By Ricardo A. Hazell A few weeks ago while attending the American Black Film Festival in New York City, I witnessed a short film Muted. Written...


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A & E


“What Would Jesus Do?”…..Ask Tyler Perry He Owns It!

The media mogul, actor, director and screenwriter won a trademark battle over the popular phrase.   By SHARON S. GORDON ...

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“What Would Jesus Do?”…..Ask Tyler Perry He Owns It!

The media mogul, actor, director and screenwriter won a trademark battle over the popular phrase.   By SHARON S. GORDON ...

August 2014 Edition


Tax-free bonuses await eligible Ohio veterans

e-news-vets-bonusEnd of year is deadline for those in Iraq war


COLUMBUS — The clock is ticking for Ohio veterans who served during the Iraq war to receive taxpayer-funded thanks in the form of checks.

The end of this year — the three-year anniversary of the declared end of the war — marks the deadline for those who served in active military anywhere in the world between March 19, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2011, to claim the Ohio Veterans Bonuses approved by voters in 2009.

Those who’ve served at least 90 days of active duty during the Afghanistan war since Oct. 7, 2001, also may claim the tax-free bonuses. Since that war continues, no deadline has been placed on that bonus.

Seventy-two percent of voters agreed in 2009 to authorize borrowing of up to $200 million to pay for bonuses for what was estimated at the time to be 200,000 veterans who served during the Persian Gulf War in 1990 and 1991 and the two then-ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The deadline for the Persian Gulf War has passed.

Mark McKinney, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Military Services, said the bonuses continue an Ohio tradition dating to the Civil War.

As of June 30, 81,409 veterans have claimed about $65.6 million. Although voters approved up to $200 million, the state has borrowed just $83.4 million to date to cover the tab.

“At the time this was put together, we had two open-ended wars,” Mr. McKinney said. “Nobody knew what the ceiling was, quite frankly, in terms of the number who would serve or the dollars. The estimates were on the high side just to make sure we would be able to cover it.

“The number deployed since 9/​11 is between 75,000 and 80,000,” he said.

Veterans are eligible for $100 for each month they honorably served, up to $1,000, if they were in the war zone, and $50 per month, up to $500, if they served elsewhere during that period.

Veterans who were medically discharged because of war injuries may receive bonuses of $1,000 on top of the active service bonuses to which they are entitled. The immediate families of those killed in action may receive bonuses of $5,000 plus up to $1,500 in active-duty bonuses.

The family of veterans who died from noncombat causes may receive up to $1,500.

An applicant must be a current Ohio resident and have been a resident at the time he or she entered service.

The department continues to receive calls from Ohioans who say they were unaware of the bonuses awarded years ago for World War II and the Vietnam and Korean wars. But the windows for applying for those bonuses closed decades ago.

For more information or to start the application process, call 1-877-644-6838, visit veteransbonus.ohio.gov, or visit a county veterans service office.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.
Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2014/07/05/Tax-free-bonuses-await-eligible-Ohio-veterans.html#IR8pUJL2TS5yCe1F.99

More people banned from Ohio casinos


DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — More than a thousand potential gamblers are now banning themselves from Ohio’s casinos and racinos as the state’s gambling industry expands.

The Dayton Daily News  reports that the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s Voluntary Exclusion Program that began two years ago to help target problem gambling now includes more than 980 names. The Ohio Lottery oversees operations at the state’s racinos that feature horse racing tracks and slot machines and has more than 200 names on its list.

Experts say the voluntary program is a good step. But they say it probably only draws a small percentage of problem gamblers. People can ban themselves for a year, five years or life.

Ohio four casinos and five racinos are relatively new. The first ones opened in the state in 2012.

“What Would Jesus Do?”…..Ask Tyler Perry He Owns It!

The media mogul, actor, director and screenwriter won a trademark battle over the popular phrase.




Tyler-Perry2Tyler Perry won the claim to phrase “What would Jesus Do?” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The actor, director and screenwriter insisted that he wasn’t looking for exclusive ownership of or rights to the word “Jesus” beyond that ’90s quip, the entertainment site notes.

The phrase was caught up in a trademark battle between Perry and Kimberly “Poprah” Kearney, from VH1′s reality series I Want to Work for Diddy. The contest began back in May 2008, when Perry registered the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use in the category of “entertainment services.” However, before that, Kearney had already filed for a similar mark for use in a reality TV show.

Representatives for Perry argued that Kearney did not really use the mark, demanding that her registration be dubbed abandoned, since it was interfering with Perry’s plans for the phrase, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Because [Kearney] did not timely answer [Perry]‘s Requests for Admission the facts included are deemed admitted and are ‘conclusively established,’” administrative judges wrote in an opinion canceling Kearney’s trademark, according to the news site. “Despite Respondent’s denials in her answer to [Perry's] petition, the deemed admissions supersede those denials and we are bound by them.”

Read More at the Hollywood Reporter.





By Ricardo A. Hazell

A few weeks ago while attending the American Black Film Festival in New York City, I witnessed a short film Muted. Written by Brandi Ford, starring Chandra Wilson, Malcolm Jamal Warner, and directed by Rachel Goldberg, Muted was only 20 minutes in length but the offering sat upon my chest like a lump of steel for days afterwards. 

In the film, a sweet, loving and creative young African American girl, Crystal Gladwell (Daniele Watts) leaves her home in the morning to go to school and is never seen alive again.  Gleaned from the experiences of real African American families forced to endure such terrible circumstances, Muted was an accurate depiction of what black families searching for their lost children can expect.  A side storyline included a white teenaged girl, abducted at the same time, who’s featured on the local evening news. Meanwhile, Crystal’s mother has to beg local journalists to cover the story, to no avail.  

I say this often, but art does typically imitate real life. When a black child goes missing, the authorities seemingly lack in action and empathy as black parents beg for help in locating their missing child.  Oftentimes, standard questions place blame on the missing. “Has the child run away before? Has the child gotten into a recent disagreement with their parents? Does the child use illegal drugs? Have you checked with the child’s friends?” 

This hits the family with a triple whammy.  First they have to convince law enforcement that their child is not the type of kid to run away. Then they have to convince the local media to air the child’s photo on the nightly news. And lastly, they oftentimes must lead the search for their loved one. While all of this is happening, they must fend off the eventual suspicions that they had something to do with the child’s disappearance themselves. 

These may be standard or even habitual questions. But all the while, the clock is ticking.  According to Parents.com, a child becomes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds in the United States. In 2001, 840,279 people were reported missing in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.  Of those reported missing, 85 to 90 percent were children.  20 percent of the children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for non-familial abductions were not found alive. 

With all that’s going on in the world, it’s a safe bet to say that the abduction of a family’s children is among its primary fears. But for black kids, in particular, it’s been a horrible year.

As the father of an autistic son, I was an emotional wreck when autistic 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo’s remains were found in the East River in January.  In Avonte’s case, the 15-year-old boy slipped past a security guard and walked right out the door of his Queens, NY school in October 2013. Authorities had no leads or information on the case until three months later when his dismembered remains were found and identified via DNA.  According to a March 2014 follow up report by the New York Times, school surveillance video shows the unlocked door that Avonte used to leave the building was purposefully left open by a still unidentified man. 

But it’s not the last time a Black or Hispanic child has gone missing. According to the non-profit Black & Missing Foundation, 14-year-old Alliyah Johnson of Calumet City, IL has been missing since June 27 of this year. She is listed by Black & Missing as being 5’3″ tall and weighing 130 pounds, although a picture with her stats cannot be found anywhere online.  Days later on July 1, 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey of St. James Parish, LA disappeared. Yet, there has been no national news coverage. Why? Read More at The Shadow League.



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