark the progress we’ve made, highlight the problems that still plague us, and point the way forward in 2014. There is no doubt that all of our lives were touched in some way by these headline events of the past year. 1. Voting Rights/Voter Suppression: Despite an unprecedented outbreak of voter suppression efforts across the nation and the Supreme Court’s appalling ruling in June that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional, African Americans are going to the polls in record numbers. In fact, Black voters were decisive in ensuring the second inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20th. African American voter turnout in the presidential election surpassed white voter turnout for the first time in history. As voter suppression efforts grow more intense, African Americans must continue the fight where it matters most - at the polls. 2. George Zimmerman Acquittal: African Americans and people of goodwill throughout the nation were stunned by the July 13 not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old high school student on February 26, 2012. The killing of Trayvon Martin reminded us of the persistent gap in racial attitudes in America and generated new calls for an end to racial profiling. 3. March on Washington Anniversary: 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. On August 24th, the National Urban League joined thousands of citizens in a return pilgrimage to the Lincoln Memorial and the new King Memorial to commemorate that historic moment in a march for Economic Power and Justice - and to call for a continuation of the work that remains undone. 4. Affordable Care Act: While startup problems have plagued the rollout, the new law expands access to affordable health care to more than 30 million people, including 6.8 million African Americans who make up the largest share of the uninsured. This isn’t about politics. It’s about people. 5. Stop-and-Frisk/Shop-and-Frisk: On August 12th, a New York District Court Judge ruled that the New York City police department’s stop-and-frisk program, which disproportionately targets African Americans and Latinos, was unconstitutional. An appeals court subsequently overturned that ruling. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has pledged to make changes in the policy - which is practiced in communities across the country - and has appointed a new police commissioner. African American shoppers in stores across the country have also been unfairly profiled. The New York State Attorney General has launched an investigation into security practices at a few retailers after at least four customers claimed they were unfairly targeted for police action while shopping in the stores. The National Urban League, National Action Network and other civil rights organizations were instrumental in working with several national retailers on the release of a “Customers’ Bill of Rights” aimed at protecting customers from profiling practices. We will continue to work with the retailers on recommendations towards high

What does “private” mean to you?...FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
However, some have lost their minds, and are failing to respect the word private. So, I just want to ask the community collectively, what does “private” mean to you? I truly can’t believe the people who are trying to manipulate, bribe, bully and coerce their way into being part of the Jan. 1 swearing-in. I think the committee has done a yeoman’s job in announcing and making it clear that, on Jan. 1, the mayor-elect wants to be sworn in with only her immediate family and a few others present. What is it that some people aren’t getting? The Jan. 1 ceremony is private and may not even last 20 minutes, but the jockeying for position and beating up on people is uncalled for, and so surprising. The people who are the worst perpetrators are the ones who did absolutely nothing but sit on the sidelines during her campaign. And, to me, it is appalling for grown people to act like some folks are acting. But, all I can do is write about it, and hope that my words fall on ears that are listening. So, let me repeat: the Jan. 1 event is private. If you did not get an invite, or are not family, then that means you are not expected to be there. What need would there be for a public celebration if everyone defined private as meaning they are going to go and be there anyway because they feel just that important? I hope this information will be received in the spirit it has been written. Private means private, not y’all come. IJS

16 www.minorityreporter.net |JANUARY 6 - 12 | 2014

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