Democrat Terri Sewell is leaving her competitors behind, when it comes to fundraising for her campaign to take Artur Davis’ open state senate seat. She has to date raised more than $688,000 all from individual donors which far surpasses anyone else in the race.

The Salvation Army recently celebrated reaching its fundraising goal of $11 million for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Phoenix Mountain. The money raised will bring more than 400 jobs to South Phoenix, about 195 of which will be completely new created positions.

The Compton Unified School District kicked off its second installment of a 50 million Pound Challenge last week. The program splits staff into five-member teams, and the top three teams who lose the most weight receive cash prizes. The purpose is to encourage healthy eating habits and lifestyles all around, but the CEO of Dickerson Employee Benefits, Tony Lee, who puts up the prize money said, “If we can just cut (the rate of) diabetes and high blood pressure and some of these other costly diseases (among district staffers), we can cut our health care costs by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars.”

A bill has already passed a second vote in the state senate, and if approved in the House will became a law and give parolees the right to vote. People who are on probation already have that right. Some Republicans are arguing that this bill is only an attempt to reel in more Democratic votes, but Democratic leaders and advocates of the bill claim that these parolees live and work in the community and therefore pay taxes; they should be able to vote on the taxes they pay.

Delaware State University will be holding a youth summit next month primarily for the students of Dover High School, but it will be free and open the public. The summit will be hosted by motivational speaker Darrell Andress and will discuss the importance of education, business and health.

District of Columbia
The National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Post Office will hold their Stamp Out Hunger Campaign on May 8. The two organizations are urging the public to put canned goods out by their mailboxes on May 8, and the postal workers will pick them up when, they deliver the mail and take them to the post office for later distribution to food banks to help families that do not have enough to eat.

Tarpon Spring recently elected its first African American mayor, David O. Archie. “After talking to a lot of residents who urged me to do it, I felt I could do a good job,” Archie said. “I believe my experience and knowledge from being on (city) commission and trying to be objective and analytical in terms of looking at data, I can make Tarpon a stronger and better place to live.”

The Georgia NAACP has sued the state on the grounds that it allegedly and intentionally under-funded its three public Black colleges–Savannah, Albany, and Fort Valley state universities. The Civil Rights organization claims that the state’s actions have systematically barred the schools from creating programs that up to par with their mainstream counterparts, and the Legal Defense Coalition for the Preservation of Public HBCUs is claiming that by taking such actions, they have violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment.

The mayor of Washington Park, John Thornton, was recently found murdered in his car. Reports say he was shot twice in the chest at close range. It is believed that the incident was a robbery attempt. According Washington Park Police Dectective Kim McAfee, Thornton was patrolling the area, when he picked up someone on the side of the road. That person, who reportedly then fled to a red Chevrolet getaway vehicle, is the main suspect. Thornton’s car was found smashed into a tree in the park.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Environmental Defense Fund are forming a partnership to increase the number of environmental leaders in communities of color and on college campuses. The program will teach students and members of the community about climate change, environmental justice and encourage them into taking steps towards working in green jobs.

While the homicide rates area dropping all over the country, unfortunately that is not the case in Louisiana. Reports by the state’s Bureau of Justice showed that homicides rates are 20 percent higher than they were this time last year in New Orleans. Because the city usually sees a significant increase in violent crime over the summer, the department is trying to prepare and combat that by requesting additional funding so officers can work 12-hour shifts.

Recently, 88 Maryland high school seniors were awarded with $1,000 scholarships from the Comcast Foundation for their exemplary leadership skills, academic achievement, and community service. Madiha Qutab and Courtney Battle showed the highest level of achievement and were each given an additional $5,000.

An entire family had a run in with the Boston Police recently and the community is outraged. Tabrina St. Cyere, 12, was getting picked up from school by her family (which consisted of an older sister, brother and cousin), and when two police present told them to stay off of school property, they complied. When they saw Tabrina, the teens began walking toward her. According to the youth, when they did that, the police allegedly jumped on the older sister and began manhandling her so badly that her brother attempted to intervene. Both they and the female cousin were placed under arrest for trespassing. When the teens tried to explain, additional charges of resisting arrest and assault and battery on an officer were added. Later at the jail, the officers apologized and said they would drop the charges but the district attorney wouldn’t allow it. Now all of the youngsters are on pre-trial probation, have arrest records for crimes they claim they didn’t commit, and must go three months without additional contact with law enforcement officials in order to have all charges dropped.

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, who was appointed by the governor to turn the distrcit around, is receiving considerable heat, after he made a decision to end all evening classes, summer school and to lay-off more than 2,000 teachers. Many parents feel the decision is an intentional retaliation after their lobbying caused him to be barred from his original plan of closing 45 schools without consulting the school board.

The state is celebrating Black baseball as the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball approaches. Additionally, in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, a display has been put on in St. Paul which highlights Black baseball in Minnesota, the Negro Leagues and Black players who were a part of the Twins’ team.

The Burns-Belfry Heritage Cultural Center is the oldest African American structure in Oxford, and the community is trying to preserve it by holding a concert at the Gertrude Ford Performing Arts Center. Featured choirs were the Mississippi Mass Choir. F@VoR3D (Favored) the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir and a local community compilation choir.

The city of St. Louis is pushing hard for community members to participate in National Infant Immunization Week and is urging parents to their children all of the necessary vaccinations. In recent years, the increase in immunizations had drastically decreased the outbreak of once common infectious diseases. Many health facilities in the area will be doing the vaccinations free of charge.

New Jersey
In honor of National Poetry Month, Elijah B. Pringle III will host a slam (poetry competition) Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Frenchtwon, and the events are free and open to the public.

New York
Miguel Antoinne is the only Black male menswear designer whose designs made it into Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year, and he is one of only three African Americans to have been selected in the last decade. He has already begun to design for celebrities such as Trey Songz and Marlon Wayans, and is receiving much praise for introducing a well-tailored menswear line that stands out from the rest, especially because it comes from an African American designer.

North Carolina
Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton recently spoke at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro about their ordeal with mistaken identity and the flawed justice system. Cotton spent 11 years in prison for the rape of Thompson, a crime which he did not commit. The actual attacker Bobby Poole–who a resembled Cotton and was also in the same prison for an unrelated crime–bragged about Cotton serving for his crime. This caused Cotton to do all he could to prove his innocence, and after he was approved for DNA testing, Cotton was able to prove his innocence.

Major League Baseball is honoring Americans who have defied the odds and still managed to become successful–Willie Mays, Harry Belafonte and Billie Jean King will all receive the MLB Beacon Award during the 2010 Gillette Civil Rights Game Weekend, which pays tribute to individuals who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans.

Much skepticism is arising with the introduction of Portland Public School Superintendent Carole Smith’s new high school plan, which would turn the three high schools on the Marshall campus into one school. Students will be chosen by lottery to attend, and the rest of pupils will go to other nearby comprehensive high schools. Additionally, 11th and 12th grade students will have a choice of spending half of their time at a trade school.

Pittsburg High School students hosted an inaugural award ceremony to showcase members of the East Bay National Society of Black Engineers Jr. chapter, who have spent the last 20 Saturdays designing and building a robot. The ceremony gave them the opportunity to show off the robot and receive praises for their efforts which helped them win first place in the regional competition of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Family Life Center has changed its name to OpenDoors. The purpose of the non-profit organization is to help reinforce communities by bringing those families, who have had a member of the family incarcerated, back together. The program gives opportunities in education, job training and housing to help them get back on their feet and hopefully reduce the rates of recidivism.

South Carolina
Census workers are headed to the streets of Beaufort County to get responses from households that haven’t returned their census forms. Their average response rate was below the national average and lives up to its label as a “hard-to-count” area. “The typical, hard-to-count areas would include areas with a large number of young African-American males; with a large number of people of Hispanic descent; a rural area or an area where the education level is below average,” said Terry Plumb, spokesman for the Charlotte Regional Census Center.

Fisk and Vanderbilt universities have created the Bridge Program, which serves to help students who have earned their masters degrees at the historically Black Fisk, go further and obtain their Ph.D.s from Vanderbilt. Fisk, sits right next to Vanderbilt and grants more terminal master’s degrees (the highest degree available in a particular field) for Black students than any other United States institution. With the top-rate doctorate programs Vanderbilt offers, it made sense to bridge the two and give Fisk students the opportunity to obtain the highest degree available in their chosen fields.

Reports say that neo-soul artist Erykah Badu claims she still hasn’t received a citation from her nude “Window Seat” video shoot down a heavily populated Dallas street. Allegedly a woman complained after she and her two children were “distressed” by the incident and Badu was supposedly fined $500 but nothing has come of it yet. Badu said, “All I know is the Dallas Chief of Police went to the record store last week and bought my album.”

The UniverSoul Circus has begun its nationwide tour with its new show “We Play Too Much” and has touched down in Virginia this week at the Military Circle Mall .The circus will also honor the U.S military with a color presenting ceremony, as part of the festivities. Tickets range from $10 and $27.

The Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization (MMPNO), which has provided men and women nursing students of African heritage with scholarships for more than 50 years, hosted its annual scholarship luncheon recently at the Spirit of Washington Event Center.

West Virginia
Community members, parents and students are looking forward to the completion of a middle school to serve the East side of Fairmont and the finishing of renovations to the existing Fairmont Senior High School. Overcrowding on the East side had been an ongoing issue for years, and the School Building Authority finally accommodated the need for more space by approving $30 million to complete the two projects.

Many parents and community leaders have made plans to attend a unity event that will be held to welcome new Milwaukee Superintendent of Schools Gregory Thornton. The event will be held May 1 at the John Marshall Academic Campus where Thornton will give a keynote address.

OW Intern Solomon Alison also contributed to this content.