KATRINA’S AFTERMATH A year later,, the Gulf Coast's recovery is still agonizingly slow Editorials/4A Johnson C. Smith’s Golden Bulls, fresh off their first win since 2003, will go for their second victory in a row Saturday against Glenville (WV) Slate, Caucus looks to expand power Members in line for leadership if Democrats win House tnajority By Hazel Trice Edney NATONAL NEWSPAPER PUeUSHERS ASSOCIAVON WASfflNGTON - For years, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have introduced key eco nomic, civil rights, criminal justice and health care bills that have been dis cussed at length at CBC Annual Legislative Weekends rather than on the House or Senate floors. . The racial profiling, reparations and felony disenfranchisement bills of Rep. John Conyers (D- Mich.); the predatory lending bill of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C); the mandatory minimrun sentence bill of Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Calif); the miTiimuTn wage bill of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and the health care disparities and anti-AIDS bills of Donna Please see CAUCUS/3A Gantt Watt PHOTOiCUFITIS WILSON Doug Jones is among a growing number of middle-class professional African Americans who are buying into Charlotte’s inner city neighborhoods. Taking a bite from urban core Still-affordable real estate and upscale amenities are attracting middle-class African Americans to inner city Merged advocacy groups speak with one voice for education A task force on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are betting a bi^er advocacy group is better. The task force announced the formation Tiiesday of Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education, a merger of four nonprofit groups. Charlotte Advocates for Education, the Education Program of the Charlotte Chamber of [ Commerce, Charlotte- Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation and the task force. “This merger is very impor tant to continuing improvement in our schools,” said Cathy Bessant, co-chair of the citizens task I force with Harvey Gantt. “The work of the CMS Task Force and that of other committed citizens in the community is converging and givirg rise to a new force in the education arena.” James Woodward, chancel lor emeritus at UNC Charlotte and chair man of the merged board of directors, said the commission wiU be a “critical fiiend” to CMS by pushii^ for accoimtability and charge. “In order to be successful, you have to look for partnerships, you have to look for com mon ground. That’s what I intend to do as board chair. TOIl he have some disagree ments? Sure, we’U have some disagree ments. But I fully expect there will be more Please see SCHOOL/2A Woodward By Herbert L. White hert:>.vvh/fe®/hechar;otteposf.com Docg Jones loves McCrorey Heights. The neighborhood is within walkirg distance of center city and the homes are affordable. The nei^ibors are fiiendly and accomodating. “The peofde are just unbe lievable,” said Jones, a real estate broker who moved to Charlotte from Washington, •D.C., seven years ago. “It reminds me of the neighbor hood I grew up in.” Middle-class Afiican Americans are bringing new life to inner city communities once threatened with ectinc- tion or neglect. Whether they’re rdiabilitating bunga lows or moving into new con dos, black Charlotteans are taking advantage of some of the b^ land buys in the city “We’re finding a lot of black buppies sayir^ We don’t want • to move out to the suburbs, I want to be able to walk to work or the (Carolina) Panthers game or the (Charlotte) Please see TAKING/3A Urban League chief Madine Fails calls it a career Over 20-year career, she boosted jobs programs, new giving for nonprofit agency By Herbert L. White Oerb.'An(Fe®)hechof(otteposf.com After 20 years, the Urban League of the Central Carofinas will have a new leader. Madine Fails, president and CEO of the Urban League since 1986, has resigned. Her last day was Wednesday “After 20 years, it’s just time for a change,” she said. Fails’ tenure includes the addition of jobs programs for the underemployed and unem ployed, as well as a $2.3 million capital campaign to build a new headquarters uptown. “There’s a lot to be done,” she said. “The only thing Ive done, hopefifily is change some lives for the better.” Gene Buccelli has been named interim president until a successor is found. Fails said she hasn’t decided on what she’ll do next, or even if she’ll remain in Charlotte. “I’m not sure,” she said. “I’m unsure about a lot of fhit^.” The nert director will inherit major, challenges, Fails said. including maintainii^ cor porate and community sup port for its programs as well as advocatir^ for economic growth. “I don’t think the mission is going to change,” she said. “Somebody’s stQl going to have to advocate for peo ple who haven’t gotten a fife chance yet.” thebox NEWS, NOTES & TEffiNDS For families of autistic kids, a place of comfort By Herbert L. White herb. v\ri/fe®Jhecr)ar/o freposf.com Mariame BoujlLl’s days are full tak ing care of her son, Zachary His autism makes them more chal lenging. Boujlil, foimder of World Alliance for Families and Children, learned about Zachary’s ailment last year. Autism has no cure and 1 in 166 U. S. children - mostly boys - develop it. Zachary has difficulty communicating, is dis tant to physical contact and attracted to touchir^ objects. Caring for him is physically and mentally demanding, Boujlil said. ‘When you deal with a child with autism, it’s like dealing with three , Please see HELP/2A Preseason finale more than dress rehearsal for many of youngest Panihers/Page 1C INSiDf Life IB Religion 4B Sports 1C Business 6C A&E1D Classified 3D naoF^ .1- iijjiiMi s'griTSTlSfsSW Recycle To subscribe, call (704) 376-0496 or FAX (704) 342-2160.© 2006 The Chat1.otte Post Publishing Co.