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Park Forest Library Announces September Events

The Park Forest Public Library is Open
The Park Forest Public Library is Open. (Photo: John Hudzik)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Park Forest Public Library has announced its line-up for September which features events of interest to patrons of all ages. 

For the younger crowd, there will be a Back-to-School Giveaway on Friday, September 3 at 11 AM with the first 20 kids getting a backpack full of useful school supplies.  There will be additional items available for those who do not receive the backpack.  No registration is required.

For teens 12-17, there is a DIY Pop Socket project at 11 AM on Friday, September 17.  Participants can customize their phone or make a gift for a friend.  All materials are provided.  Registration is required and begins at 9 AM on September 13.

For adults 18 and over interested in crafts, the library is offering wooden chalk board tray kits to create menus, trinket trays or wall hangings.  All materials are provided, but supplies are limited.  Registration opens on August 16 with pick-up on September 3 at 12 PM.

September’s Community Read book is “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict. This story of J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, who was forced to hide her true identity as a Black American woman, is also a Good Morning America book selection.  Participants can pick up a free copy of the book to read at their leisure.  Registration to reserve a copy opens at 9 AM on August 30.

Patrons can pick up a free copy of Amanda Gorman’s new children’s book, “Change Sings!” on Thursday, September 30 at noon.  The picture book tells how we can make a difference when we join our voices together. Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration.  There are a limited number of copies available and registration for this offer opens on September 6.

There are also three virtual events offered in September.  The first is a September 11 remembrance from historical presenter Jim Gibbons.  The event is at 6:30 PM on Thursday, September 16.  Registered participants will receive an email the day prior to the event containing the Zoom link.

The second and third virtual events are Tasty Tuesdays with Chef Michael Niksic.  On September 7, the program will focus on the best banana bread recipes.  On September 21, the chef will discuss fresh baked challah.  Both events start at noon and will be available on the library’s YouTube Channel.

More information on all these events can be found on the library’s monthly water bill insert (shown here).


The Park Forest Public Library is open for all services from 10 AM to 7 PM Monday through Thursday, and 10 AM to 5 PM on Friday and Saturday.

COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine in Park Forest Saturday: Please Share

Park Forest Village Hall
Park Forest Village Hall. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

eNews Park Forest Strongly Encourages All to Get Vaccinated ASAP Against COVID-19

Please share this story widely and strongly encourage your friends and loved ones to get vaccinated.

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The COVID-1 Pfizer vaccine will be offered this Saturday, July 10, 2021, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Park Forest Village Hall. The first 100 participants who complete the vaccination series in full will receive a FREE Six Flags Trip with transportation AND a day pass to the Park Forest Aqua Center.

Anyone 12 or older is eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

The second dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine will be administered on Saturday, July 31, 2021, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Park Forest Village Hall.

Registration is simple.

QR code for COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine clinic in Park Forest
Scan the QR code above to register to receive the COVID-19Pfizer vaccine in Park Forest. (VOPF)

Scan the QR code above or CLICK HERE to view available slots and register.

The QR code takes you to a website4md cover page. THIS LINK takes you directly to the first part of the booking page for vaccinations.

Once on the booking page, select Existing Patient or New Patient.

Then, select Park Forest Village Hall.

Select Saturday’s date, July 10, 2021, to view available slots.

Fill out your information and enter the pass code Forest1234! to complete your registration in Park Forest.

The pass code again is Forest1234! — the code includes the exclamation point (!).

On the day of your vaccination, please arrive 10 minutes early to complete the consent form.

Anyone 12 or Older May Receive the COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine

All those age 12 to 17 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

For more information, please contact Margaret Lewis at Village of Park Forest Recreation, Parks & Community Health, at [email protected] or 708-748-2005 ext. 5663.

eNews Park Forest strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. This virus is real and deadly serious. Protect yourself and your loved ones today.

The Pfizer vaccine is also available at CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens in Park Forest.

This event is organized through the Village of Park Forest and the Cook County Department of Public Health.

Richton Park Launches Support for Richton Square Fire Victims

December 4 extra alarm fire in Richton Park
The twisted aftermath of a December 4 extra alarm fire in Richton Park. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

This article is published for free, no subscription required.

Richton Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Twenty-six families have been displaced from their homes at Richton Square following a fire on December 4. In response, the Village of Richton Park launched an effort to support those without homes as the holidays approach and COVID-19 continues its post-Thanksgiving spike.

You may support that effort here.

Started by a gentleman frying chicken, the resulting blaze left the building where it struck a hollow shell with porches twisted and nearby vehicles baked from the scorching heat.

scorched car Richton Park fire
A scorched car with one salvageable tire in the parking lot near the building destroyed by fire in Richton Park. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

There were four alarms and two specials for the fire in the 3800 block of Canterbury Court in Richton Park, according to Box Alarm Photography on Facebook. That group published 36 photos of crews working to douse the inferno.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” a woman told CBS Chicago, referring to those who knocked on her door and helped her leave her home of 30 years.

Her home now gone.

The Red Cross and the Village of Richton Park are assisting the families. Richton Park is organizing a drive for these 26 families who lost everything.

“The Village of Richton Park is providing resources and aid for the recovery of impacted Richton Square residents and their families. ANY donation is greatly encouraged and appreciated!” a flyer produced by the village says.

There is a drop-off box in Richton Park’s Village Hall. People may place a check/gift card in the drop-box. Checks must be made out to Richton Park with “Fire Victims” in the Memo.

Checks and/or gifts may also be mailed to:

Village of Richton Park
4455 Sauk Trail
Richton Park, IL 60471
Attn: Fire Victims

There is a clothing donation drop-off box as well.

Finally, people may donate online here: https://bit.ly/2VGEnbd.

Questions should be directed to Kenneth Jones, Community Relations Coordinator of the Village of Richton Park at [email protected], 708-821-2725.

Photographs from the scene taken Dec. 6, 2020:

Erratum: In an earlier version of this story, Mr. Kenneth Jones was erroneously identified as the Community Relations Coordinator of Park Forest instead of Richton Park. Thanks to a reader for pointing out the error.

Park Forest to Host a TWO-DAY Pride Celebration

Park Forest will host a two-day PRIDE celebration this June. (MGN)
Park Forest will host a two-day PRIDE celebration this June. (MGN)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Village of Park Forest will host a two-day Pride Weekend Celebration this summer. There will be held on Friday, June 10, and an outdoor family day on Saturday, June 11.

The first will be an adults-only event on Friday, June 10, at 7:00 PM at Poppin’ Plates, 343 Main Street, featuring Karaoke DJ Lady Red. This event will also include contests for Best Dressed Couple, Dress As Your Favorite Actor, and “much more.” Those attending are encouraged to be creative!

Saturday, June 11 will be an Outdoor Family Day beginning at 10 AM on The Green, 349 Main Street. DJ Lil’ John will be on the great stone stage and contests this day will be held for Best Dressed Superhero. The day will include games, activities, “and much more!”

Questions may be directed to 708-283-5621.

Last June Park Forest held its first-ever PRIDE celebration at Dining on the Green. There were requests at that time for family-friendly events in addition to that entertaining afternoon of fun and laughter. This year’s celebration looks to double the fun.

Poppin’ Plates is a posh food and beverage consultant in Downtown Park Forest that also serves as a culinary incubator. Find them here on Facebook. The establishment bills itself on its website as a “suburban Illinois-based commercial shared kitchen. Its mission is geared towards establishing and growing local food businesses.” The business provides all the tools needed for individuals seeking guidance in startups, as well as entrepreneurs looking to scale their current businesses.

Poppin’ Plates also does catering.

“LGBT Pride Month occurs in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world.” It is “the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements.” (SOURCE)

two-day weekend pride celebration

Carmel, Indiana Man Sentenced to 84 Months in Prison

After being convicted at trial of Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud

guilty mgn, Carmel man sentenced

Hammond, IN-(ENEWSPF)- George McKown, age 71, of Carmel, Indiana was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon on his conviction for Wire Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

McKown was sentenced to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay over $5,212,159.45 dollars in restitution to the victims of his securities fraud and wire fraud schemes.

According to documents filed in this case, between 2008 and 2013, McKown partnered with Richard Gearhart to operate Asset Preservation Specialists (APS) a company they claimed would make profitable market investments for its clients. McKown and Gearhart recruited over 40 individuals to invest their savings, pensions, death benefits, and IRAs with APS, ultimately collecting millions of dollars. McKown, representing himself as the President of APS, promised his investors there was no risk to their initial deposit, they would receive a return of 6% to 8% on their investments, and, upon request, their initial investment would be returned within thirty days.

After receiving the investors’ money, McKown and Gearhart abandoned the plan to invest money in the market and began using their clients’ investments to fund their own personal business projects and projects of their associates. By 2013, McKown and Gearhart had squandered over $5,000,000 of their investors’ money. 

The individuals, through APS, kept its investors in the dark about the losses by sending fraudulent financial statements and 1099s to investors which falsely showed they were making a consistent profit on their investments. Through APS, the pair further continued to recruit new investors to hide the losses and keep the scheme afloat. Many of the victims first learned that APS had lost their savings when Gearhart filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Co-defendant, Richard Gearhart pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in December of 2019. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and ordered to pay over $5 million in restitution in July of 2021. McKown was convicted of his fraud offenses following a jury trial in October 2021. The Carmel, Indiana, man was sentenced to 84 months or seven years in prison.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Indiana Secretary of State Securities Division. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas McGrath and former Assistant United States Attorney Toi Denise Houston.

This is from a release from the United States Department of Justice.

GSU Commencement 2022: We’re Back (in person)

The in-person gathering was one of many firsts in two emotionally charged ceremonies at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Graduates throw their caps at the GSU 2022 Commencement.
Graduates throw their caps at the GSU 2022 Commencement. (Photo: GSU)

Tinley Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The concert band sounded with a sharp and joyous note that cut through the air with precision, and the fanfare that followed marked the beginning of Governors State University’s (GSU) 2022 Commencement ceremony. Not since 2019, have graduates convened in person to celebrate their academic excellence and accomplishments.

Nearly 1,000 graduates gathered with their loved ones, peers, and academic leaders at the Tinley Park Convention Center for two ceremonies marked by emotional speeches and new university leaders, including President Cheryl Green.

Graduation caps creatively decorated, some atop hijabs, elaborate African braids and flowing locks, multi-colored cords and sashes adorned some; each graduate has a place—a home —at GSU.

Commencement 2022 at GSU
Commencement 2022 at GSU

Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Business (COB) received their degrees at a morning ceremony, while those from the College of Education (COE) and the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) received their degrees at an afternoon ceremony. Master of Ceremonies Tony Labriola, Professor Emeritus in CAS Division of Communication-Visual and Performing Arts returned to open both ceremonies with a combination of pomp, circumstance, and triumph.

“This is a glorious day to celebrate our graduates,’’ said Labriola in his signature booming voice. “We look forward to them carrying the GSU torch forward.”

Trumpet fanfare
Trumpet fanfare.

With the trumpet’s fanfare, the ceremonies began.

Newly elected Faculty Senate President Marlon Cummings led the procession of the esteemed faculty and graduates resplendent in academic regalia, followed by the distinguished platform party.

IDSS graduate Ramona Hernandez
IDSS graduate Ramona Hernandez

IDSS graduate Ramona Hernandez thanked military veterans with a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem in the morning. With tears in her eyes, Hernandez delivered powerful notes. In the afternoon,  Community Health graduate Brave Fung sang the National Anthem.

Community Health graduate Brave Fung sang the National Anthem.
Community Health graduate Brave Fung sings the National Anthem.

In another first, the Black National Anthem – also known as Lift Every Voice and Sing – was delivered by an emotional Marquis Parks, a sophomore Theater and Studies major.  Some notes were sung with a smile, still others delivered in deep tones, with a tear in his eye.

Parks said he was honored to celebrate Black culture with the song, never before delivered at GSU Commencement

In her first in-person ceremony since joining the Board of Trustees, Chair Lisa M. Harrell, told graduates they have inspired her in an unexpected way.

Board of Trustees Chair Lisa M. Harrell
Board of Trustees Chair Lisa M. Harrell

“What you do with your degree will inspire others, and because of you and watching you, in the fall of 2022, I will become a student Jaguar, entering the doctoral program at GSU. Because of you,’’ she said.

Dr. Cummings
Dr. Cummings

Overwhelming joy was how Dr. Cummings described his emotions during Commencement. “I am thankful for a job like no other to produce leaders, and at Governors State, We …. produce … leaders … Continue to learn; remember to teach; follow your dreams; have gratitude, for gratitude helps us to make sense with our past, brings peace to our present and brings a vision for tomorrow. Families, cheer for your graduate, hug them tight, they deserve it. Yesterday, students, today graduates, tomorrow alumni. Forever Jaguars. Congratulations class of 2022, you made it.”

Lester Van Moody
Lester Van Moody

Lester Van Moody, GSU Alumni Association and a university retention specialist, welcomed graduates to the elite club of more than 57,000 alumni. In the afternoon, Alumnae Kim Gonzalez addressed future alumni.

“I happily welcome you, Class of 2022, to the Governors State University’s alumni family,’’  she said.  

Student Trustee Latrice Koger introduced student commencement speaker Sonya Petty.

Alumnae Kim Gonzalez, commencement 2022
Alumnae Kim Gonzalez

An exuberant Petty, graduating with her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences, acknowledged her family, and her mother who passed away in 2015, for inspiring her to return to school.

Sonya Petty
Sonya Petty

“I’m the mother of Akilah Petty, a sister to Jackie, Louise, and the late George Petty, Jr.  I’m also the daughter of George and Helen who had the dreams for their children to strive for greatness. We are here today because of their hard work and determination, as well as our own commitment to persevere – no matter what.”

She drew on her faith to inspire fellow graduates and inspire others to want to be graduates.

“This year I’ll celebrate my 40th-year high school reunion. I get to go to my reunion as a degreed woman. I’m here to tell you there is no delay on dreams fulfilled,’’ before she quoted Ephesians 3:20. “Now, unto him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all.”

Petty concluded her speech with an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s iconic poem. “Yet, we rise like a phoenix from ashes.”

Dr. Green, commencement 2022
Dr. Green

Dr. Green, Governors State’s sixth president who took office at the height of the pandemic, said she was thrilled to be with graduates. She was both glowing with joy and beaming with pride throughout both ceremonies.

“I am thrilled to be here. I have looked forward to this occasion since I arrived at GSU in July 2020 at the height of the pandemic …Today, we rejoice with the 2022 graduates in person,’’ she said before acknowledging first-generation, multigenerational, and honors graduates.

“Please stand if you are able.”

She also recognized the Aguirre sisters, Emily and Lydia Aguirre who graduated with master’s and bachelor’s degrees. Their mom Raquel Rios retired in 2021 after nearly 30 years of service at GSU.

Leanne Chelepis joined student-athletes Lenny Baumann and Sedona Smith in being recognized by Dr. Green.

To the graduates she said, “There is sheer pride and joy on my face, celebrating this day with you is the absolute best part of being the president. You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams. You have proven that you can succeed against the odds.”

“You are now and forever members of the Jaguar family. You are legacy, I expect you to shine and shine brightly,” she said, her voice full of emotion. “We will always welcome you home. Go forth in your careers and lives. And remember, GSU is home.”

Dr. Green’s address was followed by GSU Provost Beverly Schneller’s formal presentation of the candidates for graduation.

Peter Brassea
Peter Brassea

In the afternoon service, Peter Brassea graduating with his degree in Social Work from the College of Health and Human Services, dedicated his speech to his mother who passed away when he was just 13 years old and his father, who supported him and was also diagnosed with the same cancer that his mother succumbed to. He also acknowledged all those people who helped and supported him as he found his way.

He told graduates to hold on to imagination. “… As we leave here today with our new regalia, I want everyone in this room to remember the many steps we took and the roads that we traveled to get here today. I want to remind everyone that we can change lives. We can change the world, together; no matter what class, race, sexual orientation, or religion we are. We can create a world where we do not judge or discriminate against others that are different from us. We can create anything in this world, and it all starts with a vivid imagination.”

Rev. Michael Pfleger, commencement 2022
Rev. Michael Pfleger

Receiving the honorary doctorate was Catholic Priest Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has served the largest Catholic Church on Chicago’s South Side for more than 40 years. At St. Sabina, the Rev. Pfleger unapologetically preaches the gospel of social justice, making demands of government and church officials.

For his work to advance the cause of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Rev. Pfleger’s work aligns with the mission of the university’s newly launched Social Justice Initiative, led by Dr. Phyllis West.

The night before Commencement, the university hosted a dinner for Pfleger on the CPA stage. There, he shared with some 100 guests that one day society would reflect the ideals of world peace and prosperity that Dr. King set forth in a 1956 speech.

“I pray that we will one day become the community Dr. King dreamed of – the Beloved Community,” he said.

On Saturday, he saluted Dr. Green. “You are a gift to Governors State, and to this country,” he said before congratulating the university on launching a Social Justice Initiative. 

“We should have one at every college in our country.  It’s never meant more than it does right now.”

Fr. Michael Pfleger, commencement 2022
“ I charge you to hold on toPfleger 1 your dream; hold on to your purpose and plan,” Father Pfleger told the graduates.

To the graduates, Pfleger challenged them to remember their personal missions. “ I  charge you to hold on to your dream; hold on to your purpose and plan.  Greatness is inside you don’t ever forget it – you are great. You have everything you need to be what God has called you to be. You are multi-gifted and full of talent. No one can ever take that from you. Equally important, don’t ever let life challenges or this unjust world ever cause you to give up on your dreams…. Don’t ever try to fit in this world  –this world is broken. This world is broken. Fix it; heal it. Make this country live up to who she says she is.  I believe in you. You are my hope.”

With degrees conferred and the ceremonial tassel now gently grazing the left cheek of the graduates, Dr. Green saluted the graduates one final time.

“Welcome to the community of educated men and women,’’ she said.

This is news from Governors State University.

Rep. Kelly Introduces Bipartisan Clinical Trial Diversity Act

Rep. Kelly Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Diversify Clinical Trials 

people of different ethnicities

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Today, Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Chair of the CBC Health Braintrust, introduced the bipartisan NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act to increase the diversity of participants in all National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded trials. This legislation builds upon the NIH’s current policies to enhance the inclusion of women, racially and ethnically diverse individuals and people across the lifespan in all NIH-funded trials. The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill introduction comes one day in advance of Clinical Trials Day, a day marking what is believed to be the first randomized clinical trial, and which spreads awareness about the importance of clinical trials to medical and pharmaceutical discovery.

“The data are clear – underrepresented communities are disproportionately suffering and dying from certain illnesses and conditions. We’re not going to be able to address these disparities or help these communities unless we know how new drugs and therapies work in communities that are disproportionately impacted by disease. The way we learn more is by increasing clinical trial diversity,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “I am introducing the NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act to ensure that all NIH-funded trials are moving medical science forward and including all Americans in our quest for treatments and cures. I am proud to be introducing this bipartisan legislation alongside my colleagues Reps. Fitzpatrick, Clarke, Cárdenas, and Butterfield.”

“Clinical trials that are representative of all demographics are vital to improving health equity and efficacy for all populations. It’s time for Congress to take action on this issue that is critical to public health and the well-being of populations that are disproportionately impacted by certain diseases and conditions,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to support the bipartisan NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act, which will direct the NIH to work with clinical trial sponsors to develop and uphold measurable diversity goals and increase public awareness and participation in clinical trials, particularly in underrepresented communities.”

“Representation matters in every sector of our society, especially pertaining to pathology. When our nation’s clinical trials fail to adequately consider the unique needs of minority populations and different age groups and genders – in defiance of the data that clearly points to the need for clinical trial inclusions of diverse groups disproportionately affected by certain illnesses and diseases – it undermines every aspect of patient care and flagrantly fractures the bridge between science and medicine. Simply put, we have a crisis of underrepresentation in clinical trials that demands immediate action. For far too long, America’s most underserved people have been deficiently included in clinical trials vital to the discovery of new medicines and treatments. Consequently, breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatment and patient care rarely account for the specific health traits and needs of these diverse groups. And it indefensibly puts them at a heightened risk for adverse reactions. This bipartisan legislation, the NIH Clinical Trials Diversity Act, offers a clear pathway towards overcoming this alarming obstacle in our medical industry, and I am proud to support it,” said Congresswoman Clarke.

“Inclusive clinical trials don’t just make a difference for individuals and communities who have historically been excluded – they make the science better for all,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “When we fully consider a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, we make sure treatment options are as effective as possible for everyone. The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act is a key step forward as we work to promote health equity and transform the future of medicine.”

“I am proud to support the NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act, which will build on the National Institute of Health’s current policies to establish measurable goals across the lifespan in all NIH funded clinical trials. Science has made amazing progress in developing treatments and cures for conditions we long thought untreatable. But, to fully harness the potential of medicine and biopharmaceutical innovation we must ensure that research is inclusive of everyone. The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act will help ensure that all communities, including women and people of underrepresented races and ethnicities, are represented in science. By including diverse populations in clinical trials, we will be able to more effectively treat and cure disease, create healthier communities, eliminate disparities, and improve overall health outcomes for our country,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield.

The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act will:

  • Require NIH to work with clinical trial sponsors to develop clear and measurable recruitment and retention goals based on disease/condition prevalence as well as a rationale for specified goals and a recruitment plan;
  • Ensure the availability of less burdensome follow-ups during clinical trials (e.g. fewer follow ups, phone participation, weekend hours) to increase participation of underrepresented populations;
  • Launch a public awareness campaign across federal agencies related to research participation opportunities.

The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act is endorsed by the American Cancer Society Action Network, American Psychological Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Beyond Celiac, Doctors for America, FasterCures, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Organization of Rare Diseases, Susan G. Komen Foundation, No Health without Mental Health, Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), Touch, the Black Breast Cancer Alliance, and Verily.

“People from diverse racial and ethnic communities have been historically underrepresented in most clinical trials,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association. “The Clinical Trials Diversity Act of 2022 would help ensure that the National Institutes of Health address the lack of diversity currently reflected in federally supported clinical trials. APA applauds Rep. Kelly’s efforts to advance health equity through ensuring diverse clinical trial research.”

“Despite efforts to improve diversity in clinical trials, Black patients continue to be woefully underrepresented, particularly in clinical studies for cardiovascular disease medicines. This lack of diversity contributed to racial bias in clinical decision making, and impacts decision making about the cost-benefit of therapeutics. Failure to achieve diversity in clinical trials has far reaching effects, including the perpetuation of disparities in health care. New approaches are needed to ensure increased participation of Blacks and other diverse racial and ethnic populations in clinical trials as participants and main principal investigators. The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act can potentially help to achieve the goal of improved clinical trial diversity. The Association of Black Cardiologists endorses this legislation and applauds Congresswoman Kelly for her leadership,” said Michelle A. Albert, M.D., MPH President, Association of Black Cardiologists.

“The data are clear that widespread racial health disparities in breast cancer outcomes continue to persist today. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Black and Hispanic women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer deaths for AANHPI women. Yet, clinical trial populations still fail to adequately represent these communities,” said Molly Guthrie, Sr. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “Clinical trials must reflect the diversity of those affected by diseases like breast cancer, including these communities will ensure out research does not exacerbate health disparities and treatments are appropriately tested for any patient populations that will utilize a therapy. Susan G. Komen applauds Representatives Kelly, Butterfield, Cárdenas, Clarke and Fitzpatrick for their work to address this critical issue through the introduction of the NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act.”

“Ensuring clinical trials appropriately represent intended patient populations is a priority for NORD. Many different issues – including geographic, linguistic, cultural and socio-economic factors – exist that tend to reduce diversity in clinical trials, which can be especially challenging with rare diseases due to smaller clinical trials and a limited number of eligible patients. We applaud Rep. Kelly for introducing legislation to help expand clinical trial diversity in NIH sponsored clinical research,” said Heidi Ross, Acting Vice President, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, National Organization for Rare Disorders.

“For far too long, we have been prescribing treatments with uncertainty, unsure if our patients would experience the same benefits or risks seen in clinical trials as they often did not include participants like them. Efforts to encourage clinical trial sponsors to increase representation have failed to meaningfully do so and have only led to empty promises. Without enforceable measures, trials supported by our nation’s medical research agency will only continue to not reflect our nation’s population,” said Reshma Ramachandran, MD, MPP, Chair of the Doctors for America FDA Task Force.

“The findings of America’s research clinical trials will have much more meaning and impact if those trials have enrolled patients who reflect the entire public,” No Health without Mental Health.

“We need clear and actionable goals to achieve equitable participation in biomedical research and clinical trials,” according to Esther Krofah, Milken Institute Executive Director of FasterCures and Center for Public Health. “FasterCures applauds Rep. Kelly’s leadership in addressing accountability for NIH-funded researchers and clinical trial sponsors to ensure medical research and clinical trials represent historically marginalized groups.”

“The mortality rate of Black women with breast cancer is 41% higher than white women. This is unacceptable. Black women are largely excluded from trials that study breast cancer drugs and treatments. With low participation rates in clinical trials, Black women miss access to newly emerging and often life-extending treatments not otherwise available. Trial data, resulting treatment protocols, and product development don’t account for the many factors of Black breast cancer. We will not be able to change the devastating Black breast cancer mortality numbers unless we understand the physiology of Black women. We cannot do that until we have more Black women participating in clinical research. We firmly endorse Congresswoman Kelly’s NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act. Frankly, it is a matter of life and death for Black women,” said Ricki Fairely, CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance.

“The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act creates an opportunity for greater equity in clinical trials. As the leading partner in clinical trial recruitment for celiac disease, Beyond Celiac is committed to promoting diversity in clinical trials, to help ensure that patients from underserved communities are properly represented in all phases of clinical research and development of therapeutics for this disease. We applaud and thank Congresswoman Robin Kelly for her work in this space and support for the NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act,” said Salvatore Alecsi, MD, PHD, Beyond Celiac Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer.

“Removing barriers to clinical trial enrollment that will increase participation among traditionally underrepresented communities is critical to our efforts to reduce the cancer burden,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “The NIH Clinical Trial Diversity Act would help ensure that sponsors are building in plans to recruit representative participants and it shines a light on financial barriers that can keep patients from choosing to take part in a trial. ACS CAN is pleased to support this legislation.”

This is news from the office of Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

Park Forest Library Announces June Events

Park Forest Public Library
Park Forest Public Library

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As the warm weather arrives, it is time to relax in the backyard with an enjoyable book and a cool glass of lemonade. In addition to their normal selection, the Park Forest Public Library is offering patrons a free book in June, as well as opportunities to participate in book club discussions and a virtual presentation from an award-winning chef.

hands against a dark background opening a hardback book
“The Woman in the Library” by Sulari Gentill (PFPL image)

The June No Pressure Community Read is “The Woman in the Library” by Sulari Gentill. This much-anticipated thriller begins with four women sitting in the reading room of the Boston Public Library when a terrifying scream is heard. The security guards lock down the library until any possible threat is identified. As they wait, the women talk about what brought them to the library that day and begin to develop friendships. One of them, however, is a murderer. Registration for a free copy of the book begins at 9 a.m. on May 30 on the library website, with pick-up starting at 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 7.

picture of white flowers against a red background
“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett (PFPL Image)

The Life Ripples Book Club will discuss “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett on Saturday, June 18, at 12:30 p.m. The classic novel that was first published in 1911 has been adapted multiple times on film, stage, and television. For more information, call 708-748-3731, extension 16.

profile of a Black face in front of a winding road with a setting sun in the distance
“Don’t Cry for Me” by Daniel Black (PFPL Image)

The Rooted in Truth Book Club, featuring works written by authors of color, meets Monday, June 27, at 11 a.m. in the Ringering Room at the library. The June book selection is “Don’t Cry for Me” by Daniel Black. On his deathbed, Jacob writes to his estranged gay son, Isaac, to convey family history Isaac must know. He shares stories of his family’s ancestry in Arkansas that date back to the slave era, insights into his relationship with Isaac’s mother, and his reaction to having a gay son. This Book of the Month selection is available for pick-up at noon on Wednesday, June 1. For more information on the Rooted in Truth Book Club, visit the library website.

hand squeezing a lime over a plate
Chef Kwame Onwuachi will be featured in a virtual meeting sponsored by Illinois Libraries Present (PFPL Image)

As part of the “Illinois Libraries Present” series, there is a Zoom virtual session at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, with Chef Kwame Onwuachi. He will discuss his first cookbook, “My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef.” A James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef contestant, Onwuachi will discuss some of the 125 family recipes in the book and share stories of his family’s history as they journeyed through Nigeria, the Caribbean, the South, and the Bronx. Registration for this event can be found on the library’s events page website.

As always, the library is offering a free book from their selection for those signing up or renewing their library card. For more information, contact the library at 708-748-3731, extension 11.

The library is continuing to accept donations of gently used books. Donations should be brought to the staff entrance on the west side of the library Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please ring the bell for service. While there, check out the library’s collection of gently used books available at no charge.

Additional details and registration links for all June events appear on the library’s monthly water bill insert (shown below) or at pfpl.org/calendar. Information on the remaining May events can be found here.

The library is located at 400 Lakewood Boulevard and is open for all services from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.


Rep. Kelly Votes to Improve Access to Baby Formula 

baby formula shortage

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (D-IL) helped pass two bills that will improve families’ access to baby formula, ensure every infant has the nutrition they need to live and develop, and prevent this crisis from happening again.

The supplemental funding bill (H.R. 7790) provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urgently needed resources to help address the infant formula shortage, increase the number of FDA inspection staff, provide resources for personnel working on formula issues, help the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace, and improve data collection on the formula market.

“Parents across the Second Congressional District and the entire country are scrambling to find the infant formula to feed their hungry children. I am proud to have voted tonight to alleviate that burden by addressing supply chain issues and helping parents who rely on WIC,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “The formula crisis is impacting everyone, but especially parents and caretakers who rely on WIC benefits to feed their children. It’s hard enough as a parent to take the time to shop around when you can’t find what you need, but it’s impossible when your WIC benefit dollars are too restrictive. All parents should be able to feed their babies, and anything we can do to ease this burden right now is critically important.”

The infant formula shortage has taken an especially dangerous toll on vulnerable women and children who use Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits to purchase formula. In response, the Access to Baby Formula Act (H.R. 7791) provides flexibility so that low-income families can continue purchasing safe infant formula with their WIC benefits during a crisis, such as a supply chain disruption.

The Access to Baby Formula Act is particularly important as nearly half of all infant formula is purchased using WIC benefits and 89 percent of WIC participants purchased formula from Abbott Nutrition – the manufacturing plant that closed and spurred the shortage crisis. Recalling their products was necessary to keep babies safe from harm, but we have to act now to help parents continue to feed their children.

To read the bill text for supplemental funding legislation to address infant formula shortage, click here.

To read the bill text for the Access to Baby Formula Act, click here.

To learn more about the Access to Baby Formula Act, click here.

This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.

Gary Man Convicted of Firearms Offense

Hammond, IN-(ENEWSPF)- Milton L. Harvey, Jr, age 42, of Gary, Indiana, was found guilty of a firearm offense following a 2-day jury trial in front of United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

Harvey was found guilty by the jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm in August of 2016.

Harvey’s sentencing will be set for a later date.  Any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the District Court Judge after consideration of federal statutes and the United States Sentencing Guidelines. 

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with the assistance of the Gary Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nick Padilla and Kevin Wolff.

This is from a release from the United States Department of Justice.

Federal Judge Sentences Chicago Sex Trafficker to 30 Years in Prison

guilty mgn

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A federal judge has sentenced a Chicago man to 30 years in federal prison for forcing women and children to engage in commercial sex acts in the city and suburbs.

From 2012 to 2014, CHARLES FEARS and a co-defendant, SAMUEL NICHOLS, operated a sex trafficking business through which they used force, fraud, and coercion to cause multiple women and children to engage in commercial sex acts and turn over the proceeds to Fears and Nichols.  The men supplied the victims, some of whom were as young as 13 years old, with drugs and alcohol while coercing them to participate in the commercial sex acts.  Fears and Nichols often hit, slapped, and punched the victims who worked for them, including incidents in which Fears put a victim’s head into a toilet after she broke his rules.  The pair openly flaunted their roles as traffickers, flashing money in social media posts and using the trafficking proceeds to fund a Chicago-area rap group that posted music videos online.

Fears, 28, of Chicago, pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal conspiracy and sex trafficking charges.  U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall on Friday imposed the 30-year prison term for Fears and ordered that it be followed by court supervision for life.  Judge Kendall also ordered Fears to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to the victims.

Nichols, 37, of Chicago, was sentenced in 2019 by Judge Kendall to life in prison.

Fears’s sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Carol Stream, Ill., Police Department, Downers Grove, Ill., Police Department, and DuPage County Sheriff’s Office.

“Fears and Nichols controlled their victims physically and psychologically,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Streicker, Michelle Petersen, and Elizabeth Pozolo argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “It is nearly impossible to comprehend the trauma Fears inflicted on his victims.”

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by logging on to www.missingkids.com/home or by calling 1-800-843-5678.  The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is from a release from the United States Department of Justice.

Chicago Heights Man Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Federal Prison for Threatening Violence at 2021 Presidential Inauguration

Louis Capriotti
Louis Capriotti in a 2016 booking photo.

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Chicago Heights man was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in federal prison for sending a series of threatening phone calls to various members of the United States Congress and threatening to commit violence at the 2021 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman sentenced LOUIS CAPRIOTTI, 47, of Chicago Heights, Ill., to 37 months in prison.  Capriotti pleaded guilty last fall to a federal charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce.  He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Jan. 12, 2021, and will receive credit for time already served.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police participated in the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Durkin and William Dunne represented the government.

In a Dec. 29, 2020, voicemail for a U.S. House member, Capriotti stated that if certain individuals “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that [expletive] White House on January 20th, they’re sadly [expletive] mistaken.”  Capriotti further stated in the voicemail, “We will surround the [expletive] White House and we will kill any [expletive] Democrat that steps on the [expletive] lawn.”

Capriotti in November and December 2020 left other threatening messages on the voicemail systems of other members of Congress, during which he falsely stated that he was an active U.S. Marine and referred to certain members of Congress as “terrorists.”

“Capriotti’s crime was a serious offense,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Durkin argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Such threats must be taken seriously because they have real implications for the victims receiving them.”

This is from a release from the United States Department of Justice.

President Preckwinkle Announces Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

Cook County Bureau of Economic Development announces Request for Proposal applications for organizations interested in program administration and outreach assistance for the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

guaranteed income

Cook County, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot. The pilot is the nation’s largest publicly funded guaranteed income initiative at $42 million, and Cook County is the first government to commit to a permanent program after the completion of the pilot.

The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will send monthly payments of $500 to 3,250 residents for two years. Applications to participate in the pilot will open this fall. 

The pilot will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, part of the County’s $1 billion investment to help build a sustainable, affordable and equitable future for residents. These ARPA funds will have a transformative effect on the health, safety and quality of life for Cook County residents.

“Historically, both public and private institutions have been unwilling to directly invest in low-income people without significant restrictions attached. This red tape is in place not because any evidence shows that it is necessary, but rather because our society does not trust that people living in poverty have the character or ability to make good decisions for themselves,” President Preckwinkle said. “Cook County is reframing the way we think about government assistance and is proud to be leading the way in the American guaranteed income movement.”

income inequality, guaranteed income
Income inequality is a scourge in our society. (Credit Credit: hyejin kang)

County officials have committed to continuing the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot after its. This program will add to the research and literature on Guaranteed Income and shed light on poverty in the suburbs in ways never before seen.

“Direct cash policies are key to unlocking our neighbors’ potential. We are proud to partner with Cook County and President Preckwinkle in the launch of the nation’s largest guaranteed income pilot right here in our backyard. We are hopeful this effort will prove how a guaranteed income should be a permanent fixture for every policymaker working to help uplift communities both locally and across the country,” said Harish I. Patel, Director of Economic Security for Illinois.

Participants must be adults living in Cook County, be income-eligible (household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guideline), and not be participants in other guaranteed income programs for the 24-month duration of the Cook County pilot. Unlike most of Cook County’s recovery initiatives and programming, participants from both the city and the suburbs will be able to apply and participate, however, the majority of the participant pool will be comprised of suburban residents. After the application window closes, participants will be selected through a lottery. 

“Research shows that low- and moderate-income people spend unrestricted money wisely” said Xochitl Flores, Chief of the Bureau of Economic Development. “Long-term, the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide support which will lead to more financial stability as well as improved physical, emotional, and social outcomes for our residents.”

Today’s announcement included a call for proposals for a Payment Administration Partner and an Outreach and In-person Application Assistance Partner for the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot.

Informational webinars for both application opportunities will be held on Thursday, May 26. A session for interested Payment Administration Partners will take place from 11 am to 12 pm CT; a session for interested Outreach and In-Person Application Assistance Partners will take place from 3 pm to 4 pm CT. Please register by emailing [email protected]

All application questions must be received by 5 pm CT on Tuesday, May 31. Applications are due by 5 pm CT on Friday, June 10.

“With the establishment of a publicly-funded program at a large scale, Cook County is showing that guaranteed income is an idea whose time has come. Thousands of residents will soon be free of the worry that they cannot feed their children or pay their electricity bill — and can instead focus on building a life not of surviving, but thriving,” said Michael Tubbs, Founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and former mayor of Stockton, CA. 

A major goal of the program is to learn how guaranteed income impacts residents and the local economy through an academic research partnership with the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.

“We are thrilled to partner with Cook County on this important effort to expand economic opportunity for our community,” said Carmelo Barbaro, Executive Director of the Inclusive Economy Lab. “The Inclusive Economy Lab and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice are committed to research partnerships, like this one, that leverage our faculty expertise and the talents and energy of our students to help policymakers tackle pressing issues.”

The University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and Inclusive Economy Lab will serve as the research and evaluation partners for Cook County in support of its guaranteed income pilot and multiyear plan to tackle racial and economic inequities. This robust partnership leverages the University’s core strength in research and teaching, as well as its convening power and thought leadership, to accomplish three primary goals: 1) measure the impact of this pilot on outcomes of policy interest; 2) amplify the voices of the pilots’ participants, their families, and their communities; 3) and convene public conversations that lift up evidence-based recommendations for improving the design of future cash assistance programs.

To learn more about the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot, and to sign up for updates, visit our website at www.engagecookcounty.com/promise

This is news from Cook County.

The following Ted Talk on Guaranteed Income was not sent with this story but serves to further explain the concept: