Harlem Y Unveils Health & Wellness Center
The Harlem YMCA unveiled its new, state-of-the-art Health and Wellness Center. The center features 10 treadmills, four stationary bikes, two elliptical-training machines and eight wall-mounted, cable-powered flat-screen TV monitors that people using designated cardio equipment can listen to through headphones. It boasts new flooring and lighting, a new sound system and new window treatments. The Harlem Y is located at 180 West 135th Street between Seventh and Lenox avenues.
Land O’Lakes, Hoops4Africa Fight HIV/AIDS in Africa
Land O’Lakes Inc. and top NBA and WNBA players are partnering in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Land O’Lakes’ International Development division and Hoops4Africa, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit corporation, are raising funds to educate at least 2 million people in Africa about preventing HIV/AIDS and to address the nutritional needs of those who already have the disease. They will work with local private-sector partners in Africa. The pilot effort is slated to begin in Kenya in September 2005. Land O’Lakes is implementing food industry development projects in 11 African countries.
U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce Files Complaint Against SBA
The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Small Business Administration and SBA Administrator Hector Barreto under the Administrative Procedure Act to compel the SBA to implement the Women’s Procurement Program, Public Law 106-554, codified at 15 U.S.C. section 637(m). Congress passed the law in 2000 to allow contracts in industries historically underrepresented by women-owned small businesses to be reserved for competition by such businesses. The chamber says SBA has missed all the deadlines for accomplishing the steps necessary to implement this program.
SBA, National Urban League Join to Promote Entrepreneurship
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Urban League are collaborating under the Bush administration’s Urban Entrepreneur Partnership to expand business ownership and entrepreneurship among minorities. They will create an entrepreneurship network that will include one-stop centers for business training, counseling, financing and contracting in historically neglected and economically underserved urban areas. The agreement will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2006.
HBCUs and Ford Motor Co. to Implement High School Program
The Ford Motor Co. Fund, the national Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Business Deans Roundtable, the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies and high schools nationwide are spearheading a pilot program to prepare African-American high school students for college and careers in fields such as business, engineering and technology. The Ford Motor Co. Fund agreed to commit $100,000 to underwrite the cost of the pilot program. The program will use the Ford Partnership’s interdisciplinary learning experience curriculum to develop students’ problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking and communication skills.
Study Finds High School Graduation Rates for Black Boys Abysmal
“Public Education and Black Male Students: A State Report Card,” published by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, shows that, on average, 60 percent of U.S. Black male students do not graduate from high school. The report highlights disparities in the quality of education provided to African-Americans by examining the high school graduation rates of Black and white non-Hispanic males. Graduation rates are measured by comparing ninth-grade enrollments with diploma attainment three years later. Much of the problem is concentrated in a few large cities. New York City and Chicago, for example, which enroll nearly 10 percent of the nation’s Black male students between them, fail to graduate 70 percent of them with their peers.
Kwanzaa Featured on This Year’s Holiday U.S. Postage Stamp
A new 37-cent first-class Kwanzaa stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service captures the mood of the celebration whose origins are in the harvest festivities of various communities across Africa. The first Kwanzaa stamp was issued in 1997. Art director Derry Noyes and stamp artist Daniel Minter say they strove to create a design that appropriately balances formality with a celebratory, festive mood. The seven days of Kwanzaa and the seven principles they signify are represented by seven figures in colorful robes. Celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Kwanzaa takes its name from the Kiswahili phrase for “first fruits.”
Carver Bancorp and Independence Federal Savings Bank End Merger Agreement
Carver Bancorp Inc. and Independence Federal Savings Bank mutually agreed to terminate the merger agreement between the two institutions, following the Office of Thrift Supervision’s denial of Carver’s application to consummate the merger agreement. The merger agreement was subject to, among other things, approval by the OTS. In a joint statement, Carver President and CEO Deborah C. Wright and acting IFSB President Thomas L. Batties said, “It is with great disappointment that we end our merger agreement. The strategic rationale we outlined in March of building a combined institution of greater scale to better serve our customers was compelling both for Carver and IFSB shareholders and for the urban communities we serve.”
High-Speed Internet Access for Low-Income Americans
Verizon Avenue, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc., and national nonprofit One Economy Corp. agreed to work together to put affordable high-speed Internet access into the homes of low-income Americans. One Economy Corp. will target developers of affordable housing to integrate broadband access into multifamily properties throughout Verizon’s 29-state service area. The area includes New York and the District of Columbia. Verizon Avenue will work with One Economy and developers to build infrastructure and find low-cost Internet access solutions.
Detroit Council Drops Blacks-Only Loans in African Town Plan
Detroit’s City Council passed a modified version of a plan to use public funds to create a Black business district in the city, voting to eliminate a requirement that only Blacks get loans. The plan that passed directs the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and the city’s planning department to work with Black business owners to develop African Town, modeled on the Greektown and Mexicantown business districts. Unlike the earlier version of the plan, this one does not exclude non-blacks from participating. The African Town proposal has drawn fire from opponents, who say the city should not use public money to subsidize the businesses of one race or ethnic group. Supporters say the plan would make the city a model by granting Black entrepreneurs access to capital they have historically been denied.
HHS Awards Grants to Tell Low-Income Beneficiaries About 2006 Drug Benefit
The Department of Health and Human Services announced grants to states to help educate low-income Medicare beneficiaries, who currently get their prescription drugs through state-funded programs, about the new Medicare drug benefit coming in 2006. Of the $125 million in funds set aside in the Medicare Modernization Act for fiscal years 2005 and 2006, New York will receive $17 million for fiscal year 2005 and another $17 million in 2006; New Jersey will receive $11.3 million each year; and Connecticut will receive $2.5 million each year. Only state assistance programs that provide financial assistance for the purchase of prescription drugs, not those that provide only discount cards or referral services, were eligible for the grants.
Toll-Free Number to Report Flu Shot Price Gouging
The AARP announced a toll-free number, 1-877-FLU-COST (877-358-2678), to help fight price gouging for flu shots. The number will operate Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to midnight EST. Pricing experts say a charge of more than $30, excluding doctors visit fees, could be an overcharge. Reports to the toll-free line will be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services and to the attorney general in the state where the charge was incurred. AARP is also urging people to ask their medical providers about a pneumococcal vaccine, which is in full supply.