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SUPPORTERS OF SOUTHMORE POST OFFICE WON’T BACK DOWN, P2

NEWSTALK

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Houston’s Leading Black Information Source

Volume 83 | Number 19

MARCH 13, 2014 |FREE

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LOCAL GERALD WOMACK helps turn around complex

P4 OPINION WEALTH GAP must be closed in America

P9 HS ZONE DAVID GREEN coaches North Shore champs

P11

CHAG’S PLACE

Chef Joseph and Debra Anderson at Power Center open house

P12

‘Obamacare’

Enrollment ends March 31 H Page 6

Nia Long portrays a mom

Patrick Beverley plays tough

Nia Long has been a Hollywood success story since her debut in “Boyz ‘n the Hood.” She can currently be seen in the Tyler Perry film “The Single Moms Club.” Why was she attracted to the role? What was it like acting alongside her real life son?

Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley has been described as pesky, tough and a “junkyard dog.” Discover how he earned his reputation. See what his coaches and teammates have to say about him. Learn how he feels about aggression and commitment to his craft.

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DEFENDER | MARCH 13 | 2014

newstalk

Post office supporters won’t back down

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By CIERRA DUNCAN Defender

hird Ward residents continued to rally to save the Southmore Post Office on Almeda while commemorating the 54th anniversary of Houston’s first sit-in. In March, 1960, Texas Southern University students marched to what was then the Weingarten’s supermarket on Almeda. Their objective was to be served at the main lunch counter like their white counterparts. Today the post office is one of six still being considered for closure or repurposing by the U.S. Postal Service. Supporters refuse to stop fighting to keep it open, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is urging residents to write letters of support to a postal executive by March 26. Jackson Lee also asked residents to inform others who may be unaware of what is going on. “Everyday people are using the post office and they don’t even know [it could close],” she said. Jackson Lee added that the facility remains busy and is needed by the community. “This post office may seem like a small issue,” said Assata Richards, a Project Row House board member. “But it is an opportunity to galvanize our community and say that our community is not for sale, that the history of our community is valuable and that we are valuable.” Serbino Sandifer-Walker, a journalism professor at TSU, reflected on the facility’s history. She played an instrumental role in getting a historical marker commemorating the sit-in placed at 4110 Almeda. “The students did something in this city that had never happened before,” she said. “They stood up and they said change would have to happen…They wanted justice and equality for African-American

Texas Southern University professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker talks about the Southmore Post Office’s history.

people who had been treated like second-class citizens for years.” Letters of support for the post office can be addressed to Vice President of Facilities, c/o Sandra Rybicki, Southern Facilities Service Office, P.O. Box 667180, Dallas, Texas, 75266-7180.

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Livestock ordinance could change By LaGLORIA WHEATFALL Defender

Houston City Council is considering revisions to Chapter 6, the ordinance that governs pets and livestock. One of the proposed changes would require livestock owners to obtain a permit on an annual basis per location, and the permit would have to be prominently displayed. Christopher Newport of Administration of Regulatory Affairs said the number of complaints received has caused the city to consider revisions. “We’ve been talking to a lot of folks and one of the things that we’ve heard is there is a pretty big problem with livestock not being cared for appropriately, particularly in District B and District D,” he said. District B Councilman Jerry Davis agrees with the recommended revisions and thinks that regulations should be enforced in order to hold owners responsible for maintaining their livestock. “Our office receives phone calls on a daily basis from constituents who have been negatively affected by dangerous dogs and irresponsible livestock owners in their neighborhood,” Davis said. “The intent is for the City to step up enforcement on irresponsible animal owners while not impeding on the rights of responsible animal owners.” Another proposed change would require that stables containing horses meet minimum standards. Newport said such revisions would ensure appropriate upkeep of animals. Councilmembers are still receiving input from community stakeholders and other officials on the proposal. To get more updates to the ordinance and to give input, public sessions are held at City Hall on the 2nd floor every Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. Citizens can sign up by calling 832-393-1100. The next opportunity to speak at public session will be March 25. Concerned citizens can also contact Davis’ at 832393-3009 or districtb@houstontx.gov or Newport at 832 393-8503 or christopher.newport@houstontx.gov.

localbriefs FORT BEND ISD is hosting community dialogue sessions to share information about the district’s new facilities master plan. There will be a review of recommendations by a planning team that include building renovations at schools, the addition of new classrooms, redrawing boundaries for some schools and the building of new schools. The first meeting will be held Tuesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at Austin High School Cafeteria, 3434 Pheasant Creek Drive in Sugar Land. A second meeting takes place Thursday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at Elkins High School Auditorium, 7007 Knight’s Court in Missouri City. For more information visit

fortbendisd.com……..POLICE ARE ON THE LOOKOUT for drunk drivers during spring break. The Houston Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Division recently kicked off an impaired driving mobilization initiative that lasts through March 23. Additional officers will be deployed at high-risk locations to conduct DWI enforcement efforts during times that alcoholrelated accidents are most frequent.  Primary emphasis will be placed on increasing DWI arrests in an attempt to reduce drunk-driving fatalities. A “no refusal” program is also in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Under the program, a search warrant is issued to draw

the blood of any drunk-driving suspect who refuses to take a Breathalyzer test or give a blood sample……..A LOCAL MAN IS CHARGING his former employer with discrimination. Sandeep Gupta, a native of India, said he was a victim of racism while working at Schwan’s Food Company. He said he was subjected to racial slurs and physically assaulted. Activist Quanell X and other supporters joined Gupta during a protest at the company’s Houston facility. The company said it makes a point to provide a work environment free from harassment or retaliation, and that Gupta did not report any alleged inappropriate behavior prior to resigning.

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MARCH 13 | 2014 | DEFENDER

national

U.S.briefs THE LATEST EMPLOYMENT FIGURES from the Labor Department show that the unemployment rate for Black women 20 years and older fell to 9.9 percent in February, the lowest rate in five years. Meanwhile, Black men continue to lag behind other major worker groups with a jobless rate of 12.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed workers increased by 203,000, accounting for 37 percent of the unemployed. Blacks account for 23 percent of the long-term unemployed in the United States. Valerie Wilson, a director with the Economic Policy Institute, said that increasing the minimum wage and extending emergency unemployment compensation to millions of Americans would likely stimulate the economy, two proposals that have come under fire on Capitol Hill……..DR. BEN CARSON, the former renowned surgeon who is now an outspoken conservative, talked about gay marriage during a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. “As you know, I am not a fan of political correctness,” Carson said. “I still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Carson added that gays should have the same rights as everyone else, “but they don’t get extra rights. They don’t get to redefine marriage.” Carson made headlines last year when he called the Affordable Care Act the worst thing that happened in America since slavery…….. AN NAACP DELEGATION took the concerns of many American minorities to a United Nations review of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland. The covenant is a treaty that outlines rights that should be available to all people, including self-determination, the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech and religion, freedom from slavery and torture, and the right to participate in the electoral process. One of the issues the NAACP addressed was the attack on voting rights in the U.S.

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Revamped SAT impact on Black students uncertain NNPA News Service

Administrators of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have overhauled the standardized tool that helps determine whether an applicant will get accepted into the college of his or her choice. But in revamping the test, SAT officials are facing a test of their own. “The redesign is trying to get a sense of what students learned in high school…and help demonstrate their critical thinking skills instead of just picking an answer,” said Michelle Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a think tank. “But the real question is, are all students getting the same opportunity to learn those skills before they get to college? Students, especially low-income Black students, often go to schools that are under-resourced. Will they have ever been exposed to the type of questions to be asked on this test, or will it all just reinforce the bias we already see?” The new SAT will be released in 2016. Changes include making the essay optional, shifting its current core scale of 2,400

to 1600, shrinking test time by 45 minutes and abandoning obscure vocabulary questions. In part because of what some perceive as racial and cultural bias – along with poor schools – many Blacks don’t do well on the standardized test. Last year, only 15.6 percent of Black students who took the SAT reached or exceeded the benchmark score of 1550 (out of 2400 points). Prep courses and books that give students an edge can also be expensive, ranging from $31.99 to $699. Some colleges have begun to wonder whether the SAT is worth their time – more than 800 have gone “test-optional” or “test-flexible.” However, the majority of colleges and universities require SAT scores (or its competitor, the ACT) as part of the application. “I’m positively optimistic that the redesign will help many students,” Cooper said, “but I want to make sure they are addressing the inherent cultural, racial, and income bias that has long been a staple of the SAT.”

CBC wants congressman removed as leader VOLUME 83 • NUMBER 19 MARCH 13, 2014 Print Editor Publisher Marilyn Marshall Sonceria Messiah-Jiles People Editor Advertising/Client Relations Yvette Chargois Selma Dodson Tyler Sports Editors Multimedia Manager Max Edison Tiffany Williams Darrell K. Ardison Online Editor Local Editor ReShonda Billingsley LaGloria Wheatfall Art Director Contributing Writer Tony Fernandez-Davila Cierra Duncan The Defender newspaper is published by the Houston Defender Inc. Company (713-663-6996.. The Defender is audited by Certified Audited Circulation. (CAC). For subscription, send $60-1 year to: Defender, P.O. Box 8005, Houston TX 77288. Payment must accompany subscription request. All material covered by 2012 copyright. (No material herein may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher).

Defender News Services

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is calling on House Speaker John Boehner to strip U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of his committee chairmanship for disrespecting U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a member of the CBC. Issa, a Republican, turned the microphone off while Cummings, a Democrat, was speaking during a hearing to investigate the IRS for targeting conservative groups. Issa is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which conducted the hearing. Cummings attempted to make a statement after the questioning of an IRS official. Issa muted Cummings’ mike twice and told him the meeting was

adjourned. CBC Chair Marcia Fudge sent a letter to Boehner regarding Issa’s actions. She said the American people have a right to expect that their elected leaders are held to the highest possible standards of conduct. “Congressional committee leaders are held to an even higher standard due to their unique positions,” Fudge said. “The abuse of authority and misuse of the Congressional privileges afforded them are an affront to the expectations of the American public. “Congressman Darrell Issa of California abused his authority and therefore must be reprimanded to ensure the dignity of the House of Representatives is preserved,” Fudge said.

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DEFENDER | MARCH 27 | 2014 defendernetwork.com

Complex turned around Defender News Services

Realty company owner Gerald Womack is being applauded for his efforts to help improve life at a troubled Sharpstown condominium complex formerly known as Le Promenade Townhomes. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan and the Sharpstown Management District have obtained a two-year extension for a receiver, Womack, to continue to manage the complex. Womack is the first in Texas to be put in place over a homeowner’s association to enforce an injunction requiring additional security, cameras, gates, lighting and other measures. “Mr. Womack has done an excellent job turning around this apartment complex,” Ryan said. “Crime has been reduced, gang members have been moved out, the complex is cleaner and the residents and the entire community are now safer.” Womack was appointed by a district court judge after Ryan filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the 51 ownGerald Womack ers of the complex at 7400 Bissonnet. The complex was so well known as a gang hangout that members of one gang tattooed themselves with “7400,” the address of the complex. Before a receiver was assigned, reports from the Houston Police Department indicated at least one violent crime a month at the complex. Since March 2013 there have been only four violent crimes reported. Since his appointment as receiver, Womack has: • Held a community clean-up day to clear the complex of litter and debris, de-clutter patios, remove unsightly nuisances and paint the exterior. • Established a functioning three-person board for the homeowner’s association. • Created a no-tolerance policy for gang members on the property and kept all gang graffiti off the property. • Maintained a closed entrance and exit gate open to residents and their guests only. • Hired two off-duty law enforcement officers and two private security guards to patrol the property. • Established a balanced budget for the homeowner’s association. • Held a Christmas party for residents and their children. • Stopped owners and tenants from operating businesses from the condos. • Received maintenance fees from owners. • Changed the name of the complex to the Gardens at Bissonnet.

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MARCH 13 | 2014 | DEFENDER

entertainment

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Nia Long stars in ‘The Single Moms Club’ By KAM WILLIAMS Special to the Defender

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eading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the sequel “The Best Man Holiday.” Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime’s “House of Lies” alongside Don Cheadle. Long made her film debut in “Boyz ‘n the Hood,” which explored social problems in innercity Los Angeles. She subsequently starred in such films as “Friday,” “Love Jones,” “Are We There Yet?” and “Big Momma’s House.” Her portrayal of Officer Sasha Monroe on the crime drama “Third Watch” netted her two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Drama series. Here, she talks about coNia Long (right) co-stars with Zulay Henao and Cocoa Brown in “The Single Moms Club.” starring as May in “The Single And single mothers just take it to a whole other level. Moms Club” opposite her son KW: How was it having your real son, Massai, play Massai, as well as Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, Tyler your son in the film, and what acting advice did you Perry, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cocoa give him? Brown. NL: I actually sent him to my acting coach, Betty KW: What interested you in “The Single Moms Club?” NL: The title alone. I think it’s a world we haven’t defendernetwork.com explored on film. And I feel that single mommies don’t get enough praise and accolades. I’ve had first-hand See what Nia Long has to say experience. My mother was a single mom. As far as about Hollywood I’m concerned, mommies in general rule the world.

Bridges [mother of Todd Bridges]. She worked with him for several days. And then, my own mom recorded him on her iPhone. It was one of those situations where I didn’t want to be a part of process, because I felt it was important for him to go through the process and earn it. So, we sent the video over to Tyler. When we didn’t hear back after a couple of days, I was like, “Oh my gosh! What if he doesn’t get this job? How am I going to break the news to him?” Fortunately, Tyler thought he was great and he did get the job. At the end of the day, I was really happy with the outcome of the scenes. Working opposite him was such a gift, and something I’ll have on film forever. I don’t know whether a star was born, but I’m sure it was an experience that can only help benefit his development as a young man. KW: What would you say is the overall message of the film? NL: Try to find fellowship, and try to find sisterhood, and try to find that village that can help you support your journey and your kids and your experiences. Never lose a sense of yourself throughout the process, and still pursue your dreams as a mom. When all is said and done, don’t be afraid to get out there and date, and have a little bit of fun. We’re still women, we’re still feminine and we still have needs.

what’sup THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE presents “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” a comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright LYNN NOTTAGE. It is directed by Ensemble artistic director EILEEN J. MORRIS. The play previews March 15, 16, and 19, and runs March 20-April 13. It mirrors African-American actresses in the 1930s making a living as domestic workers but dreaming of careers as Hollywood stars. Tickets range from $19 to $44. Visit EnsembleHouston.com or call 713-520-0055……..A film about legendary singer and musician JIMI HENDRIX is being screened at the South by Southwest music and film festival in Austin. The film, titled “Jimi: All is by My Side,” stars ANDRÉ 3000 of OutKast fame in the title role. It is written and directed by JOHN RIDLEY, who wrote the screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.” Hendrix was regarded

as one of the most influential electric guitarists in music history. He died of barbiturate-related asphyxia in 1970 at the age of 27……..RAY PARKER JR. of “Ghostbusters” fame received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Parker and his band Raydio produced other hits such as “Jack and Jill,” “You Can’t Change That” and “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do).” Parker’s star is located near follow music giants HERBIE HANCOCK, DIZZY GILLESPIE and THELONIUS MONK…….. CBS News veteran BILL WHITAKER has been named a “60 Minutes” correspondent. Whitaker is based in Los Angeles and will move to the New York area and begin appearing in the fall on the weekly newsmagazine. In addition to his work for CBS News, Whitaker has worked for “Sunday Morning,” turning out feature stories and profiles on such personalities

as First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA, GLADYS KNIGHT and MIKE TYSON. Prior to his assignment in Los Angeles, Whitaker was CBS’ Tokyo correspondent……..Native Houstonian ISAIAH WASHINGTON is returning for one episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” this May. Washington was fired from the show in season three after making what were considered homophobic remarks about his co-star T.R. Knight. Washington is being brought back because his former love interest in the show, portrayed by SANDRA OH, is leaving. Washington played Dr. Preston Burke and Oh plays Dr. Cristina Yang. “It’s important to me that Cristina’s journey unfolds exactly as it should,” said the show’s creator SHONDA RHIMES. “Burke is vital to that journey – he gives her story that full-circle moment we need to properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.”

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DEFENDER | MARCH 13 | 2014

cover

Shopping for insurance

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nder the Affordable Act (ACA), insurance is purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The marketplace gives side-by-side comparisons of health plans from various insurance companies and provides information on benefits, premiums and deductibles. Applicants can then enroll in a plan that best fits their needs and budget. The marketplace is designed for the uninsured or those who want to buy health care coverage on their own for themselves or their families. Those who have health insurance through their employers or a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid do not have to concern themselves with the marketplace.

How to apply

There are four ways to apply for coverage: 1. Apply online. Visit HealthCare.gov to get started. 2. Apply by phone. Call 1-800-318-2596. 3. Apply in person. Visit a trained counselor to get information. To find help in your community visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov or call 1 800 318 2596. 4. Apply by mail. Download a paper application form and instructions from HealthCare. gov.

What is needed

When applying for coverage in the marketplace, applicants will need the following items: 1. Social Security numbers (or document

numbers for legal immigrants) for those who need coverage. 2. Employer and income information for those who need coverage such as pay stubs or W-2 forms. 3. Policy numbers of any current health insurance plans covering members of the household. 4. A completed Employer Coverage Tool form for those eligible for insurance through their employers. It is available online or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

What it costs

The cost of insurance through the marketplace varies. Some insurance plans have lower monthly premiums but charge more out-of-pocket when patients require care. Other plans charge higher premiums but cover more of medical expenses. The ACA offers four “metal” plans that are distinguished from one another by their actuarial value, which refers to the average amount of insurance expenses that would be paid for by the plan. The higher the actuarial value of a plan, the lower the out-of-pocket costs for the plan member. The platinum plan covers 90 percent of covered medical expenses. The gold plan covers 80 percent. The silver plan covers 70 percent and the bronze plan covers 60 percent. The platinum and gold plans are generally more expensive, and might be better suited for those who see a doctor often and take a number of prescription drugs. However, it’s important that applicants weigh all plans carefully – one company’s silver plan could be cheaper than another company’s bronze plan.

Get a rough cost estimate Applicants with low and middle incomes could be eligible for subsidies that would lower their insurance costs. An estimate is available by accessing the Kaiser Family Foundation ACA calculator at kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/. The calculation is based on state, income, number of people in the family, tobacco use and other factors. Keep in mind that it is a rough estimate and actual costs may vary significantly when one actually applies for insurance and compares prices. Here are some examples: • A single person age 25 making

$25,000 a year could pay around $83 a month for a bronze plan and $144 a month for a silver plan. • A single person age 30 making $30,000 a year with two children could possibly pay nothing a month for a bronze plan and $104 a month for a silver plan. • Two adults age 40 making $60,000 a year with two children could possibly pay $177 a month for a bronze plan and $409 a month for a silver plan. • A single person age 60 making $45,000 a year with no children could pay around $191 a month for a bronze plan and $356 a month for a silver plan.

‘Obam

Enrollment en

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By MARILY Def

ninsured Americans have until March 31 to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Barack Obama signed the ACA – dubbed Obamacare – into law in March 2010. It is designed to make medical care more accessible and affordable to a larger number of Americans. The rollout of the ACA got off to a rocky start last fall, with website issues and frustrations over certain elements of the plan. Obama vowed that his administration would work out the kinks. “It took a hundred years for us to even get to the point where

defendernetwork.com • Serving th defendernetwork.com • Serving t


rstory

macare’

nds March 31

YN MARSHALL fender we could start talking about and implementing a law to make sure everybody got health insurance,” Obama said. “And my pledge to the American people is that we’re going to solve the problems that are there, we’re going to get it right, and the Affordable Care Act is going to work.” Many of the problems associated with the rollout have since been solved. More than 4 million Americans – and nearly 300,000 Texans – have now enrolled in the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Here are pointers on the ACA, how it works and shopping for insurance.

he Houston area for over 80 years the Houston area for over 80 years

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Key features of the ACA In general, the Affordable Care Act… • Preventive services for women available at no • Requires insurance companies to cover people additional cost include birth control and screening for with pre-existing health conditions. breast, cervical and colorectal cancer • Holds insurance companies accountable for Young Adults rate increases. • Young adults can stay on their parents’ health • Makes it illegal for companies to arbitrarily insurance plan until age 26 even if they are living cancel health insurance just because a person gets away from home, are married or have an offer of sick. coverage through their employer. • Requires many health plans to covers preven• Premium tax credits are provided for young tive care at no cost for services such as mammograms, adults making up to $43,000 a year to help ensure they colonoscopies and screenings for blood pressure, cho- can afford coverage. Those who still cannot afford lesterol, colorectal cancer, depression, diabetes type 2, coverage can qualify for a hardship waiver. HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. • Young adults have a variety of options to decide • Keeps insurance companies from setting a how much coverage they want, including a lower-cost dollar limit on what they spend on essential health “young invincible” coverage option for those under benefits for care during the entire time a person is age 30. enrolled in a plan. Seniors How the health care law protects you Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance • Protects choice of doctors. Consumers can Marketplace established by ACA, so those who choose the primary doctor they want from a plan’s have Medicare or Medicaid do not have to replace network. coverage. However, • Removes insursome benefits are ance company barriers defendernetwork.com designed to improve to emergency services. under the ACA. 10 things to know about Consumers can seek • The average the Affordable Care Act emergency care at a person with Medihospital outside of their care will save approximately $4,200 from 2011 to health plan’s network. 2021, while those with high prescription drug costs Families will save as much as $16,000 over the same period. • Children have access to affordable insurance • Seniors can get an annual wellness visit free regardless of whether their parents change jobs, leave of charge so they can talk to their doctor about any a job, move or get sick. health concerns. • Insurers are prohibited from excluding cover• For the Medicare Part D prescription drug age of children because of preexisting conditions. program, beneficiaries who fall into the cover• Basic pediatric services are covered under all age gap known as the “donut hole” automatically new health plans, in addition to oral and vision needs. receive a discount on prescription drugs. Each year, • Federal funding is extended for CHIP through beneficiaries pay a reduced cost for brand name September, 2015, and provides states with additional and generic drugs in the coverage gap. In 2020, the funding to ensure kids have access to the program. donut hole will be closed.

Missed deadline penalty Unless they qualify for an exemption from coverage, Americans who do not meet the March 31 deadline will have to wait for the next open enrollment, which will run from Nov. 15, 2014 until Feb. 15, 2015. They may also have to pay a fine when filing their 2014 income tax return in 2015. The penalty is 1 percent of yearly household income or $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18),

whichever of the amounts is higher. For example, a single uninsured person who misses the deadline and makes $40,000 a year could possibly pay a $400 fine. Exemptions from fine payment include hardships such as homelessness, incarceration, bankruptcy, eviction and foreclosure. Those with incomes too low to file tax returns could also qualify.

Concerned about Medicare? Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace established by ACA, so those who have Medicare or Medicaid do not have to replace coverage. However, some benefits are designed to improve under the ACA.

For detailed info visit HealthCare.gov or call

1-800-318-2596


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DEFENDER | MARCH 13 | 2014

Elderly can get free help with wills The Houston Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee will sponsor a Will-A-Thon to provide simple wills and basic medical directives, free of charge, for elderly citizens who meet the income guidelines. To qualify, applicants must be Harris County residents 60 years of age or older and meet the Houston Volunteer Lawyers’ low-income guidelines. Those who qualify will be giv-

en an appointment to meet with a volunteer attorney on April 9 at the Third Ward Multi-Purpose Center, 3611 Ennis, Suite 118. The docu-

Things to know about wills According to usa.gov, the official web portal of the U.S. government, it’s unfortunate how many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. People at all economic levels benefit from an estate plan. Upon death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes property based on your wishes and the needs of your family and/or survivors with as little tax as possible. A will is the most practical first step in estate planning. It makes clear how you want your property to be distributed after you die. Writing a will can be as simple as typing out how you want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or charitable organizations after your death. If you don’t have a will when you die, your estate will be handled in probate, and your property could be distributed differently than what you would like. It may help to get legal advice when writing a will, particularly when it comes to understanding all the rules of the estate disposition. Some states, for instance, have community-property laws that entitle your surviving spouse to keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what percentage you leave him or her. Fees for the execution of a will vary according to its complexity.

clearly state that it is your will. • An executor of your will, who ensures your estate is distributed according to your wishes, must be named. • It is not necessary to notarize or record your will but these can safeguard against any claims that your will is invalid. To be valid, you must sign a will in the presence of at least two witnesses.

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MENTAL HEALTH MENTAL RETARDATION AUTHORITY OF HARRIS COUNTY will be accepting Request for Proposals for the following: RENOVATIONS AT MHMRA’S BRISTOW FACILITY 2627 CAROLINE STREET Houston, Texas 77004 SCOPE OF WORK: Contractor to provide labor and material for renovation of approximately 750 SF of interior office area. The demolition of existing partitions and finishes and build back of (2) offices, a meeting room, a break-room and a file room are included in the scope of work including mechanical, electrical and plumbing MHMRA’s Bristow Facility.

Review your plan

Once you’ve completed a will, it’s a good idea to review it from time to time, and consider changes if: • The value of your assets change • You marry, divorce or remarry • You have a child • You move to a different state • The executor of your will dies or becomes incapacitated or your relationship changes • One of your heirs dies • The laws affecting your estate change

ments will be completed and executed on May 21 at the center. The Elder Law Committee provides free legal services and advice to senior citizens in Harris County, as well as free handbooks on elder law. To apply for assistance through the Will-A-Thon, senior citizens must call 713-228-0735 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. by April 4 to complete a screening application over the phone.

All Specifications and Drawings will be provided Electronically, via MHMRA website http://www.mhmraharris.org and/or may be secured from MHMRA, Harris County, Purchasing Services, Ste. 100, located at 7011 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77074; telephone (713) 970-7281 beginning Monday, March 17th. A Site Visit is scheduled for 10:00 a.m Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 2627 Caroline, Houston, TX 77004. Proposals must be submitted to Purchasing Department by 2:00 p.m., on Monday, April 21, 2014, at 7011 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77074 in a sealed envelope marked “PROPOSAL - DO NOT OPEN UNTIL - MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014 Renovations at Bristow Facility”. Any questions pertaining to this solicitation should be addressed in writing to Thelma Bannister, Buyer II, via fax at (713) 970-7682 or E-mail questions to thelma.bannister@mhmraharris.org and if emailing please (cc:) sharon.brauner@mhmraharris.org. MHMRA reserves the rights to reject any and/or all proposals it deems to be in its best interests, to waive formalities and reasonable irregularities in submitted documents and is not obligated to accept the lowest proposal.

4

Rules to remember

• In most states, you must be 18 years of age or older. • A will must be written in sound judgment and mental capacity to be valid. • The document must SOW_HoustonDefender2014paths.indd 1

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MARCH 13 | 2014 | DEFENDER

opinion

9

Close the wealth gap

T

By CHARLENE CROWELL NNPA Columnist

Further, the majority of consumers in 37 states and the District of Columbia do not have credit scores high enough to be eligible for the lowest available lending rates for short-term credit. The highest levels of liquid asset poverty are concentrated in nine Southern states: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina

oday, middle class households feel the same financial stress that low- and moderate-income families have borne for years, says new research by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit organization working to alleviate poverty and create economic opportunity. In its report, “Treading Water in the Deep End,” CFED analyzes the financial security of American households and public policy responses to the financial crisis. “As millions of Americans struggle to save for emergencies, investing in their futures is increasingly out of reach,” states the report. Liquid asset poverty is defined in the report as a household budget that is so tight that any unforeseen expenditure such as a car repair or medical expense cannot be managed without incurring debt. The financial insecurity of America’s liquid asset poor is CFED’s focus of findings. For consumers of color, CFED’s report reads much like the familiar financial refrain of earlier research: • Two out of three households of color are liquid-asset poor, lacking a financial cushion to respond to financial emergencies. • Only 42 percent of consumers of color were homeowners, while white homeownership Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune now stands at 72 percent. • The median net worth for consumers of color amounted to $12,377 – only one-tenth of the median net and Tennessee. worth of white consumers – $110,637. As CFED analyzed state and local policy responses in Even among middle-income households, defined as those the wake of the nation’s financial crisis and recession, it creearning $56,113 to $91,356, 25 percent do not have enough savated a policy scorecard that measured state responses to 67 ings to cover living expenses for three months. policy areas.

States and cities concerned with growing economic inequality launched programs to raise the minimum wage, encourage long-term college savings plans and courted unbanked consumers to become a part of the financial mainstream. For lifting 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2011, the report praised the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In addition to this federal program, 25 states and the District of Columbia enacted their own versions of EITC that ranged from 3.5 percent to as high as 40 percent of the federal credit. Even with such initiatives, growing costs of higher education continue to lead to even higher levels of debt. According to the report, the average student debt for college graduates grew from $27,150 in 2011 to $29,400 in 2012. Additionally, both employer-sponsored retirement plans and homeownership levels respectively dropped a percentage point from 2010 to 2012. Nationwide in 2012, retirement plans slipped to 44 percent. The Center for Responsible Lending advocates that homeownership remains the best investment vehicle to help low-wealth families to build wealth and grow into the middle class. Research by the University of North Carolina Center for Capital found that families who received responsible, low-down payment mortgages are successfully repaying their loans and amassed an average $21,000 in home equity even during the financial crisis. “Without improved policies at all levels of government that help families earn more, save more, and build more assets, the yawning income and wealth inequality gap in the United States will widen, rather than narrow,” CFED concluded.

The ‘Obamacare’ advantage As the March 31 deadline for enrolling in the Affordable Care Act approaches, we should recognize that the ACA is a good thing. It’s good for the United States because so many people are uninsured and do not have access to good health care. Despite its merits, however, the ACA has been criticized from the beginning, especially by Congressional opponents. Granted, the ACA cannot solve all of the nation’s health care problems and it got off to a shaky start. It’s not perfect but it’s a beginning, a birth. It’s just like a child being born. When a child

first come into the world he or she is wrinkled, can’t talk, can’t walk. But we love our baby and know that he or she is going to grow bigger, better and stronger. When you look at other social programs such as Social Security and Medicare, there were major problems with their rollouts (just like with the ACA). Now, both programs help make life better for millions of Americans. As an example of how underappreciated the ACA is, consider its nickname, “Obamacare.” Social Security was never called “Rooseveltsecurity” and Medicare was never called “LBJcare.”

Yet in the years to come, the health care plan that has brought President Obama a lot of condemnation could become his greatest accomplishment. “Obamacare” is here to stay so our elected officials need to roll up their sleeves and help this “baby” grow and develop into the best it can be instead of fighting and bickering over its birth. The uninsured in Houston, the state of Texas and the U.S. should not get caught up in the mix. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize. If you do not have insurance, enroll by March 31 to keep the doors to health care open for you and your family.

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10

DEFENDER | MARCH 13 | 2014

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sports

Beverley is Rockets ‘junkyard dog’

I

By MAX EDISON Defender

t has been slightly more than a year since he joined the Rockets and the move was barely a blip in the media. There was no press conference, just a press release announcing the signing of point guard Patrick Beverley, a Chicago native who played his college ball at Arkansas. We may not have known who Beverley was, but it didn’t take long to figure out the kid was a tough, blue-collar basketball player that you don’t have to drag into a fight. He’s the type of player you must have on your roster to win a championship. “I love Patrick, he’s a tough junkyard dog,” said head coach Kevin McHale. “He plays hard all the time. He’s got great grit, a great heart and he’s been knocking down the 3’s. He defends everybody. He’s just a tough, hard- nosed kid.” We’ve seen the Beverley model in a Rocket uniform in the past, during the team’s championship run in the mid‘90s. That player was Mario Elie, who had bounced around the world playing in multiple international leagues before coming to the Rockets. He was a tenacious defender who could rip your heart out with a timely 3-pointer (ask the Phoenix Suns). Now comes the latest incarnation in the form of Beverley. He was a second-round draft pick of the L.A. Lakers in 2009. Beverley’s rights were then traded to the Miami Heat. He was subsequently waived by the Heat and had stints in leagues in Europe and Russia. Prior to joining the Rockets he was the named the 2011-2012 Eurocup MVP. It didn’t take long for Beverley to establish himself as a stellar defensive player who would never back down regardless of the opponent. Beverley has swiftly worked his way to a starting position with the team. Because his game is not particularly glamorous or in some cases his numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, his contribution to the team’s success can sometimes go unnoticed. Yet McHale is very much aware and appreciative of his game. All-Star James Harden also weighed in on Beverley’s game. “He’s been big for us ever since we got him,” Harden said. “He brings something different to this team with his tenacity. He has a point guard mindset of locking his guy down and making big shots. He’s done a great job of getting better every single day.” Beverley, a soft-spoken guy who almost seems a bit overwhelmed by attention he’s receiving, has been the victim of his own rough style of play. He sat out earlier this year with a broken finger and is currently playing with a broken nose. Nevertheless Beverley, lunch bucket and hard

hat ready, comes to play with one speed whenever he steps on the court. “Anybody who knows me knows I don’t back down from a challenge,” he said. “I play basketball hard. There’s no motive with me, it’s all about the team. I can’t turn my aggression off or on, it’s just how I play. It’s instilled in me.” He shrugs off his seemingly overnight success as a testament to his work ethic. “I work hard on my craft, I work hard on my game,” he said. “I work with coaches everyday on my shot. I guess it’s starting to pay off.” Things are also paying off for the Rockets. They’ve been the hottest team in the NBA in the second half of the season.

Patrick Beverley, a point guard with the Rockets, never backs down.

Beverley said he works hard on his game and his shot.

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h.s.zone

MARCH 13 | 2014 | DEFENDER

11

sportsbriefs Yates’ storybook season ends

The North Shore High School boys beat Converse Judson to win state.

North Shore boys claim 1st state title

Tanner Leissner. “Wacker is a great post and I had to come into this game knowing that I’m an undersized post and I just had to play AUSTIN – It came down to a commithim strong,” said Foster, who was named ment made back in the offseason. championship game Most Valuable Player The North Shore High School boys’ for his 16-point, 10-rebound performance. varsity basketball team met with coaches to “He scored some points on me but I didn’t discuss team goals and expectations for the get down on myself. I had to keep playing upcoming 2013-14 season. It takes junior defense on him. 6-foot-5 post Jarrey Foster to tell the story “I like to go to the board strong, and from there. everything I do under the basket has to be “I’m an undersized post and I was one Foster accepts the MVP strong because I have to help my team out,” of the tallest guys [6-6 reserve Adrian Brown Jarrey trophy. Foster said. “We’re not as tall was the other] in the room,” as most teams. So we had to Foster said. “We knew that we go strong and use our speed are an undersized team and we Find out what Brandon Green has to say to close out on their shooters had to change our defensive about winning the state title and box out the big men.” philosophy from last year. The strategy worked “We had to buy into what and notched head coach David Green his first state title after the coaches said and use pressure defense,” Foster said. “Even guiding four different schools to the state tournament. North though it’s a lot of hard work, we run at practice every day. So Shore won nine games the season before Green’s arrival and we’re in shape and it worked out all season.” have won 30-or-more games in his three seasons. It worked for the 35-3 Mustangs during the regular season. In addition to strong efforts from forward Kerwin And in the Class 5A state championship game against top-ranked Roach (15 points, six rebounds) and guards Brandon Etienne Converse Judson, North Shore’s pressure defense set the tone (six points, zero turnovers) and Jalin Hart (four points, zero early and worked to perfection as the Mustangs pulled away for turnovers), the moment was made sweeter by the presence of a 57-45 victory before 10,432 fans at the Erwin Center. Green’s son Brandon. Although outrebounded 29-25, North Shore forced 18 After sitting out last season’s varsity schedule, Brandon turnovers while committing only four and dug out seven steals Green played 31 minutes and finished with 11 points, three to one for Judson. This was while defending rebounds, two assists and one steal against Converse Judson. 6-foot-9 David Wacker and 6-foot-7 “Sometime things happen for a reason and God knows what’s best for us,” said Coach Green. “It hurt my heart last year and I dusted it off and took it to the side and Kerwin Roach told my son that we were going to continue to work. Coach David Brandon Green Green “Trials and tribulations are going to make you stronger,” Green said. “Your day will come and this is his day along with his teammates. So that makes it fulfilling.” Ranked No. 1 among Class 5A schools for most of the season, Converse Judson (37-2) was led by Wacker with 13 points and 10 rebounds. No other Rocket scored in double figures. By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender

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It appeared that the Yates Lions were fighting themselves as much as the defending state champions. Yates versus Dallas Madison was a rematch of the 2013 Class 3A boys’ state title basketball game. The Lions felt this time would be different from the convincing loss to Madison a year ago. Advancing to the state tournament was becoming familiar ground for Yates, which was accomplishing the feat for the fifth time in six years. Yates brought home state titles in 2009-10. Yet things have become a bit more complicated since then. The latest chapter was an 82-70 loss to Dallas Madison and plenty of tears in the aftermath. The Lions struggled to convert high-percentage shots and fared even worse from long distance (4 of 24). Despite owning a height advantage inside, Yates was outrebounded 57-31. “As the game wore on we got out of kilter,” said Yates head coach Greg Wise. “At halftime we talked about everyone playing their roles and getting to the basket. We got shots but the wrong people were taking the shots. In the heat of battle, we lost our focus.”

Boys’ tournament tidbits Dallas Madison coach Roderick Johnson won a state title in his first year with the Trojans as head coach. His brother Royce Johnson, the head coach at Dallas Kimball, won his third title in four years with a 52-37 victory over Amarillo in the Class 4A state championship game. Their father, Goree Johnson, won state titles at Dallas Kimball in 1996 and 1997. “Life is good,” said Roderick Johnson. “All of us feel blessed.”

Former Cougar Williams dies Rob Williams, a former University of Houston guard and member of “Phi Slama Jama,” died March 10 of congestive heart failure. He was 52. Williams played for the Cougars from 1979 to 1982 and ranks as the program’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,838 points. He helped lead the Cougars to a combined 70 wins in three seasons and the 1982 NCAA Final Four. He earned All-America Third-Team honors in 1981 after averaging a team-best 25.0 points per game on the way to being named Southwest Conference Player of the Year. Williams played professionally with the Denver Nuggets, Continental Basketball Association and United States Basketball League and also played overseas. Following his basketball career, Williams and his family ran a care facility for mentally challenged adults in Katy.

Soccer player turns pro Sebastien Ibeagha, a Fort Bend Hightower Hurricane standout (2010) signed a two-year contract to play professional soccer with AC Horsens in Denmark. Ibeagha played collegiately at Duke and started all 70 games he played, scoring eight goals and adding three assists. Prior to attending Duke, the 22-year-old Ibeagha was a member of the Houston Dynamo’s academy. He is the brother of former Duke defender Christian Ibeagha, who plays for the Bohemians in the Czech Republic. “I left Duke to look for the place I could develop most as a player, and I chose Danish football, where more Americans have done well,” Ibeagha said.

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DEFENDER | MARCH 13 | 2014

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For Event Coverage...visit

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Troopers Cleveland Burrell and James Shotwell and Sgt. Major James Williams

Cleverly Stone, Charmane Carter, Dr. Rhea Lawson and Denise Bates

Brian Stevens, Matt Rogers and George Johnson

chag’splace

Brigadier Generals Ural Glanville and Brian Newby and Captain Benes Aldana

Phyllis Bailey, Cynthia King, Kysha Reid and Laura Berryhill

Captain Paul Matthews and singer Gene Chandler

Sharon Owens, Muriel Funches, Merele Yarbrough, Angela Lee and Donna Cole

Al Scarbrough and Rene’ Hightire

BUFFALO SOLDIERS NATIONAL MUSEUM…..The Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, attorney 14th annual gala honoring military judge advocate generals Albert Ratliff, Joe Semien, Jorge Franz, Judge Zinetta was hosted by the organization recently. This year’s Burney, Constable May Walker and the oldest living honorees included Brigadier Generals Black recipient of the Medal of Honor, Ural D. Glanville and Brian C. Newby Clarence Sasser. Congratulations!..... Join Yvette Chargois and Captain Benes Z. Aldana. Other FOX TV NEWS…..A meet-and-greet special guests were keynote speaker luncheon was hosted by Phyllis Bailey, Events of the Week More photos on defendernetwork.com Travis J. Sales, partner with Baker Botts president/CEO 3B Resources Group LLP; Lisa M. Tatum, president of the Public Relations for Kysha Reid, news See Events on KTRK Ch.13’s Crossroads with Melanie Lawson Sunday Morning @ 11 a.m. Texas Bar Association, and the one and executive producer/newsroom manager only, “Duke of Earl” Gene Chandler, for Fox TV News. Prior to joining Fox who sang the national anthem. Students TV, she lived in several cities, traveled from Langham Creek High School saluted our POWs/ the world and worked as a journalist for CNN. During her time at CNN, Kysha earned several Peabody awards for MIAs with a heartfelt presentation. Other program her work covering the 2008 presidential elections and the participants included Captain Paul Matthews, founder 2010 gulf oil spill. In addition to television, she worked as of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum; Mildred Tate, a national/international television news producer, reality president of the board of directors, and Wayne DeHart, TV show script developer, event planner and book and resident artist who sang the Buffalo Soldier’s song. The script copy-editor. Her education at Kent State University gala was held at the Bayou Center Event Center and was and years of on-air and management experience have attended by over 600 folks including Congresswoman

Chef Joseph and Debra Anderson

perfectly groomed her to be a journalist and newsroom leader. Several of Houston’s leading ladies attended the luncheon and included Muriel Funches, Donna Cole, Rhea Lawson, Merele Yarbrough, Charmane Carter, Denise Bates, Angela Lee, Cynthia King, Laura Berryhill and Cleverly Stone. The event was held at the beautiful La Maison in Midtown owned by Sharon Owens and Genora Boykins. Welcome to H-Town!.....THE POWER CENTER…..Hundreds of Houstonians strolled into the Power Center for its annual customer appreciation open house. To showcase the facility and all its splendor, attendees were able to visit various venue set-ups and see just how your next event can be planned. They offer professional event planning and consulting, five-star dining, elegant interior, 20,000 square feet of pre-function and meeting space, a newly renovated exterior, free parking and much more. Contact them at 713-723-6837 or visit their website at salesandcatering@thepowercenter houston.com. Fabulous event!.....From Chag’s Place to your place, have a blessed week!

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