New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s economic development point men are reviewing the Pataki administration’s aid packages to businesses, as well as the planned $1.8 billion Javits Center expansion in Manhattan. They claim that companies that received state economic development assistance did not meet 30 percent of job creation and retention targets … but did they meet 70 percent? Or was the target 30 percent and it wasn’t met? Last year, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed on a $1.8 billion project to expand and improve the 20-year-old Jacob K. Javits Center, which covers five midtown blocks in Manhattan. The project would increase exhibition and meeting space from 790,000 square feet to more than 1.3 million square feet. The plan also calls for a new hotel and loading facility.
Blacks in Science
The Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology declared 2007 the beginning of the decade of Blacks in Science. The institute, which celebrated 2006 as the year of Blacks in Science, said it will launch a campaign to focus on increasing the participation of African-Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields at the second Banneker Awards Gala, scheduled for November. Last year’s gala, held in November at the National Academy of Sciences, highlighted the intensity of the nation’s need for such a campaign, the institute said. The institute was founded with support from Congress to combine many of the existing initiatives addressing the low performance and participation rates of African-Americans in science- and math-related studies and professions.
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Alcorn State University and Monsanto Co. formed a partnership to provide more research opportunities for students interested in pursuing professions in agriculture. The partnership also will provide greater access for Black farmers to the latest technologies and best on-farm practices in cotton and vegetables. Monsanto initially will work with Alcorn State to establish cotton and vegetable demonstrations with local Black farmers in order to narrow the gap in technology adoption among Black farmers. The program will strive to establish similar partnerships with other universities, including Tuskegee University (Ala.), the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, as well as Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La.
Ancestry.com, an online resource for family history, posted one of the largest collections of African-American family history records available and searchable online. The “African-American Histori-cal Records Collection” features more than 55 million Black family history records, including U.S. Colored Troops service records of those who served in the Civil War, Freedmen’s Bureau records and myriad African-Ame-rican–specific resources, such as photos, and slave narratives from 3,500 former slaves. The collection also includes 53 million African-American records in the complete U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790–1930), which is now searchable with a special filter that identifies African-American entries, regardless of their description in the census as “colored,” “Negro,” “black,” “mulatto” or other variations. The 1870 census is the first to list formerly enslaved African-Americans by name.
Food and Hospitality Careers
The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance’s one-day Show-case of the Stars™ arrives this month in Philadelphia from New York City to promote careers in the lodging, food service and food manufacturing industries to minority high school students. With more than 1.6 million new food service and hospitality jobs expected in the next 10 years, the U.S. Department of Labor has funded MFHA’s newly launched Web site that teaches students about careers in those fields. The site, whatsnext4me.com, is co-sponsored by Johnson & Wales University. Infor-mation on Showcase of the Stars’ nationwide tour schedule is available at www.mfhashowcase.net.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says individuals at average risk for colon cancer, should not take aspirin or painkillers to try to prevent the disease because of the risk of bleeding and other potential health problems. It says the potential risks from taking more than 300 milligrams a day of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen—brand names include Motrin, Advil and Aleve—include a higher risk for stroke, intestinal bleeding or kidney failure, which outweigh the potential benefits of preventing cancer. Colorectal cancer the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Blacks have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer of any group.
Americans for Fairness in Lending, a coalition of consumer and civil rights groups that includes the NAACP, launched a national campaign to highlight abusive and predatory lending practices in the banking, credit card and mortgage industries. The coalition criticizes such practices as offering credit cards to unemployed college students and others unlikely to afford paying the debt, and the levying of excessive fees for late credit card payments and other debts. It also targets tax preparers that offer rapid refunds, as well as “pay day lenders” and other fast-loan providers that charge “ridiculously high rates.” The campaign coincides with the release of Maxed Out, a documentary on debt in the United States.
English Construction Co. Inc., a Lynchburg, Va., company that completed work on part of the U.S. 460 Interchange Project in Montgomery County, Va., will pay $2.5 million for making false statements related to a $40 million federal contract that required the company to hire minority businesses for the job. U.S. Attorney Tom Bondurant said English Con-struction hired one Black worker and “called him a company.” Federal law required at least 10 percent of the work be completed by a minority-owned business.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce testified to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Com-mittee that a bill to increase federal regulation of tobacco products would represent a threat to thousands of Black-owned retailers and distributors of such products. The bill in question, S. 625, would lead to overregulation and, subsequently, the killing of jobs and closure of businesses in “those communities that can least afford to take the hit,” the Chamber said.