Source Click on the title to read the article at its original source.
31 Dec  
Herald staff pick DuPage Co.'s top stories of 2009
  • "The most recent talk of West Chicago Community High School District 94 merging with its three elementary feeder districts was silenced in March when a consultant advised against consolidation."
  • "Robert Maday's 26-hour bid for freedom ended Sept. 18 after an eagle-eyed West Chicago police officer nabbed the fugitive, wanted after he overpowered two Cook County state's attorney investigators during a Rolling Meadows court appearance on bank robbery charges."
  • "There was never any hard evidence to support their claims, but several DuPage residents said they spotted cougars running wild - first in some Wheaton parks and later near the DuPage Airport in West Chicago..."
Solution to killer superbug found in Norway
"Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians also were losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway’s public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics."
Watch Nights religious alternative for New Year's Eve
"Many believers across the Springfield area will greet 2010 with music, testimony and prayer at Watch Night services. Some see such services as a head-on alternative to the ribaldry of New Year's Eve. Most agree that New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to offer up thankfulness and reflect on the hopes and dreams of the year to come."
Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday
"Although media accounts sometimes make it seem like the General Assembly passed only one law last year (to prohibit texting while driving), lawmakers were quite prolific, passing hundreds of pieces of legislation.  Some of them, like the state budget that critics contend isn’t a budget at all, went into effect months ago. Others, like new restrictions on campaign contributions, won’t take effect for months to come. But more than 270 new laws will go into effect at midnight Friday, New Year’s Day."
Former Blagojevich officials fined for ethics violations
"The Illinois Executive Ethics Commission has levied fines against several former officials accused of ethical lapses under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  Abigail Ottenhoff and Rebecca Rausch, both former spokeswomen for Blagojevich, were fined $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, for preparing a press release issued in February 2007 that touted Barack Obama as a candidate for president."
Quinn: Secret release of prisoners ‘big mistake’
"“This was a big mistake and I am very disappointed that this occurred. I think it was an error in judgment,” Quinn said.  The Democrat said he did not know about the practice until he read the AP account, contradicting his statement two weeks earlier that he was aware of it and that it was well-publicized.  Randle took responsibility for not following the governor’s orders to keep violent offenders out of any early release program."
Blue moon on New Year's Eve: Satanic or benign? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Medieval Christians used the moon to identify the correct date for Easter, said McNamee, who's based in Tucson.  Each month was supposed to have just one full moon, so the Christians called a second one "belew" -- Middle English for "false" or "betrayer," McNamee said.  "It was like Satan was trying to trick you so you can't celebrate the real date of Christ's Resurrection," he said."
Health Interests Spend $600 Million to Sway Congress - AFL-CIO
" The S&P index of six managed-care insurers has risen 34 percent this year. Cigna Corp. of Philadelphia, up 120 percent, and Coventry Health Care Inc. of Bethesda, Maryland, up 69 percent, have led the advance. The index has jumped 12 percent since Dec. 9, when Senate Democrats dropped a proposal for a government-run plan to compete with private insurers... Drug companies have gained 16 percent this year, as measured by the by S&P Pharmaceutical Index. New York-based Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, rose 5.5 percent."
Why Did the Bush Administration Send Hardcore Terrorists Back to Al-Qaida? - CounterTerrorism Blog
"That's correct: the U.S. military repeatedly warned the Bush administration in advance that almost half of the former Saudi Gitmo detainees who have rejoined Al-Qaida continued to represent active threats to the United States--and yet they were released anyway, evidently for political reasons. There are serious questions here that must be immediately addressed by those within the former Bush administration responsible for this inept decision-making process."

30 Dec

Probe continues into high school obstacle course accident
"The student, who was wearing a safety harness, was supposed to attach the harness to the end of a rope so she could be gently lowered to the ground with the help of another student.  Ponce said officials don't know what caused the girl to plummet to the hard-rubber floor.  "We're investigating to determine exactly what happened," Ponce said. "I just don't know how she fell. We're still gathering information on that.""
Kline Creek Farm is Stuffin' and Smokin'
"Visit the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago on Jan. 9 and 10 for “Stuffin’ and Smokin’” to experience sausage making from start to finish. Demonstrations begin in the farm’s summer kitchen at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m."
Sheriff Zaruba Reminds Citizens Think Before You Drink and Drive
"Sheriff John Zaruba would like to remind residents that his office is actively conducting an intoxicated driving enforcement campaign for the upcoming holiday focusing on the most deadly time of day for motor vehicle fatalities, the evening.  This late-night enforcement effort will focus on impaired drivers and safety belt violators."
State’s can't pay bills, schools left holding bag
"So while the state has paid most of the GSA, it has paid next to nothing of the amount due for the categorical grants — most of which are mandated by the state. The state's inability to pay its bills will have a devastating effect on education in District 308.  Prior to the district's budget being approved by the Board of Education, the state of Illinois notifies the district of how much funding it will provide to cover the categorical grants. Then the district's budget is built around that promised agreement."
Quinn to end controversial early-release program
"The state now will require all prisoners serve at least 61 days before they can earn such credit, the governor said at a news conference in Chicago. The Illinois Department of Corrections also will provide prosecutors with at least 14 days notice before a prisoner can be released."
State panel could vote on Thomson in a week
"A state panel could vote Jan. 6 on the closure of a northwestern Illinois prison the Obama administration wants to buy to detain some of the terrorist suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability today announced that a second public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. next Wednesday at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. The news release indicated a vote could be taken that day."
State hunting, fishing fees to increase
"The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has suffered through several years of funding shortages. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich allowed John Filan, his budget director, to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from the DNR to fill funding shortfalls in other departments.  As a result, parks and outdoor facilities got fewer employees and less money for needed projects."
Interstate speed limits for truckers go up Friday
"The speed limit for big trucks on interstates outside Chicagoland goes up to 65 mph Friday — matching the speed limits for passenger vehicles — even though signs won’t say so right away.  It’ll take the Illinois Tollway a few days next week to change the region’s signs on interstates 90 and 88. And it will take the Illinois Department of Transportation up to two weeks to change signs, including those on I-39."
Public media to air gubernatorial debates in January
"The Republican debate, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, will be held at WILL-TV in Champaign-Urbana.  The Democratic debate, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, will be held at WSIU-TV in Carbondale."
State payment delays to persist in 2010; agencies frustrated
"“No organization can go on forever without being paid,” he said. “What’s going to happen is you’ll see situations in which human-service providers who don’t have a strong margin are going to be going out of business in the next several months. One of the reasons we’re so concerned is the people we all help will still have to go someplace.”  Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes last week all but ruled out any additional short-term borrowing to ease the state’s enormous backlog of unpaid bills."
Why I'm Running for the U.S. Senate - David Hoffman
"This is President Obama's Senate seat, and I have the experience, conviction, and toughness to keep it in Democratic hands. If elected, I will go to Washington and take on the insurance companies who are trying to block healthcare reform; Wall Street and the big banks that are fighting tougher regulation-- even after being bailed out with our tax money; and the oil and energy companies fighting against climate-change legislation."
Can Facebook, Capitol Hill be friends? Lawmakers learn social networking. - Washington Post
"What about responding to people's comments on your Facebook wall? "That is running, whereas I am more at the creeping stage," says Roskam, who as of late Tuesday had not updated his pages' walls with his own messages since early December."
[I think one of the thing Pete could do to improve his Facebook presence is to answer questions rather than "defriending" people for asking, like he did to me months ago. - Bob]
Birth Mother Ordered to Surrender Daughter to Ex-Partner - Assoc Press
" The case of the two women fighting over their daughter has attracted national attention, with judges in Vermont and Virginia at odds about whether a child can have two mothers.  Ms. Miller and Ms. Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. Isabella was born to Ms. Miller through artificial insemination in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Ms. Miller moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian."
WIN Looks Back At A Year Of Massive Jobs Loss As Workers And Unions Struggle For Change - Workers Independent News
"2009 saw the loss of millions of jobs as the Great Recession ravaged workers. The AFL-CIO urged a second stimulus focused like a laser on job creation. The House passed a $174 billion jobs bill and the Senate is expected to act in the New Year.  Labor pushed for health care reform with a public option, no tax on health benefits and an employer coverage mandate. We got far less than that."
Fox News advances falsehood that health bill will "bankrupt" country - Media Matters
"CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act incorporating the manager's amendment would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $130 billion over the 2010-2019 period."

29 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 29 Dec 2009
  • School Christmas Projects
  • New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Church Services.
  • New Year’s Wienie Roast Party
  • St. Andrew Lutheran Church Occupancy Permit
Voting law proceeding despite concerns
"The law mandates that voters be notified only if they have failed to vote for statewide constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and comptroller); however, only some voting equipment has the capability of differentiating between offices. Machines that cannot differentiate will beep for all office undervotes in order to catch the statewide constitutional office undervotes, said Mason County Clerk Bill Blessman."
Illinois logs 8,000 smoking complaints
"The more than 8,000 complaints this year compare with 5,200 filed in 2008.  Officials also say the complaints called in this year have been more legitimate, and there have been more fines. Sean McDermott of Cook County's health agency says inspectors who go out actually find people smoking more often."
ICC approves plan to buy power from wind farms
"The commission voted 3-1 to allow the Illinois Power Agency to negotiate the long-term deals with renewable power developers for up to 3.5 percent of the utilities' electricity needs.  But the commission also wants the Illinois Power Agency to meet with interested parties to discuss concerns that renewable energy contracts could drive consumers' electricity bills up."
Web sites offer building plans for Lincoln sites
"The site includes a reproduction of the Lincolns' two-room cabin, constructed on the original cabin site in 1935 as a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) project.  Much more difficult and time consuming, Blanchette said, are the old state Capitols in Springfield and Vandalia, which have a lot more than two rooms.  "They're rewarding, but prepare for a lot of time and cardstock," Blanchette said.  The Thomas Lincoln Home model measures 2 1/2 by 6 inches and requires two sheets of cardstock, while the Old State Capitol model's bigger 18 by 24 inches requires 41 sheets of cardstock."
RC2 Corp. to pay $1.25M for lead in toys
"The commission, which provisionally accepted the settlement, charged that RC2 Corp. of Oak Brook, and one of its subsidiaries, Learning Curve Brands Inc., knowingly imported and sold Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway toys that had “paints or other surface coatings” containing lead levels above 0.06 percent by weight. The toys were imported from China. That level violated a 1978 lead paint ban on toys.  “This failure created a risk of lead poisoning and adverse health effects to children,” the commission said in a statement."
Candidates in governor's race mostly accept evolution
"Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s answer could have come from several candidates. He called evolution “the best explanation” for the diversity of life on earth and added, “As a Catholic, I do not see any discrepancy between my acceptance of widely held scientific principles and my faith in God as the prime mover of the universe.”  Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, wasn’t quite so direct.  “I accept the theory of creation, as I was taught, and believe the world has continued to evolve since,” Brady said."
[Which is more troubling... that Brady doesn't think man evolved from ancient apes, or that he will not come right out and say it.  I suspect that Rep Fortner has some questions about gravity (that are well based on accepted science) and wouldn't try to hide it. - Bob]
GOP calls ad questioning candidate's sexual orientation 'bizarre,' 'repugnant'
"Top Illinois Republicans condemned a perennial candidate’s decision Monday to air a political ad questioning the sexual orientation of the party’s front-runner in the U.S. Senate race.  The Republican Party said it would no longer consider Andy Martin a legitimate candidate.  “His statements today are consistent with his history of bizarre behavior and often times hate-filled speech which has no place in the Illinois Republican Party,” said party chairman Pat Brady."
[Censoring their own crazies... what a healthy and admirable development in this era of radical extremist media driven birther/bagger/no-tax extremism. - Bob]
2009 – A Look Back and a Look Ahead
"While the former governor’s removal provided an unprecedented opportunity for change, most Republicans were disappointed that neither new Gov. Pat Quinn nor legislative Democrats took any steps to reverse the programs and policies put into place under Blagojevich. Even programs that directly led to the former Governor’s impeachment remain untouched nearly a year later.  As a result, the escalating deficit created by fiscal mismanagement, continuous expansion and creation of programs with no funds to support them, skyrocketing Medicaid costs and Illinois’ massive obligations to the state’s pension systems paint a bleak outlook for 2010."
Journalism major launches Christian magazine for young women - Florida Today
""REALITY Check Girl" is Christian-based, but not a "Christian" magazine, Roberti said. It features stories aimed at girls ages 15 to 25, covering topics from beauty to current affairs.  REALITY is an acronym for each of the magazine's sections -- Respect, Elegance, Ambition, Love, Intellect, Taste and Youthfulness."
Association Of Professional Flight Attendants Prepare For Possible Strike At American
"The preparation for a possible strike comes after more than 19 months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with management ... The union helped save American from bankruptcy in 2003, cutting pay and benefits by nearly 33 percent, according to the union. The airline responded by giving top executives multi-million dollar bonuses and salary increases."
Wall Street's 10 Greatest Lies of 2009 - AlterNet
"Yes, Obama inherited a big financial mess from the Bush administration – which inherited its set-up from the Clinton administration (financial recklessness, it turns out, is non-partisan) -- but he and his appointees have spent the year talking about fighting risk and excess on Wall Street, while both have grown."
Peddler charged with taping cops during his own arrest - Chicago Sun Times
"Officers informed him that the area was restricted for peddlers and asked him to stop peddling, as he also did not have a license to sell the art. Drew was taken into custody after telling officers he would not stop, according to the report.  Inside several pockets of the poncho officers found his items for sale and an Olympus digital voice recorder which was recording at the time of the incident without the consent of the responding officers, according to the report."

28 Dec

West Chicago Public Access Playback - Dec 28- Jan 3


6:00 PM City Council (12/21/09)
  7:00 PM Disney Magic Music Days
  9:00 PM Women in History
West Chicago teen lights up the holiday scene
"The high school junior created an elaborate holiday light display, taking every Christmas decoration in his parents' basement -- deer, Santas, snowmen, a Grinch and more -- and programming it all to blink in sync to holiday music, broadcast on his own low-frequency radio station, 101.3 FM."
[This guys website,, shows this house to be in Carol Stream. - Bob]
DuPage County hacked off by ComEd's tree management
"The County Board turned to state lawmakers earlier this month after being told ComEd could not continue future management of vegetation along the trails to a standard officials said was agreed to earlier this year.  In its 2010 state legislative agenda, the board said "excessive trimming of trees ... has resulted in the actual destruction of many trees." Some trees are "far distances from high-tension lines.""
Searching for Foster's trading card
"Whoa, all members? That means the scientist and a businessman from Geneva -- U.S. Rep. Bill Foster -- would be cemented in cardboard history with the likes of Honus Wagner, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan? Maybe it'll have Foster's autograph on it or a piece from one of his trademark blue shirts. The possibilities seemed endless."
Minnesota AG: Keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes
"Minnesota's attorney general is backing the effort to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, saying they threaten her state's commercial and recreational fishing industries.  Lori Swanson filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today supporting Michigan's request for an injunction to close a Chicago canal that connects Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River basin. The high court is expected to consider it Jan. 8."
Great Lakes water levels continue to rise
"The Detroit News reports today that the latest estimates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron system and Lake Superior are between 5 inches and 9 inches above levels from one year ago.  Statistics also show Lake St. Clair is 1 inch lower than last year, and Ontario is 3 inches lower."
Minnesota AG: Keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes
"Lori Swanson filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today supporting Michigan's request for an injunction to close a Chicago canal that connects Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River basin. The high court is expected to consider it Jan. 8... By last week, the states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had already joined in Michigan's lawsuit."
Men believed behind airplane plot were freed from Gitmo
"Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody"
[Hmmm... so George and his Saudi friends set them free to strike again? - Bob]
Bradley mulls offering computer game program
"Bradley University wants to get into the game — the computer game.  The computer game industry, so conspicuous during the holiday season with its countless TV commercials promoting new releases, is already a $9 billion business, said computer science professor Vladimir Uskov."
Governor candidates take stands on social issues
"Six of the seven Republican candidates call themselves “pro-life,” while the Democrats, Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes, support abortion rights. Only Hynes and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney support legalizing gay marriage... On the issue of abortion, DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom is the only Republican who calls himself “pro-choice” and supports abortion rights, although he does support a ban on partial-birth abortions and all abortions in the third trimester of pregnancy."
Treating sex partners for chlamydia, gonorrhea to get easier
""Men rarely have symptoms, so they think, 'I don't have anything, so I don't need to go,'" Cox said.  Illinois' new state law that allows the partners to receive infection-curing medicine without first being examined by a health professional will reduce STI transmission with minimal risk of allergic reactions, she said.  "This will really cut down the re-infection rate, and so I think it's a great thing," Cox said."

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park    Friday, 25 Dec 09





Rhode Island football field fight highlights church-state issues - Associated Press
"The dispute largely concerns O'Brien Field, which for years has been reserved for Saint Raphael football practices — even though it's located next to a public middle school that has asked to use it for soccer. The public school is given a field across the street. ...  As a concession, the city last year gave the public school O'Brien Field and had Saint Raphael practice on its game field across the street. But after that field sustained costly damage because of constant practices and games, the city reversed course this fall — angering parents who thought they had reached a resolution and prompting the lawsuit.
Yahoo Shuts Down Until January 1 To Cut Costs - Workers Independent News
In an attempt to cut costs, Yahoo plans to shut down operations starting December 25 and running until January 1. Workers who aren’t involved with “essential functions” will be asked to use vacation days during the week or take unpaid leave. Non-U.S. workers will be paid based on requirements under their respective governments. The company says customer service will remain open during the shut down."
Republicans Who Opposed The Stimulus Continue To Pan It As A ‘Failure,’ While Also Taking Credit For Its Success  - Think Progress
"Every Republican in the House and nearly every Republican Senator voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the stimulus). Although the Congressional Budget Office has credited the stimulus with creating up to 1.6 million jobs, the same GOP politicians who opposed the stimulus have attempted to justify their opposition to the policy by smearing it as a failure. But as ThinkProgress has documented, the same politicians are returning to their districts to take credit for the economic success of the stimulus."
25 Dec

North Pole - Pictured here with the ten flying frogs that pull his carriage on Christmas Eve (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolf and Olive (o/ Olive the other reindeer...o/)), the ancient elf is spending today self medicating at his summer place near Lancaster, PA.  - Bob

24 Dec  
St. Charles girl raises thousands to help kids with disabilities get bikes
""It'll be the best day of my life," Riley said. "They'll be so happy."  Riley raised more than $6,000 after writing a letter to about 75 people on her family's annual Christmas card list asking them for help.  The recipients of the special bicycles are a 15-year-old St. Charles girl with cerebral palsy, a 5-year-old Geneva girl with a rare genetic disorder, and a 3-year-old West Chicago child with spina bifida."
Officials says swine flu continues decline in Illinois.
" Swine flu is continuing to decline in Illinois, with officials reporting one new death from the virus.  Thursday's weekly update also includes 41 new hospitalizations related to swine flu.  Last week, in comparison, state officials were reporting two new deaths and 99 new hospitalizations.
Quinn to deliver cards to hospital in Germany
"Gov. Pat Quinn has traveled to a military hospital in Germany to deliver homemade holiday cards to wounded service members and their caregivers.  Quinn was scheduled to arrive Wednesday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center."
Russian church: Homosexuality is personal choice - Associated Press
"Patriarch Kirill said "those who sin" must not be punished and therefore the church opposes any discrimination. Same-sex unions, however, should not be considered equal to heterosexual marriages, he said.  "We accept all the choices a person makes — in terms of their sexuality as well," the patriarch said in comments carried by the state RIA Novosti news agency."
Report Uncovers No Voting Fraud by Acorn - NY Times
"A new report on the community group Acorn by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has found no evidence of fraudulent voting or of violations of federal financing rules by the group in the past five years... The report also stated that two conservative activists might have broken privacy laws in California and Maryland by posing as a prostitute and pimp while secretly videotaping Acorn staff members who gave them advice on evading taxes and hiding their activities. The two states “appear to ban” the recording of face-to-face conversations without the consent of all participants, the report said."
[OK, I challenged my Republican friends to find some support for their talking point... and they have had three months and have come up with nothing.  See Oct 29, Oct 5 and Oct6 in the archives.  From this point forward, references to Acorn fraud, even if from Peter Roskam or the 20% of Republicans who think Acorn stole the election for Obama, will cause a demand for an apology. - Bob]
Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won - NY Times
"“The simultaneous selling of securities to customers and shorting them because they believed they were going to default is the most cynical use of credit information that I have ever seen,” said Sylvain R. Raynes, an expert in structured finance at R & R Consulting in New York. “When you buy protection against an event that you have a hand in causing, you are buying fire insurance on someone else’s house and then committing arson.”"

23 Dec


Around and About in West Chicago - 23 Dec 2009

  • Special Services for Christmas 2009

  • Christmas Love Feast

  • DuPage County Crime Stoppers

  • School Mental Health Support Grant

DuPage County briefs - Deputies aid Special Olympics:
"DuPage sheriff's deputies raised $20,113 for Special Olympics this year, Sheriff John Zaruba announced Tuesday. Deputies raised the cash through activities during their off-duty hours. The money will be used to provide year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and enhance their physical fitness, motor skills, self confidence and social skills."
West Chicago School District 33 Awarded 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant
"West Chicago Elementary School District 33, in partnership with Breaking Free, West Chicago Police Department, West Chicago Park District, Northern Illinois University, Literacy DuPage, and Benedictine University, was awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant for West Chicago Middle School. The award is $150,000 a year for up to 5 years."
UI site puts pets in holiday spirit, without a fuss
"The College of Veterinary Medicine's teaching hospital is offering a web site,, where you can accessorize your dog, cat or gerbil to your heart's content.  And it's free."
Gov takes holiday cards to wounded soldiers
"Quinn was scheduled to arrive today at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  Servicemembers who get hurt abroad are typically treated and stabilized at the German facility before returning to the United States.  Quinn is taking cards made by Illinois students. He says he’s inspired by the work of the young people, who he said “understand what patriotism is all about.”"
5 new models of Lincoln sites available online
"More build-your-own models of Abraham Lincoln sites are available free online.  Earlier this year, the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission partnered with the Old State Capitol Foundation on the Build Your Own Lincoln Sites program. Currently, 10 sites are offered, including five new ones: Lincoln’s Springfield home and tomb, Beecher Hall in Jacksonville, the Shastid Cabin in Pittsfield and the Vandalia Statehouse... The pieces for the card-stock models, for which roughly a tenth of an inch equals one foot, can be printed from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s Web site:"
Government involvement in legal liability cases
"The state Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the legality of the caps on damage awards in medical malpractice cases that lawmakers established in 2005 to quell an uprising of doctors who claimed they were being financially ruined.  The outcome of the case could re-ignite another fight between very powerful interests over a complex issue: How much government involvement in legal liability cases is too much?"
State borrows $1 billion to pay out unemployment benefits
"The state of Illinois has been forced to borrow $1 billion from the federal government since mid-summer to help cover unemployment benefits, and some estimates are that the figure could go as high as $8 billion by 2012.  It is basic math resulting from a harsh recession. State figures show $4.1 billion in unemployment benefits were paid through the end of November, or nearly double the figure for all of 2008."
Deadly blast hits Iraq church in run-up to Christmas - AFP
""Christians are being targeted during Christmas time -- the security forces, police and army must provide security, the police and army are responsible for this," said Father Abdul Massih Dalmay of the church.  "Is the number of security forces not enough? There is negligence on the part of the security forces."  The attack was the sixth on Christians in Mosul in less than a month, and came after the army said it put its forces on alert in areas with significant Christian populations because of intelligence they could be attacked."
The Need to Help Labor Radio Survive - Stephen Crockett, Buzz Flash
"Corporate media has not given a real voice to labor leaders who represent the millions of American workers most heavily impacted by this issue. Right wing talk radio has distorted elements of the issue, the process and relevant facts beyond all recognition."

[Do you remember when Chicago Federation of Labor owned and operated WCFL? - Bob]

Tea Partier Calls C-SPAN, Worried His Prayers For Byrd To Die Got Inhofe Instead - TPM
""Our small tea bag group here in Waycross, we got our vigil together and took Dr. Coburn's instructions and prayed real hard that Sen. Byrd would either die or couldn't show up at the vote the other night," the caller said.  "How hard did you pray because I see one of our members was missing this morning. Did it backfire on us? One of our members died? How hard did you pray senator? Did you pray hard enough?" he continued, his voice breaking."
[See also Spoof or #prayerfail?, which speculates this is a spoof. - Bob]

22 Dec

Christmas Love Feast
"The First United Methodist Church and First Congregational Church invite the community to participate is a special service of word and song recounting the birth of Christ. Worship activities include serving hot chocolate, coffee, Moravian Love Buns and Moravian Ginger Cookies. The service will begin at 10:00 a.m. at 643 E. Washington St., West Chicago. There will be no Sunday School so that all the children can participate in this joyful worship service. For more information call 630-231-5049 or visit the website at"
Beatrice Lenertz
"Beatrice Lenertz, age 94, lifetime resident of West Chicago, passed away Sunday, December 20, 2009 in West Chicago. She was born in Lisle, Illinois on November 29, 1915 to Frank and Jennie Rieser. Beatrice worked as an assistant assessor for Winfiled Township and was a homemaker. She enjoyed bowling, playing cards, gardening, and an avid reader and was very active though out her life."
Lack of rescue equipment cited in Pheasant Run Resort pool drowning
"The suit alleges Pheasant Run had been cited by the DuPage County Health Department the previous three years for not having ring buoys and life hooks at the pool, and for five years for not having a flotation rope marking the beginning of the deep portion of the pool."
Hearing today on plan to bring terror detainees to Illinois
"The hearing from the state's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a panel that includes lawmakers from both chambers, will take place at the high school in nearby Sterling.  Lawmakers will hear from supporters of the plan, who include several elected officials from Thomson and nearby communities hoping for an infusion of jobs and economic development.  But protesters are also expected to attend the hearing to make the case that the Obama administration should not be bringing detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil."
Lawmaker puts tuition-waiver savings at $7 million
"Meanwhile, other representatives are renewing their calls to kill a program that allows Illinois' 177 legislators to issue up to eight years' worth of scholarships each year to any public university student in their district. The legislative scholarships drain about $16 million per year from university budgets, said state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville.  Under a separate state law, individuals who have worked for any of the state's public universities for seven or more years are eligible for a 50 percent reduction in their children's tuition costs."
Democrat wants Quinn's answers on prison release
"A veteran Democrat in the Illinois House is chiding Gov. Pat Quinn’s handling of disclosures about a secret prison policy change that resulted in the early release of more than 850 inmates.  Rep. Jack Franks of Woodstock said Monday that his fellow Democrat should call in his Corrections Department leadership for straight answers and explaining publicly who approved the early release program and why."
  Quinn appoints 3 board of education members
"In addition, Quinn named veteran State Board of Education member Joyce Karon to the P-20 Council. P-20 stands for “preschool through graduate school,” and the council is a key advisory panel that will make recommendations to Quinn about strengthening Illinois’ education system. It is also expected to play an instrumental role in the state’s quest to win approximately $400 million in federal “Race to the Top” discretionary funds."
'Tis the Season to Give to Others
"With thousands of worthwhile charities throughout the state, it’s not possible to provide a comprehensive list of the projects lawmakers and their staffs support. In addition, some Senators, like others, prefer to keep their contributions anonymous.  We’ve decided to highlight just a handful of examples of projects that are undertaken, in the hope that it will give people an idea of the many opportunities available."
Website rates retailers on "Christmas" friendliness - Denver Post
"Evangelical Christians are rating retailers naughty or nice. It's "Merry Christmas," not "Happy Holidays," that opens hearts and wallets, according to Christian media giant Focus on the Family, which is in the third year of its own "Stand for Christmas" campaign. Focus says the reason for the season — the birth of Jesus — should be reflected in store displays and found on the lips of sales clerks.  Yet retailers and many shoppers say attempts to include everyone and offend no one might be more in keeping with the spirit — if not the letter — of Christmas... And electronics giant Best Buy, rated "offensive" by 78 percent of Christian shoppers participating on the Focus site, had the country's third- favorite ad, according to the retailers survey. Best Buy's ads feature a choir of store employees caroling sales pitches to their customers."
Working More, Getting Paid Less - AFL-CIO
"Productivity rose 8.1 percent in the third quarter, the largest gain since 2003, as employers pile more on their staff. Meanwhile, pay is stagnating and worker stress increasing because of the larger workloads and the constant fear of being thrown out of a job to join the more than 15 million workers officially unemployed.  A Los Angeles Times story points to how rising productivity, while good for the economy, is not benefiting America’s workers."
[The original article is at Productivity rises as workers do more with less - LA Times. - Bob]
Santa May Run Out of Reinder: There are 60% Less of Them Today Primarily Due to Climate Change - Buzz Flash
"Looks like Santa's reindeer may be in trouble.  At least that's what biologist Mark Boyce, a professor from the University of Alberta in Canada, found out this past June when he completed the first global review on the species status with Ph.D student Liv Vors. Together, the pair found that in the past three decades reindeer and caribou have plunged nearly 60 percent. Much of this is due to climate change and habitat disturbance caused by humans..."
[Hmmm... could it be the oil corps and the global warming deniers who are really waging a war against Christmas? - Bob]

21 Dec

Board Briefs - District 33
"The regular meeting of the Board of Education was held on Thursday, December 17, 2009, beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Board Members in attendance: Julie Pearson, Brenda Vishanoff, Karla Bruce, Dave Barclay, Sue Stibal, Deborah Ramsey, Chris Scheck"

West Chicago
High School
Feeding Northwest Dosage Food Pantry at St. Mary’s -
"“The WeGo Beyond Committee is made up of staff that go beyond the classroom to get the school involved in the community,” said Assistant Principal – Student Services Gail Aronoff. “We sat down, and we asked ‘what does the community need?’ We know that there is a food crisis because people don’t have jobs and can’t afford food, so we then began to figure out ways to help the West Chicago St. Mary’s food pantry.”"
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Dec 21- Dec 27
"It's Christmas week on Channel 17. On Tuesday and Wednesday at 7PM, watch a brand new concert recorded at the West Chicago Public Library featuring the A Cappella Chamber Choir from Community High School. Those evenings will also be filled with classic Channel 17 Christmas programs.  Starting at 2PM on Christmas and Christmas Eve, tune in for Christmas programs featuring the Morman Tabernacle Choir as well as plenty of home-grown shows."
Hybrid Artist Melds Fine Art with Computer Graphics
"According to West Chicago artist Lois Easley, “Art is about risk taking and putting yourself out there. It’s like jumping off a building and enjoying the way down.” The exhibit entitled "Leaps & Longings," displayed throughout January 2010 at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, West Chicago, exemplifies the artist’s early career in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media pieces and her quest to embrace new technology and art forms."
Creating a new picture of West Chicago
"It was just four years ago that the city bought the old building in downtown West Chicago and offered the first floor for an artists' co-op, rent and utility free. Howard rounded up a dozen artists to see the space. Two weeks and many volunteer hours later, the gallery opened its doors.  Howard, 75, is an artist who does colored pencil drawings of animals and rural DuPage County scenes.  And for many years, she also has been a driving force in promoting the arts in West Chicago, for which she won a 2009 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council."
Illinois emerges as one of the country's leaders in wind energy
"After a series of tests, the Mendota Hills Wind Farm went online in November 2003. The project, which Gamesa later sold, has 63 windmills that produce 50.4 megawatts of electricity a year - enough to power between 11,000 and 15,000 homes.  Mendota Hills was an early test of wind power in a state that was not known as one of the windiest in the union.  "Wind energy adapts itself to regions," said Michael Peck, director of external relations for Gamesa USA. "This is what's going to happen throughout Illinois, and Mendota Hills is an example.""
Congressman fought pay grab -- over 125 years ago
"Take, for instance, the year 1873. That's when the two bodies' members not only voted themselves a 50 percent pay raise, but also applied the increase to the two years they had just served. In other words, they gave themselves a retroactive salary hike, from $5,000 to $7,500 annually, for each of the previous two years... And it was a circumstance that then-U.S. Rep. John Franklin Farnsworth of St. Charles had tried to prevent in the first place, in one of his last official acts representing a congress-ional district that included the Fox River Valley."
$30M loan covers water commission’s bills; spending problems still to be addressed
"The water commission buys water from Chicago and sells it to DuPage County communities for $1.48 per thousand gallons.  After the commission’s budget problems were announced, General Manager Robert Martin told reporters that commissioners would consider raising the cost of water to $2.21.  Commissioner Allan Poole, decrying the negative attention the 73-cent increase has brought, said Martin went too far discussing a specific rate increase. No commissioners have publicly endorsed such a plan."
[The Water Commission, a completely separate taxing body of which WC residents are not members, are now set to receive our tax money as a bailout.  This is NOT FAIR. - Bob]
Michigan files lawsuit to stop Asian carp
"Cox's suit names the state of Illinois, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the locks and dams, has spoken publically about closing them in the hopes of saving the region's $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry."
UI students offer designs on Safe Haven's future
"If the city allowed Safe Haven to construct shelters that don't meet minimum housing standards, officials would have a hard time cracking down on slumlords or saying no to an employer who might want to set up a similar camp for migrant workers, he said.  "Those rules weren't put in place because we had people living by the country club who didn't have indoor plumbing," Bruno said. "Those minimal housing standards ... were imposed to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.""
Lawmakers back hiking ethanol-gas blends
""There has been no evidence to demonstrate that the switch to the E-l5 blend will cause damage to vehicles, regardless of the vintage. Further, changing to a higher-level ethanol blend has the potential to create an additional 136,000 U.S. jobs while also cutting greenhouse gases," Schock said.  Higher ethanol blends would reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, increase the price farmers get for their crops and reduce the price of gasoline, Schock said."
6,100 offenders have Breathalyzers installed in cars
"“If we put them in for first offenders, maybe they won’t become second-time offenders.”  The device requires a driver to blow into it before the car can be started. The legal BAC limit in Illinois is 0.08; the device is set to not allow ignition to start at 0.05.  It also does periodic testing while an individual is driving, preventing someone else from blowing into the machine to get the vehicle started."
Comcast upgrade speeds up Internet in central Illinois
"The company has been upgrading its Internet speeds nationwide and now has reached about 65 percent of its markets.  Ruggerio said existing customers who have six megabytes of download speed would automatically go to 10 MBs, those at 10 would go to 16.  As part of the residential upgrades, the company also introduced an “extreme” upgrade to 50 MBs for a basic prices of $99.95 a month and an “ultra” package of up to 22 MBs for $62.95 a month.  A business version is scheduled for introduction in January at a cost of $189.95 a month.""
[Readers are reminded that "Computer Speed" link in the right column allows you to check your current speed.   I am currently at 12Mbs down and 3.5 Mbs up. - Bob]
Quinn welcomes visitors to mansion
"The open house marked the first time in six years the mansion was opened to the public for a holiday celebration, said curator David Bourland.  The governor arrived about 5:30 p.m. and shook hands with visitors for about an hour. Quinn said he believes the end-of-the-year open house provided him an opportunity to show  Springfield that the state has changed much since former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was ousted in January."
The Republicans' High-Speed Rail Dissonance
"And just this summer, Reps. Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam voted in favor of an amendment that would have stripped the high-speed rail money from the omnibus bill entirely. Apparently, these Republicans now agree that, as long as the money is going out, it might as well come to the Land of Lincoln.  The Illinois GOP delegation's enthusiastic support also stands in stark contrast with the skepticism expressed by numerous Republican gubernatorial candidates earlier this week."
Talk Radio
News Service
Senate Democrats Fed Up With GOP Gamesmanship On Defense Bill
"All I know is that 60 Democrats along with three Republicans decided that the welfare of our military forces was more important than legislative gamesmanship, with respect to health care and other issues,” said Reed.  The Senators also expressed their great displeasure when Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) motioned for unanimous consent to proceed to the bill where consent was denied."
[The flip side of this is that 30 Republicans attempted to filibuster a Defense Appropriations Bill.  Where/when will the games end? - Bob]
Report: Loopholes allow for large CEO salaries - Charlotte Observer
"Loopholes and understaffing are allowing nonprofits to pay almost any salary despite federal law which prohibits charities from awarding large compensation, a newspaper reported Sunday.  The Charlotte Observer reported that its investigation showed that a nonprofit in Cornelius set up to help people in debt paid its chief executive more than $5 million - nearly all it had.  An Anson County charity that worked to keep troubled children in school paid its leader about $300,000 a year, roughly twice as much as the local superintendent of schools." Falsely Claimed CBO Said "Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits" - Media Matters
"A headline posted on falsely claimed, "CBO: Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the bill would reduce federal deficits by $132 billion over 2010-2019 and would continue to reduce deficits in subsequent decades."

18 Dec

District 33 Awarded 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant
  • District 33 Awarded 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant
  • District 33 Awarded School Mental Health Support Grant
  • Turner School Wins $750 Exxon/Mobile Grant
Forest preserve candidates spar over spending
""We are, first and foremost, a conservation agency and I am dedicated to keeping our focus on protecting, preserving, restoring and restocking the land," Kotecki said... Murphy says instead of "building an empire," the forest preserve district needs to try harder to meet the needs of "Joe Average Taxpayer."  "We've got over 27,000 acres of forest preserve, but we don't have a lot of access points, there are not a lot of trails," Murphy said. "Forest preserves need to be there for the people to use."
Creating a new picture of West Chicago
"Instead, the pounding was another indication of all the good things going on in West Chicago's arts community,  The lower level of Gallery 200, an artists' co-op at 200 Main St., is being remodeled to provide more space for artist workshops, classes and special events."
St. Charles Halloween party-crasher convicted of resisting arrest
"Felix-Moreno was arrested around 6 p.m. Oct. 31 after he wandered uninvited into the living room of a family he did not know on the 1600 block of Indiana Street, police have said. After inexplicably standing in the apartment for several minutes without speaking, Felix-Moreno was lured out the door with a beer by one of the residents, according to police. Outside, he grabbed a responding officer by the throat and choked him, causing minor injuries."
West Chicago man guilty of slamming baby into furniture
"A former Huntley man now living in West Chicago faces up to 30 years in prison after a judge Thursday afternoon found him guilty of allegations he intentionally slammed his 11-week-old son into a home entertainment center, leaving the boy with possible permanent brain damage."
DuPage 911: Cost, other questions remain
"Fewer than two years later, Motorola was granted a $6.6 million change order, with approval from State's Attorney Joe Birkett's office, to add capacity when the system plans drew unexpected interest among police and fire departments in the county.  Longtime ETSB member Brad Bloom, Hinsdale police chief, said last week that other unanticipated expenses had led to a projected final price tag of about $48 million."
Turner School Wins $750 ExxonMobil Grant
"The grant was written by Mike Khetarpal, owner of West Chicago Mobil, 219 S. Neltnor Blvd., West Chicago. Funded by the ExxonMobil Corporation, the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program is designed to provide Exxon retailers the opportunity to invest in the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools."
Employee buyouts mentioned as one way to cut UI spending
"Earlier this month, campus units were told to make contingency plans for spending reductions of 7 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent, and the plans came due Wednesday.
Advertisement Champaign-Urbana. Find out what's happening.  Twenty-four hours later, it was too soon to talk specifics about what was proposed, administrators said, but certain terms keep coming up, including "buyouts.""
State gets $9.1M for insuring more children
"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that Illinois is one of nine states receiving the bonuses for increasing health-insurance coverage for children.  Illinois boosted Medicaid enrollment by 115,000 children this year...
Gov. Pat Quinn said the money Illinois receives will support the state budget and help Illinois make sure more children have access to health care."
GOP governor hopefuls cautious on 'fumigation' of past appointees
"One of the seven Republicans running to win the governor’s office back in 2010 after eight years under Democrats supports the idea of immediately “fumigating” state government of hundreds of high-ranking appointees.  “Absolutely, I’d fumigate ’em,” said state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington. “Our party has a chance to brand itself in this election … as the anti-corruption, ethical party, the anti-tax, taxpayer party. … These are political appointees by corrupt people.”"
[Hmmm.... would he go back and include the Republican appointees of felon George Ryan?  If so, I'm with him. - Bob]
Two Democrats drop out of race for Illinois governor
"The State Board of Elections reported on its Web site Thursday that Chicago businessman William “Dock” Walls withdrew from the race.  The board also says Oak Park attorney Ed Scanlan has been removed from the ballot.  Their departure leaves Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes in the Feb. 2 Democratic primary race."
Lobbyist registration law to be challenged
"The lawsuit also argues exemptions for the media and religious groups discriminate against the other organizations. Both lawsuits further contend the state plans to unlawfully divert $200 from the fee to general expenses rather than spending the money on enforcement, and that the higher fees are beyond what is needed to enforce the law.  “Lobbying is a core, First Amendment activity to petition for redress of grievances,” said Schwartz, who added that the ACLU’s problems were not with the disclosure rules."
Quinn: Violent criminals weren't supposed to be let go
"Corrections Director Michael Randle’s office did not respond to questions about why early release was granted to people convicted of such crimes as domestic battery and weapons charges.  Randle, with Quinn chief of staff Jerome Stermer,has been ordered to review one of the programs, which Quinn suspended Sunday after The Associated Press reported an unpublicized policy change had allowed more than 850 inmates to be released after as little as two weeks behind bars."
Madigan: Thomson sale doesn't need legislature's OK
"Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the governor does not need approval from the General Assembly to sell a prison in Thomson to the federal government.  Madigan’s legal opinion Thursday says Gov. Pat Quinn merely needs to follow state law requiring proper public hearings before turning over the mostly empty prison."
Foster Urges You to Help Fight the Flu
"Congressman Foster taped the following public service announcement, urging Illinoisans to fight the flu.  For more information, visit"
[See the video HERE. - Bob]
Rep. Foster Continues to Reject Automatic Pay Raise for Members of Congress
"“With unemployment numbers hovering around 10 percent in the 14th District, and with families losing their homes and their health insurance far too often, Congress cannot in good conscience give itself a raise,” said Foster. “I was pleased to see that by working together with my colleagues in the House, we were able to block the Fiscal Year 2010 pay raise, and I hope we can continue this success by blocking the Fiscal Year 2011 pay raise as well.”"


IL-SEN: As Kirk Abandons Principles, He Gains Right-Wing Donors
"It's yet to be seen whether Rep. Mark Kirk's flip-flop on cap-and-trade will help or hurt him at the ballot box in 2010. What we do know is that the decision appears to be attracting major right-wing donors.  According to their latest FEC report, which was filed yesterday, Koch Industries PAC sent the Kirk for Senate campaign a $5,000 donation in November, the highest contribution allowed under federal law. What is Koch? It's an enormous oil and gas conglomerate that specializes in bankrolling right-wing lobbying efforts in D.C."
Sen. Radogno: Taxpayers Could Lose on Thompson Sale
"Taxpayers of Illinois have as much as $250 million invested in the Thomson Correctional Center – including land costs, construction costs and bond interest – which must be factored into any proposed sale... In addition to the original cost of construction, Illinois has paid $50 million in interest on the construction loan."
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 18 Dec 09
Why the "war on Christmas" is basically over. - Slate
Because the furor was media-driven in the first place, media mentions seem as good a metric as any. After 2005, Google Trends shows a continuous decline in searches for and mentions of the "war on Christmas." Media mentions of a "war on Christmas" have fallen steadily as well, according to Nexis: There were 431 articles mentioning it as of Dec. 17, 2006; 187 by that time in 2007; 155 in 2008; and 97 in 2009. Even Fox News, the network that pushed the story in the winter of 2005, has essentially stopped talking about it: At this time in 2005, Fox had aired 80 episodes explicitly referring to the "war on Christmas"; in 2006, there were 24; in 2007, 11; in 2008, five; and three so far this year."
Shuler to White House: Let’s Revive Manufacturing
"Shuler praised White House proposals on job training, aid to displaced workers, infrastructure investment and ending the tax incentives that lead corporations to ship jobs overseas. She made the point that the nation needs a strong re-commitment to leveling the playing field for America’s manufacturing industry by enforcing its trade agreements, providing access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses through unused bank bailout funds and stopping the unfair practice of currency manipulation."
Join and to give Walmart a Demerit Badge for this awful policy
"A November 2009 report from the National Labor Committee said that Walmart ignores guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control by punishing Associates who call in sick or take a day off to care for sick children.  According to a Nov. 2, 2009 New York Times article, Walmart managers and Associates have reported that Walmart has pressured them to work if they have H1N1 flu. Even if they could take sick leave, many can't afford to go to the doctor because of Walmart's failure to provide quality, affordable health care to their workers. The New York Times says that harmful sick leave policies like Walmart’s may “worsen [the] flu pandemic.” "

17 Dec

District 6 hopefuls ready to take over for 18-year board member
"Fuesting, a West Chicago alderman, said he definitely wants to keep up with Kurzawa's approach.  "I have been very much in keeping with our current board member's spirit of fighting against issues and things that are not in Winfield or District 6's best interests," he said. "There are great similarities in our passion for representing our district and seeing our district go in the right direction.""
DuPage chairman candidates weigh in on water commission
"Heads already would have rolled at the DuPage Water Commission if most of the four candidates for county board chairman in the GOP primary were in charge.  The four all said they are troubled by the commission's admission to accidentally spending $19 million of its reserves on operational costs over the past two years, which recently forced the agency to take out a $30 million loan."
Sickened by death of swan - James Tibensky, Wayne
"A swan has been living on Cornerstone Lake in West Chicago for the entire summer. Recently a Chicago Bird Collision Monitors team captured the swan because it seemed to be in distress. When examined, it proved to have been shot through the body. Some hours after being captured, it died."
State high court could rule on medical malpractice
"The General Assembly adopted caps in 2005 as a way to keep doctors from fleeing the state because of rising insurance rates.  It limited what victims could collect for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals."
[The next time some Republican partisan tells you that we need caps to fix Health Care, ask them how much insurance rates went down when they were passed in 2005. - Bob]
Candidates weigh in on state's role in economic recovery
  • How much of a role does state government and the governor play in Illinois' economic health? Why? 
  • Does state government have the right balance of taxes and tax breaks? Why or why not? 
  • Should businesses be paying more, less or the same in state taxes? Why? 
Mold latest challenge at state-owned resort
"The agency is soliciting proposals through mid-January for private operators to take over and run the resort.  The mold-related shutdown is the latest challenge for a property that was pitched as a world-class tourism draw for the state of Illinois when it opened in 1989 at a cost of nearly $18 million. The resort since has been through a series of corporate owners, bankruptcy and foreclosure."
Rep. Foster Votes Against Raising Debt Ceiling
"“Raising the debt ceiling is a short term fix that does nothing to remedy the underlying problem that faces our country,” said Foster. “I remain concerned about our growing national debt and deficit, and still want to see a coherent plan to realistically get our national finances in order.”"
Material evidence 'debunks myth' of Turin Shroud - Times Online
"Researchers from the Hebrew University said the shroud — found close to where Judas Iscariot is said to have committed suicide — was dated to the 1st century AD. It used a simple two-way weave, whereas the Turin Shroud used a more complex weave that the experts dated to a later period. Carbon dating placed the shroud of the leprosy sufferer between AD1 and AD50.  “Based on the assumption that this is representative of a typical burial shroud widely used at the time of Jesus, the researchers conclude that the Turin Shroud did not originate from Jesus-era Jerusalem,” the university said."
House Passes Jobs Bill—Tell Senate to Act NOW - AFL-CIO
"The House’s bill would help state and local governments retain teachers and firefighters and maintain services critical in this time of economic hardship. It also would create jobs by funding public works projects like school construction, rail, transit, water systems and highways. And by extending unemployment insurance and COBRA health care coverage, it gives critical help to those suffering from the jobs crisis at a time when the economy needs consumer demand. The House bill is paid for out of bank bailout funds, so it will not impact the deficit."
In Bid To Derail Health Care Reform, GOP Delays Passage Of Troop Funding - TPM
"But at the last moment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the behest Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), demanded that the entire 700-plus page amendment be read aloud on the floor. That's happening now.  Under normal circumstances, this would be a 10 or 12 hour dilatory tactic. But not today. Today, Democrats were planning to file for cloture on the Defense Appropriations bill, in order to get it passed by Friday before midnight when department funding runs out. If the entire amendment is read aloud, it's likely that the Senate won't be able to pass the defense bill until Saturday at the earliest, and would have to pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep money flowing. "

16 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 16 Dec 2009
  • Christmas worship services
  • “Dancing in a Winter Wonderland”
  • West Chicago Middle School Math Team
  • $10,000 college scholarship raffle
West Chicago Sister City January movie presented by the West Chicago Sister Cities
  • "West Chicago Sister Cities presents a free movie. "Go For Zucker"
  • At the West Chicago City Hall, 475 Main St.
  • Friday, January 22, 2010 - 7:00 PM"
2009 National Night Out Places 16 Out of 54
"“I would like to thank everyone involved in this year’s National Night Out for their hard work, participation and support. Without the committee members, without the participants, without the residents, this event would not have been such a huge success,”"
DuPage Habitat for Humanity finishes first green home
""It's exciting," Kimbrough said about walking into the completed home for the first time. "I'm very grateful to everyone. But most of all, I'm excited for my kids."  The DuPage Habitat for Humanity hosted a ribbon cutting for the home, which is in the new Pioneer Prairie subdivision, a three-acre area the will include 13 energy efficient single-family homes."
Gitmo agreement raises hopes for everyday life in Thomson
"“This is probably the economic-development opportunity of a lifetime for northwest Illinois, and we intend to take full advantage of it,” said Russ Simpson, who leads an economic development group for a three-county area that includes Thomson, about 70 miles southwest of Rockford... The prison was built by the state in 2001 with the promise of thousands of jobs, but budget problems prevented it from fully opening. It has 1,600 cells, housing 200 minimum-security inmates and 82 staff members."
Dislocated workers behind in basic academic skills
"Half the enrollees in the Dislocated Worker Program have a bigger obstacle than a bad economy when it comes to finding a new job — they’re behind in their academic skills, too.  According to a survey of the program’s enrollees between March 1 and Oct. 31, 51 percent of the 625 participants enrolled in stimulus-funded training were basic skills deficient, meaning they lacked at least a ninth-grade understanding of English, reading, writing or computing skills."
State Capitol Q&A: The dispute over borrowing
"Quinn says state government simply needs the $500 million he’s proposing to borrow right away to keep providers afloat who are owed long-overdue checks for services from the state. Without that aid, they’ll soon lay off people, cut services and possibly shut down altogether, he warns... “This is insanity, and somebody needs to stop the madness,” Hynes said at a recent Statehouse news conference. “We need a real plan, not patched-over, papered-over ideas that are basically ill-conceived and not thought out.”"
VA chief assures Illinois' VA problems to be fixed
"The Department of Veterans Affairs believes difficulty luring skilled medical workers to rural VA sites may be at least partly to blame for nagging problems at an Illinois hospital where major surgeries remain suspended after a spike in patient deaths, a federal lawmaker said Tuesday.  But Sen. Dick Durbin said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki also told him and other members of Illinois’ congressional delegation behind closed doors Tuesday that lingering troubles at the Marion VA in southern Illinois would be fixed by the end of this month. Those problems were not publicly detailed."
Why Catholics aren't speaking up in Uganda about anti-gay bill - National Catholic Reporter
"On Dec. 10, a Vatican diplomat addressed a United Nations panel on anti-gay violence, saying that “the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty … [and] discriminatory penal legislation.” Though there was no direct reference to Uganda, the context seemed clear enough, especially since the Ugandan legislation was a major focus of the panel’s deliberations."
Union Members Keep Focused on a Just Transition to Green Economy - AFL-CIO
"The importance of a “just transition” to a clean energy economy has been evident in labor’s approach to every aspect of participation in the climate change talks. In an attempt to influence the kind of global climate agreement that would meaningfully address global warming, we have emphasized making aggressive investments in energy intensive industries to modernize and develop capacity for new technologies. A just transition speaks to training and retaining workers, education and assistance for workers negatively impacted by climate policies. It also requires support for the research and development needed to address climate change in ways that can enhance the economy."
Do You Know Where the Plane You’re Traveling in Has Been Repaired? - AFL-CIO
"When you step aboard a flight on a U.S. airplane, you probably assume that plane’s major maintenance work has been performed by certified mechanics at the one of the carrier’s U.S. hangers. That’s not necessarily so.  The nation’s major airlines now send more than 20 percent of their planes to repair stations in developing counties, including those in central America, Africa and Asia for major maintenance, including, complete overhauls where the aircraft is stripped to the bare metal then put back together."

15 Dec

West Chicago Middle School to be recognized as a Spotlight School
"West Chicago Middle School is being recognized as a Spotlight School at the DuPage1: Leadership for Excellence and Equity for All Conference sponsored by the DuPage Regional Office of Education at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center on February 1, 2010."
Ramey Statement on Thomson Sale
"It's unfortunate that Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democratic legislative leaders are moving forward on the sale of the Thomson Prison without public debate or legislation approval," said State Rep. Randy Ramey (R-Carol Stream).  "But if the sale is to be finalized, it is my hope that everything possible will be done to protect the residents of the Village of Thomson, the surrounding area and the rest of the state prior to the federal government relocating the close to 100 detainees from Guantanamo Bay."
Democrats don't have to pay for DuPage health forum
"DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett said Monday his office would "take no action" requiring the trio to reimburse the county for the more than $5,000 spent on the event.  "I don't see any reason to go further with this," Birkett said. "The county has policies in place to address these issues, but they may want to review their policies in light of recent practices.""
DuPage County briefs - Disaster grant issued
"A $52,000 disaster assistance grant was issued to the College of DuPage through the Illinois Department of Commerce. The grant will assist the college's Small Business Development Center to provide disaster assistance and emergency preparedness education, training and outreach to more than 100 county clients through May 2010. The county is a federally designated disaster area following the fall 2008 flooding. For more information about grant funding, call Carol Anglet at (630) 942-2461."
DuPage County briefs - COD radio receives funds
"The Illinois Arts Council awarded the College of DuPage radio station a $34,910 grant to help fund operations and maintenance. WDCB 90.9-FM was one of 26 Illinois public radio stations to receive the funding... The station predominantly features jazz music and received Chicago Music Awards for the past two years as the area's "Best College/Community Music Radio Station.""
Hearing tonight on proposal for Red Gate bridge
"The forum is set for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Charles North High School, at 255 Red Gate Road.  The proposed project would extend Red Gate Road east from where it currently ends at Route 31 on the north end of St. Charles, across the Fox River, and connect with Route 25 south of Pinelands Drive... Information also can be found on the project Web site at"
State congressional delegation splits on Thompson prison plan
""Illinois deserves a better Christmas present than hardened terrorists. The decision to move some of the world's worst terrorists to Illinois is an ill-advised move that ultimately will be regretted," he added"
[I feel like as the administration is getting muddy trying to get the truck out of the ditch, the guys who drove it in there are standing around in Brooks Brothers suits making calls for delivery of a new BMW.  Gitmo was a lousy and illegal program for which Republicans have offered no solution.  I can post comments from those who disagree. - Bob]
Thomson prison getting Gitmo terrorist suspects
" Taking an important step on the thorny path to closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the White House plans to announce Tuesday that the government will acquire an underutilized state prison in rural Illinois to be the new home for a limited number of terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo.  Administration officials as well as Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will make an official announcement at the White House."
GOP candidates against Thomson housing detainees
"Another of the GOP candidates, transparency advocate Adam Andrzejewski said: “I don’t believe that we should bring terrorists to American soil… I would open Thomson prison, I would not sell it to the federal government. I would alleviate prison overcrowding by using existing resources.”  DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom was the only one of the six who left the door open a little, saying, “If the federal government is talking about creating 3,000 jobs, we ought to at least talk to them about it.”"
Rep. Foster Urges Speaker Pelosi to Pay Down Deficit with Unused TARP Funds
"“We used TARP funds at an extraordinary time – a time when we had to act to stabilize the financial industry,” said Foster. “These were emergency loans and investments that came with strong conditions attached, and with strong oversight and enforcement of these conditions, we are now in a position that most of the funds will be repaid. However, some of the original TARP money was never used, and it is time for these funds to be used to pay down the deficit.”"
Foster Statement on Thomson Correctional Facility
"Before voting in the future on whether to allow detainees to move to Thomson, I will be visiting the facility, studying the proposal and listening to constituents to understand the implications of national security and job creation.”
Roskam On Guantanamo Coming to Illinois
"The decision to move some of the world’s worst terrorists to Illinois is an ill-advised move that ultimately will be regretted. The proponents have failed to prove how this move will make America safer."
Davenport, IA
Schillerstrom: Prepared to be one-term governor
"Republican candidate Bob Schillerstrom says he'd be willing to give up a second term as Illinois governor if that's what it takes to fix the state's many problems.  During a Republican debate Monday night, Schillerstrom promised to cut costs so that revenues and expenses match up. The DuPage County Board chairman says he would be willing to say "no" even if that meant he could not win a second term."
Advent Conspiracy Church Group Fights Christmas Shopping - Time magazine
"McKinley is one of the leaders of an effort to do away with the frenzied activity and extravagant gift-giving of a commercial Christmas. Through a savvy viral video and marketing effort, the so-called Advent Conspiracy movement has exploded. Hundreds of churches on four continents and in at least 17 countries have signed up to participate. The Advent Conspiracy video has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, and the movement boasts nearly 45,000 fans on Facebook."
Religious Leaders, Union Members Remember Those Who Died Without Health Care - AFL-CIO
"The silent interfaith processional—which wound through the streets of downtown San Francisco before arriving for the commemorative ceremony at Union Square—was a far cry from the loud, energetic rallies and protests that have encompassed the health care debate up until now. The somber tone of the event reflected the grave travesty of a system that allows one person to die every 12 minutes simply because they can’t get or afford insurance."
Why ACORN Won - OpEdNews
"What about protecting the taxpayers against fraud? As the court pointed out, there are many legal ways for the government to investigate and terminate federal contractors which have been proven to engage in fraud or illegal activity.  But Congress did not want to wait for trials or proof or to allow ACORN due process.  Conservatives developed a voting majority and imposed punishment without a hearing or anything.  ACORN has been a target of right-wing politicians for years. Conservatives hate ACORN primarily because it registered over two million people to vote since 2003 and because it has an overwhelming African American, working class, Democratic-voting, membership.

14 Dec

Library District January 2010 Press Release
  • Super-Couponing with Jill Cataldo
  • Take Charge of Your Life: Plan Your Best Year Yet! Healthy You Series
  • The Truth About Income Taxes
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Dec 14- Dec 20
"Attached is the schedule for this week. We're showing some classic, local Holiday programs to get ready for next week. Thanks, John Kruser"
Carol Weimer
"Carol L. Weimer formerly of West Chicago for 56 years Visitation for Carol L. Weimer, 93, of Wheaton will be from 9 a.m. until the time of prayers at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Norris-Walen-Segert Funeral Home, 132 Fremont St."
DuPage Habitat for Humanity gives first home in future green community
"Several volunteers who helped build the home and donated their time for electric and plumbing work attended the 30-minute ceremony that preceded an open house.  About four years ago, Habitat bought land in West Chicago. After about 18 months of predevelopment work and then eight months of road and infrastructure installation, construction began on the Kimbrough's home in July."
West Chicago field a 'little country airport' no more
"Fire Chief Ron Ackerman stressed that equipment from all of the city's fire stations - including the soon-to-be-completed Station 3 along Commerce Drive near Roosevelt Road - would respond if there's an incident at the airport.  But having an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle at the airport is significant because it gives emergency crews a jump start on trying to save lives. Ackerman said the vehicle can apply water and fire suppression foam and make situations survivable for victims until more help arrives."
Step aside until investigation is over
"For years, we were led to believe the water commission had plenty of money - enough for DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom to use $75 million of it to help cover the county's budget shortfall, in fact.  Government watchdogs would not have caught this problem based on published documents. Visit the DuPage Water Commission's Web site and peruse annual financial reports. In 2007, it appeared to have $13 million for emergency repairs. In 2008, that number appeared to be $18.8 million. How could this be so wrong?"
DuPage Habitat for Humanity finishes first green home
"The DuPage Habitat for Humanity hosted a ribbon cutting for the home, which is in the new Pioneer Prairie subdivision, a three-acre area the will include 13 energy efficient single-family homes. Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the ambitious project in June.  "This is the first large-scale development for us," said Eric Patton, board president of the DuPage Habitat for Humanity. "We couldn't be more thrilled to complete the first project.""
Poll finds Giannoulias, Kirk ahead in Senate races
"Giannoulias is backed by 31 percent of likely Democratic voters, compared to 17 percent for Cheryle Jackson. David Hoffman had 9 percent and Jacob Meister 1 percent.  Among Republicans, Kirk had the support of 41 percent of likely voters. No one else in the GOP primary topped 3 percent, but 46 percent of voters were still undecided."
Candidates in governor’s race agree spending cuts needed
"However, the downgrades also underscore the reality of the state’s financial/political situation for the past several months. Moody’s says the downgrade reflects Illinois’ large structural deficits and the fact the General Assembly isn’t acting to fix it. Moody’s also expressed concerns about growing year-end deficits, cash-flow problems, pension costs and rising retiree health-care obligations.  The state’s next governor will have to cope with this dilemma. While the candidates are split over the need for new revenues, all believe state spending should be reduced."
Banning Christians from using the word ‘Allah’ unconstitutional, court told - Malaysian Insider
"Months of legal arguments in the judges chambers and frequent disruptions by major Muslim groups had held back today’s proceedings from happening sooner.  Counsel for the Catholic Church, which publishes a weekly paper called Herald, argued that the Home Minister had gone against the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, when he introduced new conditions banning the use of the word “Allah” to mean any God other than the Muslim God."
House Passes Tough Financial Reform Bill - AFL-CIO
"Introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the bill is the most sweeping overhaul of the financial industry in more than 70 years. It would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to enforce consumer protection and civil rights laws that existing federal regulators have largely ignored. It also would provide increased transparency and regulation in financial derivatives such as those that brought down AIG and helped create the housing bubble."
Review: stolen emails don’t support claims that global warming science was faked - Boston Herald
"The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.  The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message."
22 million missing Bush White House e-mails found - Assoc Press
"Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."  "We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved.""

11 Dec

Count the Lights Contest Winner Announced
"The winning guess came from ten-year old Drew Rukavina of St. Charles, who guessed the number of lights to be 3,674. The correct number was 3,800. Entries ranged from guesses of 7 to 40,000 lights. A gift basket containing assorted snacks and games with counting themes including Yahtzee and Mexican Train Dominos, filled the basket along with this year’s commemorative ornament from the City Museum, a hand-made Santa ornament from Gallery 200 and a gift certificate to Family Video."
DuPage County board cracks down on staff
"The board voted that all future expenditures have to be approved by them. In the past, staff had authority to pay bills once the board approved contracts.  In an effort to shore up its finances, the board approved a one-year $30 million loan from West Suburban Bank. That money will keep the commission from levying a property tax."
Firefighters deal with spike in CO calls during cold snap
"The most common calls during winter's first cold snap tend to be for carbon monoxide detectors triggered by a variety of seasonal factors: furnaces being fired up for the first time; gas fireplaces being run without proper ventilation and the occasional driver who thinks it's safe to warm up the car while it's still in an attached garage."
Elmhurst man accused of threatening DuPage Co. state's attorney
"Harold Nichols, address unknown, has been charged with two counts of threatening a public official and one count of telephone harassment, according to Paul Darrah, spokesman for the state's attorney's office... Authorities didn't say when the calls to Birkett were made. Nichols was arrested Wednesday night by DuPage County Sheriff's deputies, officials said.
Draft memo details moving terror suspects to Thomson
"Although White House officials say there is no final decision, a government memo leaked today indicates preparations have been made for the U.S. to move forward with plans to buy an Illinois prison and use it to house suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
NIU clears police chief, reinstates him
"Northern Illinois University has cleared its tough-talking police chief of wrongdoing in the wake of allegations he tried to intimidate an editor of the campus newspaper.  It also reinstated Donald Grady as NIU's top cop."
State’s medical-error reporting law still not implemented
"State budget woes and foot-dragging by special interests are among reasons cited for the long delay. But there are finally glimmers of progress. That includes the recent launch of a related state Web site that tracks hospital infection rates and staff levels, and the imminent start of a search for a vendor to help put the law in place."
Internet users lured to voice views on health bill
"The ads could give the impression that someone has to send an e-mail to Congress to get free goods... Nonetheless, officials of the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Association, which runs the insurance coalition, expressed surprise over the ads and said they had nothing to do with them and that the coalition had temporarily suspended its operations “until the source of these ads can be determined.”"
Petition to change redistricting circulating
"The once-in-a-decade process of redrawing districts has been criticized by reformers as resulting in gerrymandered districts and noncompetitive races.  “It’s a monumental effort. People are so frustrated in Illinois. They’re embarrassed by what’s gone on, and they haven’t been able to do anything by themselves to change the system,” said Brad McMillan, a former member of the Illinois Reform Commission, a temporary group appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn to tackle redistricting and other issues."
Foster Votes for Financial Regulatory Reform
"In order to prevent future taxpayer funded bailouts, protect consumers from abusive financial practices, and stabilize the financial system, Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) voted to pass H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 today. Foster is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the Committee that drafted this legislation."
Religious Intensity Remains Powerful Predictor of Politics - Gallup
"Americans' religious intensity continues to be a major predictor of party identification. A new analysis of more than 29,000 interviews Gallup conducted in November finds that Republicans outnumber Democrats by 12 percentage points among Americans who are classified as highly religious, while Democrats outnumber Republicans by 30 points among those who are not religious."
Bill Would Create Agency to Protect Consumers from Big Banks
"The bill would require hedge fund and leveraged buyout managers to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and give the agency the power to require disclosures from those funds to investors. H.R. 4173 also provides for a tough resolution process for failed large financial institutions, preventing the massive taxpayer bailouts we saw over the past year. And it makes credit agencies accountable when they issue misleading ratings on financial products intended to deceive investors."
A Case Of Classic SwiftBoating: How The Right-Wing Noise Machine Manufactured ‘Climategate’  - The Wonk Room
"Polluter-funded climate skeptics, along with their allies in conservative media and the Republican Party, sifted through the e-mails, and quickly cherry picked quotes to falsely accuse climate scientists of concocting climate change science out of whole cloth. The skeptics also propelled the story, dubbed “Climategate,” to the cover of the New York Times and newspapers across the globe."
House Republicans Vote to Let Tax Cuts Expire - Hillbilly Report
"Under current law, the profit-sharing fees, called carried interest, are taxed as capital gains, with a top rate of 15 percent. The House bill would tax the fees as regular income, with a top tax rate of 35 percent, scheduled to rise to 39.6 percent in 2011."

10 Dec

Middle School Math Team Takes 4th Place
     "The West Chicago Middle School Math Team finished in 4th place at the St. Francis High School Math Contest held on Saturday, December 6, 2009. Eighteen schools participated in the AA Division of schools with enrollments of 800-944. West Chicago Middle School students finished 4th behind Avery Coonley (Downers Grove), DaVinci Academy (Elgin), and Jefferson Junior High (Naperville).
     Members of the West Chicago Middle School Math Team are Bryce Knight, Grant Hosticka, Kari Miller, Manny Munoz, Colin O’Connor, Raj Parikh, Matt Pietura, Nicole Reitz, Natalie Warkins, and Gilary Valenzuela. The students were coached by Mrs. Pat Pentek, West Chicago Middle School’s gifted and differentiation facilitator.
Du Page Enviro Summit - Edith Makra - Community Trees Advocate
"The DuPage Environmental Summit - Preserving Open Space and Green Infrastrucutre in the Built Environment - is January 7 in Lisle."
District 6 candidates make public safety a priority
"With Paul Darrah, a DuPage County State's Attorney spokesman, Matt Fuesting, former assistant state's attorney for DuPage and Kane counties and 18-year military veteran Bob Larsen in the running, it comes as no surprise.  Fuesting listed the issue as his No. 2 priority, behind reducing residents' tax burden. "The county needs good, strong advocates for public safety and one who can do more with less," said Fuesting, a West Chicago alderman."
Local clergy get chance to motivate lawmakers
"Matheney said he went into the event with a prepared speech intended to tell a tale and put the call of government into perspective. But like many at the Capitol, Matheney quickly learned the art of compromise. As he stepped to the dais to open the session, he said the final advice he received was "be inclusive" and "keep it to 30 seconds.""
14th District comes down to two-man GOP race
"Elgin resident Mark Vargas, a former Defense Department employee, and Jeff Danklefsen, a Geneva property manager, both announced this week they would no longer seek the GOP nomination for the House seat. Last week, Batavia businessman Jim Purcell also dropped his election bid.  Thus, the February primary will go to either state Sen. Randy Hultgren or Elburn resident Ethan Hastert, who is running for the seat once held by his father, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert."
Stay Safe When Exploring The Outdoors In Winter
"Most ice activities, including ice fishing and ice skating, require at least 4 inches of clear ice. When visiting DuPage County forest preserves, all ice-related activities are done at the visitor’s own risk. Rangers do not monitor ice conditions, which can vary greatly on the same body of water"
Rigo Padilla says he'll be allowed to stay in U.S. 1 year
"Padilla's immigration status was discovered when he was arrested for drinking and driving earlier this year. The decision to stay the deportation of came during a meeting with ICE officials in Chicago today.  The news brought cheers inside the downtown offices of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, where activists who organized rallies and an Internet campaign on Padilla's behalf awaited word of the meeting with ICE."
State OKs release of H1N1 vaccine to all on Dec. 15
"The state notified all health departments, physicians, retail pharmacies and hospitals this morning that restrictions would be lifted, but until Dec. 15 all providers must continue focus on vaccinating priority groups only."
El Niño pattern strengthens, might mean less snow
"El Niño is a periodic warming of the water in the tropical Pacific Ocean accompanied by changes in air pressure and winds that can influence weather worldwide.  Sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific were about 3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 Celsius) above normal in November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said."
Things to know about campaign finance law
"The donation limits vary depending on the type of donor. Individuals can give up to $5,000 to any political candidate and $10,000 to any political party or committee. Those numbers double for businesses, unions and associations to $10,000 for each candidate and $20,000 for parties and committees."
New law restricts campaign donations
"The law Quinn signed is aimed at preventing people and interest groups from trying to buy influence in state government. Besides setting donation limits, the law also sets up campaign finance disclosure requirements and requires random audits by the State Board of Elections, among other things."
Foster Congratulates Northern Illinois Food Bank for Being Awarded ‘Victory Against Hunger’ Grant
"“Having volunteered at Northern Illinois Food Bank and visited on several occasions, I am extremely impressed with its dedicated staff and know that they are significantly helping those in need,” said Foster. “I congratulate them for their recognition by the Congressional Hunger Center, as the award will allow them to continue to provide excellent services in our area.”"
Spanish gov't to change abortion bill - Associated Press
"The Spanish government agreed to changes in its proposed abortion bill that will now require girls aged 16 and 17 to inform one of their parents if they seek to end their pregnancy, an opposition party said Thursday."
Look for Union Label at iPhone App Store
"Under the agreement, writers for apps such as “This Just In” (which delivers 10-15 jokes a day to the iPhone) will get to count their jokes written for the app toward WGAE health insurance and other benefits.  Comedy writers covered by this new agreement work at “The Daily Show,” “The Onion,” “Human Giant” and “Saturday Night Live” and in other comedy media.  iLarious staff voted to join a union because company founder and comedy writer Fred Graver is himself a member of the WGAE and gets how important union representation is to writers."
In 'Crude' Exploitation of Ecuador's Amazon, Chevron-Texaco Leaves a Toxic, Deadly Legacy - Buzz Flash
"Others are born with serious birth defects. Some children die from drinking oil-polluted waters. Those who live to the age of consent are likely to greet adulthood with cancer, 18 being the most common age for a local to be diagnosed with a tumor.  In some ways, this fallout should come as no surprise. Amazon Watch, a nonprofit that has aligned with the plaintiffs, estimates that 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater and 17 million gallons of crude oil have been dumped over 1,700 miles of Ecuadorian rainforest as a consequence of oil exploration there."

09 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 09 Dec 2009
  • Opportunities for Giving
  • Breakfast with Santa
  • Annual Tree of Memory
  • West Chicago High School Holiday Concerts
On Anniversary of Blagojevich Arrest, Still Work to Be Done
"On the anniversary of the arrest of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, state Rep. Randy Ramey (R-Carol Stream) says there's still much left to be done to reform Illinois state government."
Wheaton Academy Caps Enrollment at Six Hundred
"The Board of Trustees of Wheaton Academy has announced that after nineteen consecutive years of enrollment growth, they plan to limit freshman enrollment to 150-155 students beginning in 2010-2011 to achieve a student body of 600-620 students by 2013. To facilitate this, the school will introduce a waiting pool for admissions for the first time in the school’s 156-year history."
Community Banner Project Competition - Informational Session
"The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission has announced the date of the special session to assist artists in the submission process for the Community Banner Project Competition. Artists are invited to attend the session, at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 11:30 a.m."
2010 Landslide Call for Nominations Issued by The Cultural Landscape Foundation - Cultural Landscape Foundation
"The 2010 Landslide: Every Tree Tells a Story will focus on the irreplaceable trees and tree groupings, often associated with historically important people and events that have shaped the development of communities and cultures."
[Thank you to Edith Makra, Community Trees Advocate at The Morton Arboretum for the heads up on this one. - Bob]
Quinn signs reform bill on anniversary of Blago arrest
  • "Here's what the law does: Individual donors are limited to giving $5,000 each for the primary and general elections. Corporations and unions are limited to $10,000 an election and political action committees could not donate more than $50,000 per election.
  • Here's what it doesn't do: Cut back the power of the four legislative leaders or take effect until after the 2010 elections."
Quinn signs ethics law
"Quinn signed the bill Wednesday. He says it isn’t perfect but is a step to ensure Illinois has honest, clean and open government.  The reforms were inspired by the scandal surrounding Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9, 2008, on federal corruption charges and later removed from office by lawmakers. He’s pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial this summer."
Illinois waits for action on unemployment insurance
"Illinois will be among the hardest hit if Congress doesn’t approve funding extensions to unemployment insurance, according to a new report.  The National Employment Law Project estimates 192,965 Illinoisans will lose their unemployment insurance by March, according to a study released this week. The effect to the state would be the fifth-highest in the country, behind California, Florida, New York and Texas."
Waves from former governor's ouster still rippling
"The scandal could have a national impact by tipping a U.S. Senate seat — the one previously held by President Barack Obama — into Republican hands. The GOP also hopes to reclaim the governor’s office, and they could be helped if Blagojevich stays in the spotlight with a role on “Celebrity Apprentice” next year and a federal trial during election season.  His legacy will also be felt in a major overhaul of Illinois ethics laws, including the first-ever caps on the size of campaign donations."
Greater Elgin Family Care Center Awarded More Than $2 Million at White House Ceremony with Congressman Foster and President Obama
"“Today, I joined Greater Elgin Family Care Center’s President/CEO, Bob Tanner, at the White House for the announcement of stimulus funds awarded to community health centers,” said Foster. “With this important funding, the Greater Elgin Family Care Center will be able to better serve families in Elgin, and improvements to the facility will also benefit the local economy by creating jobs.”"
Christian Movie Viewers Help 'Blind Side' Beat 'New Moon' - Advertising Age
"When a movie with religious or spiritual themes is about to hit the marketplace, studios often tap Grace Hill to connect the film's message with its network of Christian media outlets or its highly valuable online community of ministry professionals who use relevant clips from new movies to give a pop-culture focus to their video-enabled Sunday sermons.  In the case of "The Blind Side," more than 20,000 churches have downloaded clips about the film's real-life story ..."
Young Workers: Hit Hard, Hitting Back
"In the past 10 years, young workers have suffered disproportionately from the downturn in the economy:
  • One in three young workers is worried about being able to find a job—let alone a full-time job with benefits.
  • Only 31 percent make enough money to cover their bills and put some aside—that is 22 percentage points worse than it was 10 years ago.
  • Nearly half worry about having more debt than they can handle.
  • One in three still lives at home with parents."


Fox's Rosen advanced misleading claim scientists destroyed climate data - Media Matters
"In fact, according to the scientists, the raw data is still available at the meteorological services where they obtained it and Climate Research Unit director Phil Jones said the CRU simply did not keep copies for "less than 5 percent of its original station data" in its database because those "stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends.""
[Faux News fans, using their usual method, should conclude that all information from Faux News is now tainted in this, the biggest scandal since Watergate and call for a Congressional Hearing. - Bob]
Law School Study Finds Evidence Of Cover-Up After Three Alleged Suicides At Guantanamo In 2006 - Huffington Post
"The new study exposes how the NCIS report purports that all three prisoners on the prison's Alpha Block did the following to commit suicide...
  • Stuffed rags down their own throats well past a point which would have induced involuntary gagging.
  • Tied their own feet together.
  • Tied their own hands together.
  • Hung the noose from the metal mesh of the cell wall and/or ceiling.
  • Climbed up on to the sink, put the noose around their necks and release their weight, resulting in death by strangulation."



08 Dec

West Chicago
High School
PeaceBuilder of the Month for November 2009
"Amarin Young of Carol Stream, a Sophomore at Community High School District 94, has been recognized as the November PeaceBuilder of the month."
Traffic Safety Awareness Campaign
"The West Chicago Police Department announced that Campaign #1 of the Illinois Department of Transportation funded grant was successful in educating the motoring public on Seatbelt Safety and Awareness. The Campaign ran from November 13-29, 2009 and resulted in 51 citations being issued for Seatbelt and Child Restraint violations."
Route 59 reopens in Bartlett after multi-car accident
"The northbound lanes of Route 59 were shut down for approximately 45 minutes while the Expedition, Accord and Savana were towed and the Mark VIII was pulled out of a ditch on the east side of the roadway."
Holiday Survival Week: Spending less
"When she buys her Christmas wreaths, she will bypass garden centers closer to her Plainfield home to drive farther -- and likely spend more -- at We Grow Dreams in West Chicago, a nonprofit greenhouse that employs folks with disabilities.  "When you see these parents working side by side with their special-needs children, it just makes you more conscious of your own health. ... Something we all take for granted," said the school social worker."
Art Volunteers Wanted
"Our dedicated volunteers provide these children with encouragement to help build self-esteem as well as a wealth of exciting projects to keep them occupied. Participating in Kids Art allows the children to partake in productive after school activities and gives them opportunities that they may not otherwise have.  We currently need volunteers to teach weekly Kids Art classes at two sites in West Chicago and one in Wheaton."
Legislature to hold hearing on Thomson sale to feds
"A House-Senate panel will hold a hearing Dec. 22 on the Quinn administration's proposed sale of the Thomson Correctional Center, giving lawmakers a chance to review the prospect of selling the site to the federal government to relocate terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
Hynes gets backing of teachers' union
"The 103,000-member Illinois Federation of Teachers has endorsed Hynes over Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary race for governor.  The union, which includes Chicago teachers, is promising money and workers to help Hynes win the Feb. 2 primary."
US Christian Leaders Slam Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act - Reuters
"“Our Christian faith recognizes violence, harassment and unjust treatment of any human being as a betrayal of Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As followers of the teachings of Christ, we must express profound dismay at a bill currently before  the Parliament in Uganda. The ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009′ would enforce lifetime prison sentences and in some cases the death penalty for homosexual behavior, as well as punish citizens for not
reporting their gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities,” it says in part."
Study: Extending Benefits for Jobless Helps Us All - AFL-CIO
"A new study, “Keeping a First Line of Defense for the Jobless,” released today, predicts that 1 million workers will become ineligible for unemployment benefits in January 2010 unless Congress reauthorizes key provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."
Harshbarger Report Provides Path Forward for Key Community Organizing Group - People for the American Way
""The Harshbarger report provides sorely needed perspective on ACORN. In recent years the group has been accused by its opponents of doing just about everything, and no claim has been too wild to be passed off as fact. If ACORN's antagonists are to be believed, the group stole the 2008 election, is responsible for the housing mortgage meltdown, and will receive billions in federal bailout funds..."The Harshbarger report reveals an organization thatis comingto terms with its shortcomings and hasaplanto address them. It also highlights anorganization that does vital work on behalf of low-income and minority Americans. The group's voter registration efforts, while much maligned by the right, have contributed to significant, legitimate increases in minority voter participation."
Rep. Stupak says his amendment unlikely to prevail - Detroit Free Press
"Stupak, a Menominee Democrat, last month got the House to approve on a close vote his amendment that restricts the public option plan from offering abortion coverage and prohibit insurance plans receiving federal subsidies from providing that coverage as well."

07 Dec

District 33 Education Foundation Announces $10,000 Scholarship Raffle
"The Foundation for Educational Excellence for West Chicago Elementary School District 33 announces its $10,000 college scholarship raffle. Tickets are $20.00 each and just 1,000 tickets will be sold through April 5, 2010. A second place prize of a $500 savings bond has been donated by DuPage National Bank. The drawing will take place on Thursday, April 8, 2010 near the beginning of the District 33 Board of Education meeting."

West Chicago
High School
Student-of-the Month for November 2009
"The faculty and administration of Community High School would like to congratulate Kevin Szul for being chosen Student-of-the-Month for November.  As an active member of SkillsUSA for four years, Kevin has taken on the leadership role of President for the past two years. He was instrumental in planning the program that honored our local veterans at the 9/11 football game. One teacher describes Kevin as a dependable, outstanding leader who has the ability to encourage others to get involved."
Organizations using Sheriff’s Office’s name to solicit donations
"“Unfortunately, some police unions and other organizations use our name to give legitimacy to their causes, whatever they might be,” Sheriff Zaruba said. “If you receive a phone solicitation from any organization, it is in your best interest to do some research before donating.”"
West Chicago District 33 Education Foundation Announces $10,000 Scholarship Raffle
"The Foundation for Educational Excellence for West Chicago Elementary School District 33 announces its $10,000 college scholarship raffle. Tickets are $20.00 each and just 1,000 tickets will be sold through April 5, 2010. A second place prize of a $500 savings bond has been donated by DuPage National Bank. The drawing will take place on Thursday, April 8, 2010 near the beginning of the District 33 Board of Education meeting."
Search for Asian carp expands to another waterway
"Fishermen are using almost 2,000 yards of net as they look for Asian carp along a 5.5-mile stretch of Chicago's Cal-Sag Channel near the O'Brien Lock.  Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Stacey Solano says the operation started Saturday, and the last nets are to be pulled from the water Monday afternoon. Solano says both commercial fishermen and federal fisheries workers are trying to see if any carp are in the channel waters."
DuPage sheriff warns of telephone solicitors
"The sheriff's office said it does not ask for donations and does not have other groups ask for them on its behalf, according to a release from the office. The office has received several calls from area residents asking about calls from groups claiming that money donated to them will go to help the sheriff's office or sheriff's deputies."
  • Swine flu slowing; Illinois reports 3 new deaths
    " Illinois officials are reporting three new swine-flu deaths and 186 new hospitalizations from the virus.  Today’s update brings the number of Illinois deaths since April to 67 and total hospitalizations to more than 2,100.  The number of deaths attributable to complications associated with the H1N1 flu grew to four in Winnebago County last week when an adult with other underlying health issues died."
  • Illinois flu hot line can answer medical questions
    "Health-care professionals are staffing a 24-hour-a-day hot line to answer Illinois residents’ questions about swine flu... The state has had a flu hot line before, but it operated only during the daytime and wasn’t staffed by people who could answer medical questions."
UIS reaches out through iTunes
"Through its new iTunes Store listing, the University of Illinois Springfield is bringing some of its archived oral history to more than 200 million users worldwide... In the first three months UIS has been part of the iTunes Store, new downloads have increased by more than 75,000. Previously, the campus averaged only 3,000 downloads every three months."
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 4 Dec 09
Turnout disappoints organizer of pro-nativity rally in Chambersburg - Chambersburg Public Opinion, Pa.
"Lisa Blackstock said area churches let her down when fewer than 50 people turned out at Saturday's rally supporting the return of the nativity to Chambersburg Memorial Square... Protests began when atheist Carl Silverman, on behalf of PA Nonbelievers, requested permission from Chambersburg Borough Council on Nov. 23 to place an atheist sign on the square next to the crèche.Council responded with a ban on all displays -- except flags and flowers."
U.S. Unions Join Climate Change Talks in Copenhagen - AFL-CIO
"Some 40 union members from the United States are attending as part of a 400-member global union movement delegation led by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).  The union delegation is more than twice the size of our delegations to the 2007 and 2008 climate change meetings. The size of delegation reflects the global union movement’s growing interest and engagement in climate change."
Wal-Mart Settles State Lawsuit Alleging Employee Mistreatment - Daily'Dog
"Responding to claims of employees in Massachusetts that Wal-Mart denied them rest and meal breaks, manipulated time cards and refused to pay overtime, the retailer has agreed to pay $40 million to 87,500 staffers. The state's lawsuit was filed in 2001, and the settlement is a steep increase to the $3 million Wal-Mart originally agreed to pay in a deal with state prosecutors. Each of the staffers will receive between $400 and $2,500, depending on years of service."

04 Dec

Community colleges could lose half of state funding
"Depleting reserves, though not the most desirable option, will bail out many colleges, but without more revenue coming in, the hole will only get larger, warned Ellen Andres, chief financial officer for the Illinois Community College Board, the agency that administers the state funds."
Who's to blame for water commission mess?
"There's even a cadre of critics blaming DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom because the county received $75 million of the commission's reserves seven years ago when the fund had bloated to roughly $115 million... The state legislature granted the county access to the $75 million through $15 million increments over five years, and the funds were used to help plug the county's budget gap."
  • Rauschenberger a Democrat? Primary ballot could thwart comeback
    "In the latest bizarre chapter of Illinois' thick history of kicking candidates off the ballot, Rauschenberger could lose his spot in the GOP primary because he pulled a Democratic ballot for February's local elections.  "It disgusts me," said Rauschenberger, who served in the Senate's 22nd District for 14 years as a Republican, twice ran for statewide office in GOP primaries and now heads a conservative fundraising organization."
  • Purcell drops out of 14th Congressional District race
    "Purcell said he is not throwing his support behind any of the other Republican candidates in the race, but only because none of the other candidates have asked him for his support. The only candidate Purcell would rule out supporting is Ethan Hastert.  "I have nothing personal against Ethan," Purcell said. "I really don't want to beat on him too bad. But it just makes me nervous that we're going to appoint someone because of their famous last name. I think we're past that sort of thing.""
Best bet: W zone
  • " What: West Chicago's downtown will be transformed into Frosty Fest.
  • When/where: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday in downtown West Chicago.
  • How much: Free. Call 630-293-2200."
Madigan: Tax hike won't solve all state's problems
""For those that think that tax increases are the answer, it's a partial answer," Madigan told an audience gathered for a panel discussion at the annual Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation meeting in Rosemont on Thursday. "Because you can raise the rate on the Illinois income tax, but if the economy is not performing you're not going to get an increase in money out of the increase in rate.""
Seven UI faculty members awarded Fulbright grants
"Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields, according to the Fulbright Scholar Program.  The UI recipients are among 800 Americans this year who have received the grants to lecture or conduct research abroad. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State."
Applications available online for Illinois prescription program
"The Illinois Department on Aging says those eligible for the state’s prescription-drug assistance program should sign up now to avoid any breaks in their coverage.  Department director Charles Johnson said seniors and those with disabilities can apply online for the Illinois Cares Rx program, which accompanies Medicare Part D. The department said it takes about four weeks for applications to process and anyone who applies now can avoid a lapse of coverage Jan. 1."
Cost of Delay Vigil - MoveOn.Org
"Batavia, Illinois, Rt 31 south of Wilson (Map) ..
Tuesday, December 8th, 5:30 PM ...
We'll shine a spotlight onCost of Delay Vigil t...(more)he number of Americans in our communities who can't afford to pay the costs of their medical bills and are being forced into bankruptcy."
National abstinence group objects to MPS condom proposal - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
""Passing out condoms in a school setting is a short-sighted attempt to reduce the consequences of teen sexual activity without addressing the real problem," Huber wrote. "It fails to ask the reason teens are having sex in the first place. It ignores the fact that about 60% of teens regret initiating sex.""
Jobs Creation or Deficit Reduction? The Public Has Decided - AFL-CIO
"A poll for Democracy Corps published Nov. 30 found that when given a choice, “voters embrace a bold jobs initiative over a long-term deficit reduction program by two-to-one.” A survey taken by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) earlier this fall revealed the same: The Hart Research Associates poll found that by a margin of 53 percent to 42 percent, the public is more concerned about rising unemployment rates than the rising federal deficit."
Reform or Else - Paul Krugman in NY Times
"That observation in itself should make anyone concerned with fiscal responsibility support this reform. Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office has concluded, the proposed legislation would reduce, not increase, the budget deficit. And by giving us a chance, finally, to rein in the ever-growing spending of Medicare, it would greatly improve our long-run fiscal prospects."
03 Dec  
Edward F. Czajka
"The funeral service for Edward F. Czajka, 82, will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at Norris-Walen-Segert Funeral Home... The Rev. Patrick Skinner will officiate. Interment will be in Glen Oak Cemetery in West Chicago. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at the funeral home."
[Check out the picture at - Bob]
"Memorial services will be held on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Norris-Walen-Segert Funeral Home, 132 Fremont St., West Chicago. Services will be followed by a procession to St. John's the Baptist Catholic Church, 0S233 Church St., Winfield, where a Mass will said in her honor at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch directly after the Mass."
Essay Contest Winners Announced
Grades   School
1 & 2: Mariana Gomez Duran  Wegner
3 & 4: Matt Dupasquier  St. Mary’s
5 & 6: Leslie Cortes  Pioneer
Arrival of 2009 Commemorative Ornament
"Packaged in a presentation box which includes a short history of the subject, the West Chicago Tastee- Freez ornament is available for purchase for $8, payable by cash or check to the Friends of the West Chicago City Museum..."
Frosty Fest to usher in holidays
"West Chicago will usher in the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 5, with a slate of events ranging from a children's candy cane hunt to bargains in downtown businesses to visits with Santa."
Police beat
"Rafael Catana, 24, of the 0N100 block of Prince Crossing Road, West Chicago, was arrested at 11:12 a.m. Monday and charged with possession of cannabis in a traffic stop on Route 25, south of Illinois Avenue, in unincorporated Aurora, police said. Catana also was wanted on a DuPage County warrant."
DuPage water board accidentally spends $19 million
"Board member Liz Chaplin said she has been concerned about the commission's finances for years and wasn't surprised to learn of the financial plight since the district has been selling Lake Michigan water to municipalities for years at a rate lower than what it costs to buy it from Chicago. Currently, the commission buys water from Chicago at a rate of $1.82 per 1,000 gallons and sells it for $1.42 per 1,000 gallons."
[Caution, folks.  It's not just the County doing something dumb, it is also if they fix the water commission problems (where we are not members) with county funds, it's our tax money going to government that provides us with absolutely NO SERVICE. - Bob]
Deputies to crack down on handicapped parking violators
"According to the Sheriff, vehicles parked illegally in handicapped designated parking places will be ticketed whether they are unoccupied or occupied by someone waiting for passengers to return to the vehicle. In some instances violators may even be towed."
West Chicago Essay Contest Winners Announced
"Mayor Kwasman will also extend a personal invitation to each of the winners to help him light the official tree in downtown West Chicago at the Fox Community Center..."
Area congressmen support Obama's national address
"Both U.S. Reps. Bill Foster, D-Geneva, and Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, whose district covers parts of Aurora, issued statements supporting the president's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to track and fight al-Qaida and Taliban operatives and train Afghani forces."
Reform sought for how state draws legislative districts
"Dubbed the "Illinois Fair Map Amendment," the would-be reformers are attempting to change the Illinois Constitution to establish a 9-person board to draw districts. The idea is to make the process more transparent and to prevent political leaders from carving out portions of the state to sway partisan leanings of districts."
Thousands of dead fish scooped from canal in carp-kill effort
"Boaters are scooping the fish off the surface of the water with hand nets and deploying drag nets to collect fish by the thousands. Officials can't say whether any of the tens of thousands of fish believed to have been collected so far are the dreaded Asian carp, a voracious species of fish that biologists are trying to keep out of the Great Lakes."
New state law mandates jail for gang members with guns
"Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law today requiring prison time for street gang members convicted of possessing a loaded gun in a public area.  Current law allows for probation in such cases, but authorities pushed this measure after the killing of Chicago Police Officer Alejandro "Alex" Valadez. One of the accused assailants in that case was a gang member on probation for a weapons charge."
State solicits office space in Springfield
"The Department of Central Management Services — which handles space needs for state agencies — is asking landlords to make their best offers on nearly 350,000 square feet to be used by four agencies: the departments of Insurance, Public Health, Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Financial and Professional Regulation."
Rep. Foster Votes to Cut Estate Taxes
"“Particularly in a struggling economy, the estate tax can place an additional burden on small businesses and farmers, and by lifting this burden, small businesses and farmers will continue to be the engine that drives our economic recovery,” said Foster. “According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, only 7,600 nationwide will pay the estate tax in 2011 as a result of this bill – 37,000 fewer than would pay the tax under current law.”"
Bloomingdale Democrats To Wrap Up Holiday Food Drive
"The Bloomingdale Township Democratic Organization today announced they will be concluding their annual holiday food drive to benefit the Bloomingdale Township food pantry at heir December meeting. The organization will be collecting donations at their December 8 meeting or by appointment at 630-550-8550. The December meeting will take place at 7:30PM at the Glenside Public Library, 25 E Fullerton in Glendale Hts and is open to the public. Donations accepted include non-perishable food items and gift cards. Those who wish to donate perishable items are encouraged to do so directly to the pantry, 123 Rosedale in Bloomingdale. The pantry’s hours are 8:30AM-noon and 1PM-4: 30 Monday through Friday."
How Un-Employment has Played Out by County
[This link to an animated map that I picked up at Prairie State Blue shows, county by county as the unemployment rate marches upward.  It is something you almost have to see to believe. - Bob]
The Cypress Times
"Former Nevada State Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R-NV), appeared yesterday on local conservative talk radio in Chicago before attending a fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in West Chicago thrown by heartland supporters wanting to replace Harry Reid (D-NV) with a qualified conservative. The enthusiastic crowd included Representative Mike Fortner (R-IL)."
Christian organization says 'Christmas parade' is constitutionally protected - Merced Sun-Star, Ca.
""It's ridiculous that the people of Merced have to think twice about whether it's OK to have a 'Christmas' parade. An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and are opposed to any kind of censorship of Christmas," said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. "City officials shouldn't self-censor the perfectly constitutional name of their town's Christmas parade because of unfounded beliefs spread by groups hostile to our nation's traditions."  The city was handed the parade this year after its longtime sponsors said they didn't have the energy to organize the event."
Workers Give Rite Aid CEO the Raspberry for Union-Busting - AFL-CIO
"A Rite Aid drugstore worker from California and enthusiastic supporters in New York City upstaged a corporate banquet where former first lady Laura Bush came to honor Rite Aid CEO Mary Sammons and other executives at a midtown hotel last night.  Protesters held signs and banners outside, and several went inside attempting to offer Sammons a free plane ticket if she would agree to visit 600 workers at the company’s regional distribution center in Lancaster, Calif., where continuing labor violations have drawn Rite Aid into a bitter nationwide conflict. For more than two years, workers at the distribution center have united in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) trying to achieve better pay and working conditions."
Drug-Makers Paying Off Competitors To Keep Cheap Generics Off Market - TPM
"The vehicle for these deals is patent litigation. When a generic drug is approved to come to market, the maker of the more expensive name-brand drug sues the generic for patent infringement. But instead of a conventional settlement, in which the generic pays the patent-holder to settle the claim that it infringed the patent, the payment goes the other way: the patent-holder pays the maker of the generic, in exchange for a pledge to delay bringing the generic to market."
Judd Gregg Lays Out Maximally Obstructive GOP Game Plan On Health Care - TPM
"Every Republican senator should be familiar with the scope of these rights, which serve to protect our ability to speak on behalf of the millions of Americans who depend on us to be their voice during this historic debate."  Gregg says Republicans should be prepared to filibuster every motion, "with the exception of Conference Reports and Budget Resolutions, most such motions are fully debatable and 60 votes for cloture is needed to cut off extended debate.""


02 Dec  

Around and About in West Chicago - 02 Dec 2009

  • Tiny Holiday Gift Box
  • Kooper’s Kandy Kane Mishap
  • Frosty Fest
  • Live Nativity, Christmas Concert and Cookie Walk
  • Thomson Correctional Center
  • Late Payment Bill Becomes Law
  • Not the Reform We Were Looking For
  • Going Through Your Closets? Don't Throw Away Those Winter Coats!
 Advent Season
  • December 2 - 7:00pm...........Soup Supper starts at 6pm
  • December 9 - 7:00 PM ........Soup Supper starts at 6pm
  • December 12 - 5:30 PM Christmas Choral Celebration
  • December 16 - 7:00 PM.........Soup Supper starts at 6pm

Christmas Season

  • December 24 - 5:30 PM (Christmas Eve)
  • December 24 - 11:00 PM (Christmas Eve)
  • December 25 - 10:00 AM (Christmas Day)
  • December 31 - 7:00 PM (New Years Eve)
  Soup, Sandwiches and Caroling to the Homebound
"The First United Methodist Church and First Congregational Church invite the community to share a soup and sandwich lunch followed by caroling to the homebound on Sunday, December 13, 2009. Activities will immediately follow the service that starts at 10:00 a.m. at 643 E. Washington St., West Chicago. Please bring a plate of your favorite sandwiches to share for the lunch immediately following the service. Soup, sides and beverages will be provided. Caroling to the homebound will begin after lunch. Participate in worship, enjoy the fellowship during lunch and sing all your favorite Christmas songs to the homebound. For more information call 630-231-5049 or visit the website at"

West Chicago
High School
Reminder for Market Day Orders
"The holidays are quickly approaching. Please help support our student organizations by placing orders with Market Day. December's Market Day profits will benefit the Skills USA student organization.  The next Market Day pick up will be Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm. You must place your order by: Monday, December 14th at 11:00pm CST. Pick up time is 5:00-5:45 pm in Commons.  Click on the following website to access Market Day to place your order: Our School is listed as Community High School Activities - Account #6816.
Wonderful & Wearable Art at Gallery 200
"Gallery 200, the creative oasis at 200 Main Street in downtown West Chicago, will feature an eclectic selection of handmade jewelry and accessories crafted by local and area artists for the month of December. An Opening Reception, at which you can meet the artists, will be held on December 4, 2009 from 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m., and is open to the public"
Printmaker to display works at Fermilab gallery
"The Fermilab Art Gallery presents "Dissimulation" by Peter B. Olson, on display starting Friday, Dec. 4, through Feb. 26. A lecture will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, in Curia II of Wilson Hall.  It is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Fermilab Art Gallery in Wilson Hall."
Crystal Lake,IL
Police to escort fallen soldier home
"Several squad cars from the Illinois State Police, Crystal Lake Police and South Elgin Police led the procession that began when his remains arrived Wednesday morning at DuPage County Airport. More than 25 members of the Patriot Guard Riders then followed on their motorcycles, many of their faces red from the cold."
Would-be GOP successors split with Kirk on Gitmo detainees
"Kirk, a five-term lawmaker who’s running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, previously had said moving the detainees to Thomson Correctional Center would make Illinois "ground zero for jihadist terrorist plots.” The GOP candidates running in the Feb. 2 primary in the 10th Congressional District disagreed.  "I don’t fear that they’re going to escape from a maximum security, a super-max facility," Robert Dold, a Kenilworth small business owner, told the Tribune editorial board. "That’s not my concern.""
State waging chemical war on Asian carp tonight
"Declaring "it's times to man the barricades," state officials are waging chemical war today on Asian carp in a six-mile stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, a last-ditch effort to contain the spread of the invasive fish into Lake Michigan."
Hynes: Innovation key to increasing jobs
"With unemployment rising, Democrat Dan Hynes is promising to bring more jobs to Illinois by encouraging innovation, particularly in transportation, agriculture and other fields where the state has a strong track record."
Quinn: Consider video gambling at race tracks
"Racing officials say giving them video gambling machines could help make up revenue the state won’t get from communities that ban it.  But a state revenue forecasting agency isn’t sounding the alarm. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability says there’s no need to change its revenue forecast for video gambling."
Quinn defends early release of prisoners
"Quinn says the state is releasing prisoners in a "very prudent manner" and officials are monitoring them.  Inmates with a history of violence toward people are not eligible.  The Chicago Democrat says he wants to be "very cautious" about doling out early releases and he says he won't rush the program."
Rep. Foster Votes to Increase Oversight and Ensure Transparency in Spending of TARP Funds
"“I voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to ensure that businesses would continue to have access to their operating lines of credit, so that they would be able to remain in business and avoid layoffs,” said Foster. “Significant oversight and controls were attached to this program. As financial institutions utilize these funds, it is imperative that Congress and the American public have a transparent mechanism to hold these institutions accountable.”"
State Lawmakers Ask Congress To Invest In High Speed Rail - Progress Illinois
"When it passed a broader transportation and housing bill this past summer, the House appropriated $4 billion in new funding for high-speed rail initiative. (Reps. Peter Roskam and Mark Kirk voted in favor of an unsuccessful amendment to strip that money.)"
China sentences 5 church leaders to labor camp - Associated Press
"Five members of an unregistered Chinese Protestant congregation have been sentenced to two years in a labor camp following a police raid on their church, a monitoring group said Wednesday.  The report comes less than a week after five leaders of the same church in the northern province of Shanxi were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years on charges including illegal assembly, the toughest punishments against unofficial church leaders in more than three years."
[This is those dollars you spend at WalMart at work. - Bob]
New Report Shows Health Care Reform Will Lower Cost
"This week and next, union members, unemployed workers, faith leaders and community allies of health care reform will join together for roundtable discussions in key states like Indiana, Nebraska and Louisiana. They’ll share real-life stories about their experiences with the nation’s broken health care system and what we need to do to fix it."
Al Franken fallout has GOP fuming - Politico
“Sen. Franken has been proud to partner with both Republicans and Democrats to find common-sense solutions to the problems we face,” said Jess McIntosh, his spokeswoman. “He’s been working hard for Minnesota since he got here five months ago and has already introduced 10 bills — four of which were introduced with Republican co-sponsors, and two already passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support.”
01 Dec  
Wheaton woman brings Mary to life this Christmas
"The Wheaton resident has performed the drama she wrote 16 years ago more than 200 times in the United States, Brazil and the Philippines. Over the next two weeks, she will perform it locally for churches in Medinah, Wheaton and West Chicago."
Fermilab has no hard feelings toward lab that bested it
"Fermilab lost its title Monday as the world's most powerful accelerator.  But instead of being hurt or jealous, officials at the federal laboratory in Batavia say they are thrilled.  "Extremely happy" is how Young-Kee Kim, the lab's deputy director, described the mood after the new Large Hadron Collider, located on the French-Swiss border near Geneva, bested Fermilab's eight-year-old record. "We are a big part of the LHC.""
"Shades of Crimson" Poinsettia Display at Cantigny
"About 300 people visited the Cantigny Park greenhouse on Dec. 1 to view of sea of poinsettia plants. The dazzling "Shades of Crimson" display is a holiday tradition at the Wheaton estate."
Relay For Life Of West Chicago/Warrenville Begins Planning Celebration of Cancer Survivorship
"Initial plans call for the popular American Cancer Society fundraising and awareness event to move from West Chicago Community High School to the DuPage Airport Flight Center, 2700 International Drive, West Chicago, in order to accommodate more participants and diverse entertainment including a battle of the bands, giant birthday party atmosphere, games and other awareness activities."
Quinn appoints panel to improve education
"The panel's work begins as Illinois competes for the $4 billion in federal grants that are to be doled out to states with a demonstrated commitment to reforming low-scoring schools, raising standards and improving teacher quality. Illinois could qualify for between $200 million and $400 million of the so-called "Race to the Top" funds, according to the U.S. Department of Education."
Quinn may form school discipline commission
"Quinn said Monday he read with “interest” a report by The Associated Press that shows blacks account for half of all student suspensions even though they make up only one-fifth of the enrollment.  The Chicago Democrat said it’s worth considering a special commission to look at the issue."
Quinn to visit troops in Germany
"Quinn announced Monday he is scheduled to leave Dec. 22 and visit the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to deliver holiday cards to wounded soldiers.  The governor has asked schoolchildren around the state to make cards as part of the Illinois' Heroes holiday card drive."
Church Still Seeks Changes Before Same-Sex Marriage Vote - NBC Washington
"Local Catholic Church officials met with D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson Monday. The Washington archdiocese wants the Catholic Church exempted from having to pay spousal benefits to any gay employees -- as the church doesn't recognize gay marriage -- and hopes to avoid being forced to handle gay adoptions.  The church warned that its social service arm -- Catholic Charities -- may have to withdraw from millions of dollars in public services to the poor and homeless that it provides if the legislation goes forward."
Wal-Mart's Chinese Suppliers Subjecting Workers To "Illegal And Degrading Conditions"
"The company expects product suppliers to adhere to “rigorous standards,” but according to the report workers were underpaid, sanitation was poor, and overtime was excessive. The report notes that Wal-Mart is kept in the dark about the conditions at the factories due to plant managers falsifying paperwork and strong-arming employees into lying."
CBO: Health Care Reform Will Lower Out-Of-Pocket Burden For Most Consumers - TPM
"According to CBO, average premiums in the individual market would increase 10 to 13 percent because of provisions in the Senate health care bill, but, crucially, most people (about 57 percent) would actually find themselves paying significantly less money for insurance, thanks to federal subsidies for low- and middle-class consumers, than they would under current law."



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