Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Released: December 26, 2012

The Growing Electoral Clout of Blacks Is Driven by Turnout, Not Demographics


Blacks voted at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and for the first time in history may also have voted at a higher rate than whites, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, election day exit poll data and vote totals from selected cities and counties.
Unlike other minority groups whose increasing electoral muscle has been driven mainly by population growth, blacks’ rising share of the vote in the past four presidential elections has been the result of rising turnout rates.
These participation milestones are notable not just in light of the long history of black disenfranchisement, but also in light of recently-enacted state voter identification laws that some critics contended would suppress turnout disproportionately among blacks and other minority groups.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People
3631 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114-4705
877-731-3767, 216.361.0718, Fax: 216.361.0920

Do you believe foreclosure errors cost you money?
If your home was in the foreclosure process in 2009-2010 and you believe foreclosure errors cost you money, you can request a free review of your mortgage file by a neutral party.
If an error is found, you could receive a payment or other compensation such as:
· Refunded fees,
· Stopping of a foreclosure, or
· Payments up to $125,000 plus equity.*
Visit IndependentForeclosureReview.com or call 1-877-731-ESOP to find out if you are eligible. You must submit a Request for Review no later than December 31, 2012.

Federal bank regulators – the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury – are directing and monitoring the review process.
Assistance is also available in over 200 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Creole, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hmong and Russian.
* Any payments made to you if errors in your foreclosure are found may be reported to the IRS and may have tax implications. Consult a tax advisor to discuss those implications.
If you are currently represented by an attorney at law with respect to a foreclosure or bankruptcy case regarding your mortgage, please refer this email to your attorney.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Leaders testify at senate hearing on dangers of school-to-prison pipeline
school to prison

Expert testimony highlight failures of harsh school discipline policies and outline alternative solutions

(Washington) – Across the country, an alarming number of students are suspended, expelled and even arrested for minor or trivial offenses. Instead of being sent to school guidance counselors for schoolyard fights or talking back to teachers, young people are increasingly pushed into police stations, courtrooms and juvenile detention centers.
Read the rest HERE 

updated 10:43 AM EDT, Fri October 26, 2012


I don't think Sherrod Brown would mind my sharing his letter to me.  I'm so thankful that Sherrod Brown was re-elected to the Senate.  He  is an excellent example of the kind of public servant we want to represent us.
"Dear Elaine:
Thank you for getting in touch with me about the salaries and benefits provided to lawmakers and federal workers.
During these tough economic times, working families are making their own difficult decisions on how to reduce their personal budgets. With this in mind, it is clear that the government must lead by example and share in the sacrifices required to reduce its budget.
In December 2010, President Obama introduced a plan to freeze salaries for federal civilian workers for two years. According to projections, the proposal saved the federal government $5 billion.
In addition, with the understanding that lawmakers should not be receiving a raise as working families are struggling to make ends meet, I am a cosponsor of legislation that would prevent members of Congress from receiving an automatic pay raise. This bill would reduce spending by $80 million over the next decade. Lawmakers have not received a cost-of-living adjustment for three years.
Furthermore, with some in Congress considering substantial changes to Social Security, there is no reason that lawmakers should be exempt from the same reforms that could cause financial hardship for the middle class. I am proud to have introduced the Congressional Retirement Age Act, which would amend federal employee pension laws so that members of Congress can no longer receive their federal pensions before individuals can receive their Social Security retirement benefits.
Lastly, when I first came to Congress, I refused participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program because too many Americans had no health coverage at all. Only after Congress passed health reform legislation in 2010 — which provides Americans the same type of insurance options that members of Congress currently receive — have I opted to participate in the Congressional health plan.
As the Senate considers legislation that would cut salaries or benefits for federal workers and lawmakers, I will be sure to keep your views in mind. Thank you again for getting in touch with me.
Sherrod Brown
United States Senator"



Friday, December 14, 2012


"Who's Buying Foreclosed Homes and Why It's a Problem
by Nate Berg (October 13, 2011)
Foreclosed homes tend to be problems for cities. They sit there, empty, unkempt, just asking for someone to break in. What they need and what governments at basically every level want is someone to buy them. Own them. Love them. Live in them.
So when a foreclosed property gets sold, the problem’s solved, right? Well, not exactly. According to a new study published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, property sales don’t lead to solutions because often the people buying foreclosed properties from banks are also investors looking to resell the property. But these predominantly small-time investors typically have fewer resources to spend on maintaining their homes as they sit on the market and wait for new buyers.
“A lot of them are being sold to an investor and staying vacant,” says Dan Immergluck, an urban planning professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of the study. “You have the same problem as before.”



Update on Corelogic:
The Illogic of CoreLogic, August 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Newsletter from

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture
Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
and the March on Washington, 1963

March on Washington, 1963March on Washington participants. Aug. 28, 1963.
Library of Congress
Opens December 14, 2012
NMAAHC Gallery at American History, second floor east
On August 28, 1963, at the March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. began his speech by declaring, "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity ... In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check."

In 2013 the country will commemorate two events that changed the course of the nation — the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. Standing as milestone moments in the grand sweep of American history, these achievements were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals — both famous and unknown — who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal." Separated by 100 years, they are linked together in a larger story of freedom and the American experience.

To commemorate these two pivotal achievements, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in collaboration with the National Museum of American History (NMAH) will present an exhibition, featuring historic photographs, paintings, new film footage and objects, that explores the historical context of these two crucial events, their accomplishments and limitations, and their impact on the generations that followed.

The exhibition will be on view from Dec. 14, 2012 through Sept. 15, 2013 in NMAAHC’s temporary gallery on level two at American History, 14th St NW and Constitution Ave NW. Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle.
For more information, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.

Monday, December 10, 2012


DECEMBER 10, 2012 Newsletter from Sherrod Brown's office:

Claiming Tax Refunds, Protecting Tax Cuts

Good communication is important, and poor communication can be costly. Unfortunately, miscommunication between Washington and Ohio could cost families in Wilmington and Orville up to $3,700 next year.

As the New Year quickly approaches, it’s critical that Ohio families are aware of the unclaimed tax refunds that may be owed to them by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Often times, inaccurate addresses have caused these funds to be returned by the U.S. Postal Service. And in fact, last year, more than 2,000 Ohioans were eligible to claim tax refunds. In 2011, undelivered refund checks were worth more than $1,500 on average.

Ohioans have always worked hard and played by the rules. But every year, millions of Americans don’t receive their tax returns because of postal errors. Taxpayers deserve to easily receive the money that the government owes them, and shouldn’t lose money just because their checks got lost in the mail.

Fortunately, claiming a tax refund is an easy process if you are eligible. According to the IRS, if a refund check is returned to the IRS as undelivered, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on
IRS.gov. The Tool also enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her Social Security number, filing status, and amount of refund shown on their 2011 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Ohio taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will receive instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954. They can also go to the
Where’s My Refund? online tool to check the status of their refund by clicking here.

Ohioans can also take two simple steps to avoid the risk that their refund could get lost in the mail. They can start by signing up to have their tax returns directly deposited to their bank accounts, eliminating the potential for postal errors. Next, they can file their taxes electronically. In addition to reducing the potential for miscommunication, e-filing reduces errors on tax returns and speeds up the refund process.

But while ensuring Ohio families receive the refunds they are owed is important, it’s also crucial that we fight to guarantee middle class families across the country don’t see their taxes rise altogether.

Right now, taxes will automatically rise for all Americans on January 1 unless Congress acts.

Both the President and I campaigned on maintaining tax rates for 99 percent of Ohio families, and on November 6th, you strongly supported this position. But, more than a month later, some conservative politicians in Washington still haven’t gotten the message. They are still protecting the wealthiest one percent, at the expense of the middle class.

In July, the Senate passed the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, which would prevent 99 percent of Ohio families – and all Americans making less than $250,000 per year – from paying higher taxes. Under the bill, the median income Ohio households would save an average of $2,200 on their taxes next year. Leaders in the House of Representatives have failed to schedule a vote on the bill – in part, because it asks the wealthiest two percent of American households to pay the same tax rates they paid during the Clinton years, when our economy added 22 million jobs. It’s time for the House of Representatives to stop holding hostage middle class tax cuts and pass the bill.

It’s our duty to ensure that taxes will not go up for the millions of Ohioans who wake up early, send their children off to school, keep our assembly lines productive, tend to our vast agricultural areas, and stand up behind a counter serving customers for eight hours or more each day.

Let’s move forward with our economic recovery and ensure that Ohioans have the resources they need to support their families. By accessing unclaimed tax credits, and providing tax cuts that bolster middle class families, we can continue to make our country stronger.


Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Consumers' Corner Newsletter - November/December 2012

"In This Issue:

*Help available for consumers facing a utility disconnection

*Save money & stay safe while lighting your home at night

*Important tips for energy choice shoppers

*Save money and energy with utility sponsored efficiency  programs

*FirstEnergy's renewable energy program "seriously flawed"


Help available for consumers facing a utility disconnection

As temperatures drop, Ohioans are starting to crank up their furnaces.  For many families, the onset of winter, and winter heating bills, can be  worrisome.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) offers information about assistance programs available to help consumers stay connected to their utility services.

In September, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued a Winter Reconnect Order providing electric and natural gas utility customers the opportunity to avoid a disconnection or have their services restored by making a one-time payment of $175. Customers using the Winter Reconnect Order must then enter into a payment arrangement with their utility company for any remaining balances. The Order went into effect October 15th and extends until April 15th 2013.

Other things to know about the Winter Reconnect Order:

*Ohioans with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines ($46,100 gross annual income for a household of four) may contact their local community action agency and use funds provided through the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP) in order to receive the $175.

*An additional reconnection fee of up to $36 may be charged by the utility company if service has been disconnected. Some utilities charge reconnection fees of more than $36. In such cases, the balance may be billed to the customer the following month.

*If a customer is in disconnect status for electric and natural gas
service at the same time, the $175 payment may be divided between the utilities. The utilities may come to an agreement as to how the payment will be divided or a community action agency (if one is involved) may be able to help facilitate that arrangement.

*The $175 can be used instead of a deposit to establish electric or
natural gas service. If the deposit is more than $175, the remaining
balance will be added to the next bill.

*The Winter Reconnect Order also can be helpful for consumers wanting to remain on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus), Graduate PIPP or those wishing to re-enroll in those programs. However the Winter Reconnect Order is different for those customers than in years past.

PIPP customers are still eligible to receive $175 under the E-HEAP
program through their community action agency. But this year customers must pay the balance of any missed monthly PIPP payments by the due date of their next bill.

For more information about other utility assistance programs, please visit OCC's website:


Save money & stay safe while lighting your home at night
Daylight hours are shrinking and winter darkness is upon us again.
Ohioans are spending more money to light the areas around their homes at night. Some consumers do so for aesthetics, while others use outside lighting for safety. Many consumers use outside lighting for both reasons.

There are several types of outdoor lighting. Understanding the
differences can help you reduce the cost of lighting the outside area of your home at night. This article will show you how to calculate the cost and enjoy potential savings by changing the types of lighting used around your home.

Many consumers place lights around their doorways, on their porches, patios, walkways, driveways and other dark areas outside of their home.

Light fixtures can be operated manually, have motion or infrared
sensors, use solar cells or be timer-controlled.

Consumers can estimate the cost of lighting their home at night based on how long bulbs are lit, the amount of energy each bulb uses and the cost of electricity charged by their electric utility. For example, an American Electric Power (AEP) customer using four outdoor lights for 12 hours may pay around 44 cents each day ($14 monthly) as detailed in the accompanying chart:

In order to calculate your home's night lighting costs, take these
three easy steps:

*Identify the wattage for each bulb. Divide this number by 1000. This number represents the amount ofkilowatts each bulb uses.

*Determine the kilowatt hour charge for your electric utility by
referencing the chart;



*Multiply the number of kilowatts each bulb uses by your utility's
kilowatt hour charge by the number of hours the bulb is on. This figure will be the estimated cost of lighting your home each night. To estimate your monthly cost, multiply that number by how many days are in the month.

Night Lighting: Four Cost Saving Tips

OCC recommends several ways for consumers to save on the cost of lighting their homes at night, including:

*Shift to more energy efficient lighting

Traditional incandescent lighting is inefficient - 90 percent of the
energy used by an incandescent bulb produces heat, not light. Using more efficient types of lighting is a great way to cut back on your bills.

When purchasing efficient lighting, pay attention to the watts (how much energy the bulb uses) and the lumens (how bright the bulb is). The typical incandescent light bulb has a short life span and uses more energy than newer and more efficient technology. Halogen lights, which are often used to light a specific area, are slightly more efficient and last a bit longer than incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use much less energy than traditional bulbs and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are even more energy efficient than CFLs. These bulbs each have a longer life-span and can save up to or above 75 percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs.

Note: Most CFLs used outdoors need to be in enclosed fixtures to protect them from the weather.

*Conserve energy through the use of motion sensors

Motion sensors allow lights to remain off until they are activated by
movement in an area. Adding a motion sensor to outdoor lights can save consumers money by eliminating the need to leave lights on throughout the night. Motion sensors can be added to many outdoor lighting installations. The cost of motion sensors varies and they can be purchased at many hardware stores or online.

*Use Dawn-to-Dusk Sensors

Some Ohioans may prefer to have certain areas of their home lit
whenever it is dark. But, forgetting to turn off your outdoor lighting
during the day can add to your electric bills. To avoid the need to
manually turn on and off your outdoor lighting, consider using a
dawn-to-dusk sensor on your lights. This sensor is designed to switch off the light in daylight. Many retail home improvement stores sell inexpensive sensors that can be added to your current light fixtures.

*Use solar lighting

Light your walkway without adding to your utility bills with solar
powered lighting. Easy to install solar lights convert sunlight into
electricity. Typically these lights include a battery to store the
electricity during the day and power the bulbs at night. Many retail
stores sell a variety of solar lighting options.

For more information about saving energy and money, visit

The cost of outdoor lighting is relatively inexpensive and could be well worth the safety benefits. We hope you will use these tips to save money on your energy bills."

By Marty Berkowitz

Sunday, December 2, 2012


If Maple Heights public employees (who are Maple Heights residents) are being laid off,  adding to the ranks of the unemployed, then Maple Heights leadership needs to go because that act  violates the "Ownership Money-Circulation Principle".   Rather than lay-off a resident public employee to save money, find another way to save money.
Maple Heights residents should not be made to suffer due to poor economic policies of Maple Heights leadership.