Source Click on the title to read the article at its original source.

31 Mar


Foster gets support of Provena hospital CEO for health care vote
"Provena Health is a Catholic health system with six hospitals.  Witt said more than 33 percent of the patients the hospitals treat have no health insurance because they cannot afford it or make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. As a result, Witt said, many people use the emergency room for their medical needs because they have no primary doctor."
Foster cast vote for average American - Doug May
"I would like to commend Congressman Bill Foster for his recent vote in support of the health care bill that was passed in Congress. This bill puts an end to some of the worst practices of the health insurance industry... Congressman Foster heard an earful from both sides on this issue, and in the end, cast a vote for average Americans and didn't side with the insurance lobby."
Durbin: Need foreclosure fix
"The Elgin man was one of four NHS clients who shared an experience with Dick Durbin on Tuesday when the state's senior U.S. senator paid a visit to Elgin to see firsthand how the foreclosure crisis is affecting average Americans. Durbin toured an east-side neighborhood and met with clients of NHS facing foreclosure or who have been saved from losing their homes."
Exploding ammo hinders fire crews in Wayne Twp.
"The garage was engulfed in flames upon firefighters' arrival and initial efforts to extinguish the blaze were hampered because several rounds of ammunition stored in the garage were periodically exploding, according to reports.  The homeowner had stored ammunition for target practice and hunting in his garage..."
Foster stands by health care vote
"So his vote to approve the health care reform bill, the Geneva Democrat said, would likely be the most important vote he'd ever cast -- and one that will affect hundreds of thousands of Americans who are in need of medical attention... "The pending bill is imperfect," he said, quoting a member of the American Medical Association. "But, we cannot let perfect be the enemy of good.""
Coyotes found with mange, human-prepared food
"All five of the captured coyotes had various stages of mange, ranging from slight to severe. In addition, three of the coyotes were determined to have cooked vegetables, dog food, cat food or bread in their digestive systems. The presence of these foods suggests that the coyotes were being fed by residents, according to city officials."
week 5 Pedal4Peace (2 of 2) - Bike Across the United States to Raise Funds
"The 6-week journey of Dave Runyan and Mike Terrones will take place across the “southern transcontinental route”, covering southern sections of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and northern Florida. Arrival at the finish line in St. Augustine, FL is projected for April 10, 2010."
Bookkeeper accused of stealing $300,000 from church
"George Valdez is accused of spending more than $5,000 in church funds on White Sox tickets, and more than $5,000 on Bears tickets; placing his family on the church health plan without paying premiums; spending $2,500 on hotel rooms; and putting up to $20,000 into his personal bank and credit card accounts."
Wayne man pleads guilty in crash that killed best friend
"Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, 19, could face up to 14 years in prison for the accident that killed 18-year-old Cameron Godee of West Chicago.  Lorusso was driving his Ford Explorer SUV about 77 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone when he lost control on a curve and struck a mailbox and two trees along Royal Fox Drive in St. Charles about 3:20 a.m. on June 14, 2009, Assistant Kane County State's Atty. Dave Belshan said."
Egg thrower gets new jail sentence
"A Naperville man who was jailed last week for throwing a raw egg at a DuPage County judge completed his sentence today, only to be told he was being returned to his cell for failing to heed orders to pay long overdue child support."
Four more UI units under budget review
" Those units are the Police Training Institute, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, UI Extension and various biological programs. The letters forming investigative teams went out this week.  In February, the state budget crisis and then-$475.5 million funding backlog for the UI caused interim Chancellor Robert Easter and Richard Wheeler, acting vice chancellor for academic affairs, to order the first reviews."
Quinn focuses on immigrant, labor efforts
"Quinn on Tuesday signed an executive order formalizing the Governor's Office of New Americans at a multicultural center on Chicago's South Side. He says Illinois wants to be a "welcoming place" for immigrants."
Fair Map coalition still looking for support
"The Illinois Fair Map Coalition decided Monday to extend its self-imposed deadline to collect petitions from March 31 to April 16.  The coalition wants to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow a nine-member commission to decide how the legislative districts are drawn.  Right now, the legislature has control of the redistricting process, which is done every 10 years based on census results."
Gay Jesus Play Canned at Texas School - CBS
""This has never been a battle between the homosexuals and the Christians," Harris said. "This has been a battle about the defamation of the name of Jesus Christ and I don't care if it had been a tobacco-chewing cowboy, I would've fought just as hard."   John Otte, the student director of the production hoped the play would serve as a lesson for tolerance."
Tobacco Workers Demand Justice at R.J. Reynolds - AFL-CIO
"For nearly three years, FLOC has asked Susan Ivey, CEO of Reynolds American, the parent of R.J. Reynolds, the nation’s second-largest tobacco company, to meet and work toward ending the abuses that occur in the tobacco fields. To date, Reynolds has refused to even speak with members of FLOC."
GOPer Kirk Backtracks On Pledge to Repeal Health Care Reform - TPM
"Back in January, when he was still competing in the Republican primary, Kirk signed the Club For Growth pledge to repeal the bill if it were to pass. Two weeks ago, before the bill was about to pass, Kirk declared strongly: "And so, as your senator, I would lead the effort, if it passes, to repeal this bill.""
The old America is fading - Garrison Keillor, Salon
"Back in the day, you glanced at a couple newspapers and a handful of magazines and that was it, your duty was done, you had the evening free to sit on the porch and jiggle the ice in your glass and talk slow sensible talk with the friends and neighbors. But now, if you dare open your computer and go online, you are swept away into a vortex of surf and whirled around and around and when you finally gather the will to click Disconnect, you find that hours have passed. Weeks, perhaps. And you can't remember a bit of it."
Race and the U.S. Census: ‘Confederate Southern’ Whites Want Separate Category - Racism Review
"The Southern Legal Resource Center is calling on self-proclaimed “Confederates” to declare their heritage when they are counted in the 2010 Census. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the organization is urging white Southerners to declare their “heritage and culture” by classifying themselves as “Confederate Southern Americans”..."

30 Mar


Business HighLights - 31 Mar 2010
"This is the debut of the monthly column, “Business Highlights,” with news of openings of new businesses, change of business locations, receipt of awards by businesses, new offerings of products and/or services, and recognition of employees receiving awards and promotions within companies. The “publishing” date is the last Wednesday of each month."

Adam Pineda March 31st, 2010
"Adam Matthew Pineda, 22 of West Chicago, passed away March 28, 2010. He was born April 21, 1987 in Winfield. He was a graduate of West Chicago Community High School, and employed by Power Packaging. He is survived by his loving parents Eduardo and Mary Kay nee Young; dear brother of Edward T. and Ashley ..."
PowerPlay Beyond School Grant
"West Chicago Park District was one of the 19 recreational agencies in Illinois to receive the PowerPlay Beyond School Grant from the Illinois Association of Park Districts. The grant program involves the implementation of a model program focusing on health, nutrition and recreation for children ages 5 through 13."
West Chicago Sister City FREE MOVIE - "SISSI"
"The Sissi triology is a Cinderella story in beautiful detail. We present thefirst of the three parts. Sissi - the younger years.  Sissi (her nickname) was born in Bavaria - later to become the Queen of Hungary and Empress of Austria.  Romy Schneider plays Sissi. You might think of The Sound of Music when you view this film."
No going back on CN's purchase of EJ&E, LaHood says
"Federal aid alone won't pay for meaningful highway projects these days, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday during a visit to the suburbs.  Instead, tolls and public-private partnerships in addition to government funding are the wave of the future when it comes to transportation improvements, he noted."
Illinois falls short in Race To The Top
""Comprehensive, coherent, statewide education reform is necessary and any additional funds allocated to achieving that goal are welcome and needed," Muhammad said."
West Chicago Park District receives grant from Illinois Association of Park Districts
"West Chicago Park District was one of the 19 recreational agencies in Illinois to receive the PowerPlay Beyond School Grant from the Illinois Association of Park Districts.  The grant program involves the implementation of a model program focusing on health, nutrition and recreation for children age 5 through 13."
Exploding ammo greets firefighters at home near Bartlett
"Firefighters responding this morning to a blaze at a home inbartlettfire1.jpg an unincorporated area of DuPage County near Bartlett were greeted with the sound of gunfire.  It was ammunition stored in the garage going off from the heat of the fire, officials said this morning."
[I post this because a couple months ago I asked Chief Ackerman, "If you have more than a ton of ammunition/explosives in your basement, are you required to notify the Fire Department?"  He said no. City Hall didn't respond to calls at that time. - Bob]
Quinn brings running mate to UI campus
"Gov. Pat Quinn told a group at the UI on Monday that having a university educator on his ticket demonstrates his support for education in the state of Illinois.  “Education is the key to our future,” Quinn said."
Kirk isn't saying if he wants health care repealed
["The congressman who's running for Obama's old Senate seat says the GOP failed to block the legislation that's now the law of the land. Like all the other House Republicans, Kirk voted against it.  Now, he says it's his job to explain what it means to his constituents.  Kirk's health care opposition has become a signature issue in his race against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias (jeh-NOO'-lee-ehs)."
[Readers are reminded of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow taking on Rep Kirk yesterday (Rachel Maddow Calls Out Congressman Kirk) for his apparent flip-flop.  - Bob]
Today is Women Veterans Recognition Day in Illinois
"The "Salute to Women Veterans" event includes a resource fair featuring organizations that serve the needs of female veterans.  The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center Women's Health Clinic, Bogan Quarters, Inner Voice and the Illinois Department of Employment Security are among the participants."
Judge lifts restraining order on Illinois abortion notification law
"In reading his decision, Cook County Judge Daniel Riley said the law is “an unfortunate piece of legislation” that discriminates between minors who choose to give birth and those who choose to have an abortion.  The judge, however, also found the law constitutional. Riley said he would grant a stay, or grace period, on enforcement pending the conclusion of appeals in the Illinois Appellate Court."
Urge your State Representative to oppose SB 2494! - ACLU
"Sponsored by Senator James Meeks, this bill would allow payment of public taxpayer funds to private religious schools, by means of tuition vouchers to certain parents. Those schools would be free to use these funds to pay for religious indoctrination, including the construction of worship spaces, the purchase of religious books, and the hiring of religious instructors."
In Quick Retreat, Insurers Say They’ll Cover Sick Kids After All - AFL-CIO
"Arrogance allows you to do just about anything and think you can get away with it. For years, health insurers have swaggered about, callously raising premiums through the roof, dropping sick people from coverage and refusing to cover folks with pre-existing conditions. They got away with it. But not yesterday.  After media reports surfaced that big insurance companies claimed a loophole in the new health care reform law would allow them to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, the—well you know—hit the fan."
C-Span Caller Rails Against Black Callers (VIDEO) - TPM
""You have black folks calling in on the Republican line, independents. And you have so many of 'em I can't believe this is just an accident. If you keep on with the way you've been programming, you should change your name from C-Span to black-span," he said... We found evidence at the time that the call could be a prank. Today's caller doesn't sound like the same person to us, but it's worth remembering that C-Span may have been crank called in the past."
SpitGate: It Was Just Projectile Drool, I Swear!  - TPM
"Well, below is new video of the alleged spitting. I admit, it's pretty hard to tell if the enraged Tea Bagger intentionally spit on the Congressman. But some highly suspect circumstantial evidence clearly exists: (1) Cleaver obviously is either a great physical actor or some "spit-like" fluid definitely hit him in the face as he passed the protester, causing his entire body to jerk away from the accused ..."

29 Mar

CableCom Programming Schedule Channel 17 West Chicago, Illinois - FaceBook
"Another new program debuts this week on Channel 17. Tune in Mon, Wed and Fri at 8PM to see the long-awaited Railroad Days Music '08.  The WEGO Dist. 33 Budget Town Hall programs will be repeated this week (Spanish version Tues & Thurs at 6:30PM, English version Tues & Thurs 7PM). Also, the City of West Chicago has asked... ...Channel 17 to repeat the broadcast of The Urban Coyote with the advent of Spring. You can see that very informative program this week at 7PM on Mon, Wed and Fri.  It's going to be an entertaining and informative week on Channel 17, please tune in.
Still teaching at 67? School, union leaders question pension reform
""Probably the most concerning part of the reform for me, is that it happened in such a knee-jerk fashion. This really should have happened a long time ago. We end up now having to do strong reactionary measures instead of what could have been planned and paced and controlled changes," West Chicago District 33 Superintendent Ed Leman said Friday."
DuPage towns take different budget paths
"Multimillion dollar deficits are the common binds of most DuPage County municipal budgets, but leaders in those communities are implementing a variety of solutions to balance the books... Some communities, such as Aurora, Wood Dale and West Chicago, reported no budget gap this year."
Springfield group claims Foster poll credit
"Foster's camp took aim at the robocall Thursday, charging that it did not allow people to register votes of support. According to e-mails and calls sent in to both Foster's campaign and district offices, the poll looped back on itself when a "more likely" vote was entered.  Those charges take on new dimensions given some of We Ask America's organizational ties."
Mayor Mike Kwasman Receives Community Champion Award
"Commitment to public service for over 23 years has earned Mayor Mike Kwasman the honor of Community Champion by the West Chicago Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The award was bestowed on him at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner held on Wednesday."
Quinn, Simon to launch campaign at UI today
" Their UI appearance is one of several stops Quinn and Simon will make on Monday, according to George Sweeney, a spokesman for the Quinn campaign.  They are also slated to speak in Chicago, Rockford, Moline, Cahokia and Carbondale."
Ruling expected in Ill. abortion notification case
"The ACLU sought the order. The group claims enforcement would cause "significant and irreversible harms" for some girls.  The attorney general's office says the ACLU's arguments are weak and has motioned to dismiss the order.  The law requires doctors to notify the guardians of a girl 17 or younger 48 hours before the teen gets an abortion."
'Marijuana club' operator plans to leave state
"“I told him that I was going to open a medical marijuana dispensary and that I was going to dispense marijuana to patients,” Carriere recalls. “He said he would have to distance himself from that. If he would have simply said, ‘If you do that, I’m going to arrest you,’ none of this would have happened.”"
State can take years to penalize doctors
"Sue Hofer, spokeswoman for the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said the state can’t act until criminal cases are adjudicated and all possibility of appeal exhausted. She also said that scheduling issues and delays in discovery can prolong the process. And she noted the state has the authority to act fast if there’s reason to believe patients are in imminent danger."
Rachel Maddow Calls Out Congressman Kirk On His Repeal Pledge - Alexi Giannoulias
"MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Congressman Kirk's pledge to repeal the health care reform law and his continued silence on the issue."
[Mr.Giannoulias posted the link to this on his Face Book page. - Bob]
Christian faith: Calvinism is back - Christian Science Monitor
"Now come the New Calvinists with their return to inviolable doctrines and talk of damnation – in essence, the Puritans, minus the breeches and powdered wigs. Is this just a moment of nostalgia or the beginning of a deeper revolt against the popular Jesus-is-our-friend approach of modern evangelicalism? Where, in other words, is Christianity going?"
Obama Uses Recess Appointments for NLRB and Other Blocked Nominations - AFL-CIO
"Becker and Pearce, two highly qualified and respected labor lawyers, were nominated in July and received Senate Judiciary approval, but Senate Republicans blocked final approval.  Last week, activists made thousands of calls to the White House asking the president to overcome the Republican obstruction in the Senate with recess appointments."
Health care: How will you be affected by reform changes? - Atlanta Journal Sentinel
"Every American will be affected in some way by the coming changes to the nation's health care system. Some people will have greater access to care at more affordable prices. Some will retain their current coverage but keep a wary eye on how their health insurance premiums change. Others will feel the greatest effect on their pocketbook as taxes and fees designed to encourage near-universal coverage – and to help pay for it – take hold. Here are how the changes could affect some typical Americans."
The Rage Is Not About Health Care - NY Times
"Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too."
The Teabaggers And Me - Oklahoma Observer
"What this group is doing is tantamount to urban terrorism. Attacking duly elected officials because of legitimate legislative positions. It is an effort to intimidate the democratic process. It is an attempt to replace the ballot box with threats of violence. The GOP MUST disavow these people or the republic is in deep peril, a peril of the GOP’s making."

26 Mar

Board Briefs - March 18, 2010
  • Board - “Our district, like many others, is facing severe financial difficulties. The Board is extremely disappointed that, given the state of elementary education funding in Illinois, the teachers’ union believes it can do absolutely nothing to assist."
  • Teachers - "There have been numerous instances in the past and present where ETAWC has worked with you for the financial good of District 33, and undoubtedly there will be future opportunities for such collaboration."
Tango Argentina Club
"Formerly an internet radio show with an international audience hosted by the Carrasco’s, the Club will now take root at 179 W. Washington Street in downtown West Chicago. It will offer a weeklong schedule of dance classes which, in addition to tango, will include ballet, tap, ballroom and belly dancing."
Community Champion Award
"Kwasman’s public life, which began as a trustee for the Fire Protection District, included productive terms serving on the Plan Commission, Environmental Commission, DuPage County Sheriff’s Merit Commission, and as 5th Ward Alderman on the City Council before becoming Mayor..."
Pastel Pals
"Life’s travels often take people in unexpected directions, with pursuits of the heart taking a back seat to careers, families and unexpected situations. A common journey to return to their passions for art has united the ten women of “Pastel Pals”, the Featured Art exhibit at Gallery 200 during April 2010."
Latino leaders protest at UPS Addison
"By the end of the month, UPS employees must submit new I-9 forms that will be used to validate their legal work status through the government's E-Verify system. As a federal contractor, UPS is required to use E-Verify for all new hires and any employee doing "direct, substantial work" under the federal contracts. Employers may also opt to verify the entire work force.  "The choice by UPS to run E-verify on workers with seniority will result in hundreds of jobs lost in the Latino community, both here in DuPage County and across Illinois," organizers wrote in a letter submitted to UPS."
Joliet Diocese names schools chief
"In his new post, he will oversee operations for the diocese's 54 elementary schools, seven early childhood centers and seven high schools. He will be responsible for implementing the strategic plan for Catholic Schools announced early this year to cope with enrollment declines."
[Will this impact the decision to close St.Mary's? - Bob]
Pelicans drop in at Nelson Lake
"It took some doing for Jennifer Duncan and her husband to convince her mother Marie Moulton that she wasn't kidding about the giant birds down the street. Who could blame Duncan, a 47-year-old North Aurora resident? Pelicans with nine-foot wingspans in a Kane County pond aren't exactly an everyday occurrence."
Bridges a big part of west suburban summer construction season
"The project will extend south from North Avenue in West Chicago to Batavia Road in Warrenville and last from April to July...The $3.89 million Illinois 59 resurfacing is one of dozens of road projects planned for the western suburbs this summer. The work, which ranges from widening, resurfacing and reconstructing streets to replacing bridges, is expected to make navigating the area even more difficult."
Chicago Flooring Companies Cycle for Children’s Charity
"On January 25 Mr. David’s Carpet of West Chicago presented a check for $22,123 to the Central DuPage Health Foundation. The pediatric unit at the hospital benefited when employees of a number of flooring companies in the Chicago area got together for fun and fitness in the 1st Annual Mr. David’s Bike Challenge."
Turner not giving up fight yet for lieutenant governor slot
"State Rep. Art Turner of Chicago is still working today to persuade Democratic colleagues that he should be the party's candidate for lieutenant governor, even though Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to announce this afternoon that he wants his running mate to be Sheila Simon, the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon."
Bill OK'd by House would ban funding for Blago portrait
"The House today voted 85-23 for House Bill 5109, which would prevent state funds being used for a Statehouse portrait of a governor impeached and removed from office."
Gov says he'll be conservative on pension savings
"At a Statehouse news conference today, Quinn said the administration will stick with an estimated $300 million in savings that he built into his budget proposal earlier this month.  The legislature's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability thinks the changes could save the state anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion next year."

[Be sure to notice the blue column on the right titled "Highlights from Senate Bill 1946" which includes the statement, "The maximum salary that could be used for determining benefits is $106,800."  This is gigantic!!! - Bob]

School groups: Education layoffs may top 20,000
"Those layoffs could be canceled if schools get additional money. Education advocates want state officials to raise taxes.  The groups include the Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association and more."
Senate, House OK crackdown on extreme speeders
"Under Senate Bill 3796, approved 53-0 Thursday, drivers who speed 30 to 40 miles per hour above the speed limit could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, rather than merely a ticket and fine. Those who drive faster than 40 mph above the limit could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor."
Bill limits red-light camera tickets
"The measure, Senate Bill 935, provides that tickets wouldn’t be issued drivers who stop past a stop line or crosswalk in certain cases. It also would allow violators to see their offense via an online video.  Some opponents of the bill were not happy that lobbyists of red-light firms helped draft the legislation. Some lawmakers say ticketing drivers through red-light cameras have more to do with boosting local revenues than safety."
  • Quinn picks Simon; Turner not giving up
    "As expected, Gov. Pat Quinn Friday endorsed Sheila Simon for lieutenant governor, a choice that prompted warnings the governor risks angering black voters and weakening the Democratic ticket in November. Rep. Art Turner, the second-place finisher in the Democratic primary, said he will continue fighting for the job. The final decision will be made Saturday by state Democratic officials."
  • Quinn: Pension vote a 'political earthquake'
    ""A lot of taxpayers I have spoken to (said) it is very, very important for state government to show in a crystal clear manner that the state of Illinois is ready to cut costs,” Quinn said. “That was taken (Wednesday). This is the mother of all cutting spending proposals.”"
Enger worthy of support for state job - Dem Party of DuPage
"His recent history as a DuPage County Board member has demonstrated his passion for working for the rights of DuPage residents even when it may not have been the popular thing to do. Dirk voluntarily donates part of his salary to local charities and, along with Tony Michellasi, they are the only county board members who do that."

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 19 Mar 2010




Court Denies Conservative Pundit-Professor's Bias Claim Against University - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"More significantly as a matter of broader legal interpretation, the ruling that Judge Howard issued on Monday said Mr. Adams himself had caused his columns to be considered as work-related speech—rather than as outside speech clearly protected under the First Amendment—by including them in the package of materials he submitted in applying for promotion."
Personal Income Drops Across the Country  - Wall Street Journal
"Nationally, personal income from wages, dividends, rent, retirement plans and government benefits declined 1.7% last year, unadjusted for inflation. One bright spot: As the economy recovered, personal income was up in all 50 states in the fourth quarter compared with the third. Connecticut, again, had the highest per capita income of the 50 states at $54,397 in 2009. Mississippi ranked lowest at $30,103."
Some Long-Term Jobless to Lose Benefits - NY Times
"As Congress raced to leave Washington for a two-week recess, a single Republican senator, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, blocked a stopgap bill to extend jobless benefits, saying its $9 billion cost should not be added to the national debt.  As a result, some people who have been out of work for more than six months will at least temporarily lose benefits."
[Why don't they use the word, FILIBUSTER? - Bob]
Richmond Police Statement On Cantor Office Vandalism - TPM
"A preliminary investigation shows that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman."

25 Mar

DuPage's Enger among finalists for lieutenant governor
"Enger is a Marine who remains active in veterans issues. Quinn used the lieutenant governor's office to advance legislation assisting military personnel and their families before his ascension to the governor's office... Enger is considered a longshot by party insiders who point to state Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest as the front-runner."
Profile shows schools' finances slipping; things only to get worse
"Across the suburbs, districts have spent recent weeks laying off staff, slashing their budgets, and cutting arts programs, extracurricular and sports programs.  While the state was behind in payments to districts last year, school districts largely got the funds they were promised because the state was able to plug funding holes with federal stimulus funds."
State sued over school funding
"Although language in the Illinois Constitution calls for the state to provide the majority of school funding, the actual amount has been dropping for years.  In 1985, the state provided about 40 percent of schools' cost, Chapin said. That's now at about 25 percent."
Week 2 Pedal4Peace - Bike Across the United States to Raise Funds
"The day was perfect for biking--cool and sunny with big puffy white clouds.  Video was taken of Dave and Mike making their way along Interstate 8.  That was a 3-mile stretch leading to a 2-lane road and on into camp.  They finished the remainder of yesterdays planned 20 miles in 3 hours.  It was mostly uphill biking.  The elevation is now 3500 ft. and tomorrow they will climb up to 4200 ft. before being able to start the downhill ride that will level off at 20 ft. below sea level.  The group planned to reach Brawley, CA on Monday night. "
New Prairie Exhibit Opens at the City Museum
"The West Chicago City Museum will hold an opening reception for its newest exhibit, A Prairie Primer, on Friday, April 2nd from 6:00-9:00 p.m."
Tainted raw milk was sent to Chicago area
"Public health officials in Illinois are warning about possible dangers from contaminated raw milk
distributed from an Indiana dairy."
Quinn proposes fee hike for veterans' nursing homes
"Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a plan that would increase the cost of staying in Illinois’ four nursing homes for veterans by as much as 45 percent.  Quinn has asked lawmakers to approve a $400 per month increase. The plan is designed to bring in about $3.5 million to help operate the state nursing homes in Anna, LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy.  A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs says the current $929 monthly maintenance fee hasn’t been increased since 1979."
Pension reforms zoom to governor's desk
"“The average state employee retired today makes $20,000. This bill says that is too high.”  Bayer said the pension crisis is the result of the state underfunding the systems, not too-generous benefits.  We are going to saddle our children with debt, but also pensions they can’t live on,” he said.  Will Lovett of the Illinois Education Association said every surrounding state has more generous pension benefits for teachers."
Rep. Foster Votes to Put Americans Back to Work
"“Unemployment numbers remain unacceptably high, and I am focused on doing everything possible to create jobs so that my constituents can find the work they are so desperately seeking,” said Foster.  “As a former small businessman, I am pleased that this legislation creates a number of incentives for small businesses to hire additional employees, expanding their operations to spur our economy.”"
NPR Changes Abortion Language - NPR
"On the air, we should use "abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)" and "abortion rights opponent(s)" or derivations thereof (for example: "advocates of abortion rights"). It is acceptable to use the phrase "anti-abortion", but do not use the term "pro-abortion rights"."
California Working Families Out in Force to ‘Make Wall Street Pay’ - AFL-CIO
"The actions, part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide “Make Wall Street Pay” campaign, highlight the growing anger working families are feeling toward the large financial institutions that brought our economy to the brink of ruin and now aren’t paying their fair share to help us get back on track.  In Sacramento today, dozens of protestors, organized by the Sacramento Central Labor Council, rallied in front of Bank of America holding signs that read “Where is my bailout?” and “I am not your ATM!”"

24 Mar

Around and About in West Chicago - 17 Mar 2010
  •  “A Prairie Primer: an exploration of the intersections of art, history and stewardship,”
  • Friends of the Library Spring Egg Roll
  • Benny Bunny Bundles
  • Easter Activities and Worship Services

West Chicago
High School
"The recipients of the PAWS awards this month are a testament to the importance of hard work, perseverance, and community."
Close to $16,000 Raised for St. Baldrick's Foundation
"The community came out in droves to support the efforts of some brave souls who had their heads shaved to raise funds and show solidarity for kids with cancer at West Chicago's St. Baldrick's event, which took place on Sunday, March 21, 2010."
Crashes down since red-light cameras in
"Police have consistently said the goal of the cameras is to reduce traffic accidents, and the numbers have gone down. Each of the three intersections saw 10 crashes in the last six months. For the Farnsworth Avenue and Molitor Road intersection, that's an increase of one over those same six months in 2008 and 2009. But for New York and Farnsworth, that's a drop of 11, and for New York and Commons, a drop of six."
Illinois State Police to lay off 460 troopers
" Acting Director Jonathon Monken says the state police will also close five of its 22 regional headquarters by this fall. Those offices are in Carmi, Des Plaines, Litchfield, Macomb and Pecatonica.  Monken says the layoffs plus expected retirements could reduce the 2,000-trooper force by about 600 troopers."
State police closures to include office in Pecatonica
"“There will be significant consequences to public safety,” Monken warned.  “We expect an increase in traffic fatalities, increased exposure to terrorist threats in Illinois, an increase in gun and drug trafficking, in addition to the loss of an estimated $12 million in citation revenue for counties across the state,” he said."
House GOP seeks complete audit of Illinois government
"House Minority Leader Tom Cross said Wednesday he is introducing a resolution requiring Auditor General William Holland to review government from top to bottom.  He was joined by Adam Andrzejewski, who proposed a forensic audit during his unsuccessful campaign.  It's not clear whether the Democratic majority in the House would support the audit resolution."
State Capitol Q&A: Many opinions on lieutenant governor job
"Two proposals look to have the most realistic shots at advancing: House Speaker Michael Madigan’s constitutional amendment to eliminate the office completely by 2015; and a pair of identical bills that would force candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket in primary elections."
Rep. Foster Announces Health Insurance Reform Provisions That Will Immediately Go Into Effect
For example, seniors will start to see the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ close, small businesses can receive tax credits to make employee coverage more affordable and young adults will be able to stay on their family insurance plans until the age of 26.”
High court stays out of Mass. abortion clinic case - Assoc Press
"The justices offered no comment Monday in turning down an appeal from anti-abortion protesters who object to the state-imposed protest-free zone of 35 feet outside clinic entrances. Abortion opponents complained that the law violates their free speech rights and forces them into the street, where they've nearly been hit by cars while trying to dissuade pregnant women from entering the clinics."
The China Job Drain - Alliance for American Manufacturing
"The growth of the U.S. trade deficit with China since that country entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 has had a devastating effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy. Between 2001 and 2008, 2.4 million U.S. jobs were lost or displaced. Using a new model, the study by the Economic Policy Institute reveals a first-ever look at how the growing trade deficits cost jobs in every Congressional District, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. You can see data for all 437 districts by clicking on the states in the interactive map here."
The First Flip-Flop? Grassley: Look How Great This Health Care Bill Is - TPM
"At the start of the process, Grassley was expected to be among those Senators working to craft a bipartisan bill. But it wasn't long before he abandoned that effort, and helped to start the "death panel" meme heard at town halls across the country throughout last summer... Later on, Grassley joined with the Republicans in condemning the bill's medicare provisions."
With cheap food imports, Haiti can't feed itself - Assoc Press
""It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10. "I had to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else.""

23 Mar

Shirley Belding
"She was the beloved wife of the late Meric "Chip;" loving mother Rick (Audrey nee Raymond), Pam Belding and the late Jeffery; cherished grandmother of nine; proud great-grandmother of one; and dear sister of Virginia Krohn and Rena Weeks."
New Pilot Program at Pioneer School
"A new pilot program sponsored by the West Chicago Police Department and WeGo Together for Kids aims to provide after school activities for children in grades 4, 5 and 6. WeGo Clubhouse debuts on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 and is scheduled every Tuesday through May 26, 2010 from 2:45 – 4:30 p.m. at Pioneer School."
Foster, Bean: Health care law will help
"But the Senate bill is a good one for small businesses, according to Foster: It will provide a tax credit for small-business owners, which will help them provide health insurance for their employees. That, he said, was one of the things that sealed the deal for him."
Chicago high schoolers to demand better food at board meeting
"When school officials defend serving a daily menu of nachos, pizza, burgers and fries, they often say they're just giving students what they want.  But you wouldn't know it by listening to an angry coalition of high school students who plan to speak out on Chicago Public Schools meals Wednesday at the monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting."
Revenue officials promote free Illinois tax service
"State revenue officials urge taxpayers to seek free tax preparation assistance — particularly the 500,000 residents who received unemployment compensation in 2009 or those eligible for the tax credit.  Services are free for families who earned less than $50,000 and individuals making less than $25,000."
Illinois launches electronic birth records
"The department says hospitals will now handle birth records electronically instead of filing paper certificates.  Arnold says there are about 500 births every day in Illinois and “the efficiency of the new electronic systems should help us get birth certificates into the hands of parents sooner.”"
Madigan wants to toughen Illinois judiciary rules
"Madigan’s House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 57 would add a fourth eligibility requirement in becoming a judge and, for the first time, make them serve some time in the field before heading to the bench.  Specifically, judges would have to be a licensed attorney for at least 10 years before becoming a circuit court judge, 12 years before becoming an appellate court justice and 15 years before joining the state’s Supreme Court."
Quinn: Illinois won't stand in way of health care reform
"Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois won't try to block the health care reform that Congress has passed... Quinn, however, says he doesn't think opponents will win in court.  The reforms would expand Medicaid. Quinn says he doesn't think adding participants to the Medicaid rolls would add to Illinois' deficit. But he says cost estimates haven't been done yet."
Column: On campus, 'tolerance' and faith collide - USA Today
"Does religious freedom include the right to discriminate on the basis of gender, race or sexuality? Do authorities have the right to foist their values on religious groups through carrots and sticks such as meeting-space privileges and the threat of withholding funds? And, as more conservatives are asking these days, shouldn't that oft-proclaimed liberal principle of "tolerance" also be invoked to the benefit of tradition-minded Christians?"
Last Flatware Factory In U.S. To Close - Campaign for America's Future
"There's only one flatware factory left in the US, a former Oneida plant bought by Sherrill Manufacturing. In spite of the fact that there's a brisk market in flatware in the US, and that the facility is highly productive and state-of-the-art, the plant will be closed and 80 workers laid off."
CEO: Sherrill Manufacturing workers ‘don’t deserve’ to lose jobs - Oneida Daily Dispatch
"“The way that trade legislation has developed over the course of the last 20 years has put American manufacturing at an extreme disadvantage,” he said. “We need to protect of our workers’ safety and our environment and make sure that people have a fair wage down in the factory. But when we’re subject to those rules and regulations and the borders are then opened up to countries where none of that exists, nor is it followed, you have absolutely zero chance of being successful and that was done deliberately as a means of policy.”"

An Absence of Class in the G.O.P. - Bob Herbert - NY Times
"It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters."


22 Mar

Lots of talk, no action
"Gov. Quinn's solution is to increase taxes by 33 percent. Such an increase would represent a nearly $1,000 increase in taxes per household in Illinois. At a time when one out of every 10 individual in Illinois is unemployed and families struggle to make ends-meet, such a move would be irresponsible and shows nothing more than financial incompetence."
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Mar 22- Mar 28
"We now have the WEGO Dist 33 Budget Town Hall Meeting in Spanish this week at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. The English version will be rebroadcast right after. Check out the rebroadcasts of the Yesterday Today Marathon (Mon, Wed, Fri at 8:00pm) and The Heartland International Tattoo '09 ...(Tues and Thurs at 7:30pm). Keep and eye on the schedule for next week. We'll have another new program from a 'lost tape'."
Monthly Safety Messages
  • Relocation with Student Release Procedures
  • Drop, Cover and Hold
  • Lockdown vs. Restricted Access
  • Evacuation

West Chicago
High School
Art Chair Auction
"The Community High School Education Foundation is excited to be sponsoring an Art Chair Auction!  We are asking individuals, and groups, if they would like to decorate a chair.  These chairs will be auctioned off at the Autumn Flame event on September 25th, 2010."
Guidelines and Submission Form"
After Prom Fundraiser a Big Success
"On behalf of the ANL After Prom Committee ... Thank you to all those that attended this year's event and for your generous support in making the Silent/Live Auctions a success."
School districts suffer while state funds lag, but severity may vary
"Foundation formula: This type of funding formula applies to districts that have the least amount of local resources per student. Elgin Area School District U-46, Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300, West Chicago Elementary District 33 and West Aurora Unit District 129 are all foundation formula districts."
W. Chicago cops shave heads, raise over $13,000 for cancer research
""It's to let the community know that we are there and there is another side to us," he said. "We are out there to enforce the law and protect. This is just another way we can protect the community."  It's a fact of life for police officers that they often see children in horrible conditions when responding to calls. It's because of this that Peterson said children's cancer research was a cause that police could really appreciate."
Democrats select Lt. Gov. finalists
"Among those selected were General Assembly stalwarts like state Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest and state Rep. Art Turner of Chicago. Turner ran second in the February primary for the office to Scott Lee Cohen, who soon after surrendered the nomination amid a rash of unsavory personal disclosures.  In addition, Hoffman Estates resident Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was a runner-up in the primary for the post of state comptroller, Carbondale's Sheila Simon, daughter of former lieutenant governor and U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, were among the finalists."
Protests may be public, but they're not always news
"Despite that extremely evenly balanced story and picture, we received at least one complaint Wednesday for failing to cover a similar rally at Foster's Batavia headquarters. The common thread in complaints when we don't cover a particular demonstration is that we must agree with the other side, but our decisions are not nearly so calculating. Our approach to demonstrations includes such questions as how many people will be there, how many people will see them and wonder what they were doing, how urgent, interesting or unusual is the issue they're raising, and many others, no one of which determines on its own whether or how we will cover the event."
Suburban Representatives react to Sunday's vote
""Everyone who isn't personally suffering from the gaps in our health system knows someone who is," Foster said in an interview Sunday night. "Plus the current system is a huge loss of freedom. People who want to start a small business or move to another city or a job that fits them better are afraid they'll lose their health care.""
Foster yea, Biggert nay on health care
"Foster, a Democrat representing the 14th District, announced his decision to support the bill Sunday morning in a press release, saying the bill was "not perfect" but that it made many important improvements he supports. Foster's statement cited eliminating pre-existing medical conditions as a reason to deny insurance coverage, protecting and strengthening Medicare, and reducing the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years."
The Luck of the Draw! Moms In School is the Winner!
"Lori Chassee, a West Chicago Alderwoman and Lions Club member, learned of MIS when she attended a Lions luncheon meeting held at the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago where MIS is housed.  After joining 100(+) Women Who Care, Chassee submitted MIS as a nonprofit worthy of receiving this collective grant and successfully defended her choice for group selection. "
Mayor Mike Kwasman Issues a Community Challenge: “Take 10” and Help West Chicago Get What it Needs for the Next 10 Years
"I need you to join me in taking 10 minutes to complete and return your 2010 Census form. I challenge West Chicago to beat the Census 2000 return rate, and help ensure a brighter future for our community,” he said."
Court refuses second Asian carp injunction request
"Responding to the latest setback, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Michigan, released a short statement today that said, "This decision threatens the Great Lakes and the $7.5 billion fishing industry and the 800,000 jobs they support. We must act now, and immediately close the Chicago-area Locks to stop Asian Carp from reaching the Great Lakes.""
Bill would toughen punishment for extreme speeders
"The proposal, prompted by a Tribune investigation, bars judges from issuing court supervision for those going at least 40 mph over the speed limit. The supervision, a special kind of probation, keeps the driving record clean.  The language, drafted last week, must clear a powerful House committee before it can be considered for passage. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. John D-Amico, Chicago, said he expects the Rules Committee to vote on it this week."
Public can track grants on new state Web site
"The site — — allows users to find who received grant funding, where it was spent and for what purpose. Thousands of grants are administered by DCEO each year. Grant Tracker allows users to search all DCEO-administered grants that were active starting July 1, 2008."
Rep. Foster To Support Health Insurance Reform Legislation
“After thorough consideration, I have decided to support the health insurance reform legislation because it eliminates pre-existing conditions, protects and strengthens Medicare and will significantly reduce the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years."
Various Organizations Support Health Insurance Reform
"A variety of organizations support the health insurance reform legislation, including the following:"
Beware The GOP's "$2 Billion" Figure
"As the Senate bill is currently written, that figure is more or less accurate.  But it overlooks the fact that the Democrats plan to change the provision to better protect state budgets during the reconciliation process, as we wrote yesterday:"
Historic Health Care Reform Passes 219-210
  • H R 3590 RECORDED VOTE 21-Mar-2010 10:49 PM
  • QUESTION: On Motion to Concur in Senate Amendments
  • BILL TITLE: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 19 Mar 2010





GOP Lawmakers Use Christian Hate Radio To Concoct Conspiracies, Build Opposition To Health Reform - Think Progress
"The American Family Association (AFA) is a Christian hate group that mobilizes activists around the country to protest gays, Muslims, and other groups it views as either abhorrent or in violation of its narrow view of the Bible. Recently, AFA called for the military to purge all Muslims from the military. The group is perhaps best known for its annual Winter crusade, when AFA leads boycotts against retailers that greet customers with something other than “Merry Christmas.”"
Australian Senate rejects Scientology inquiry call - Assoc Press
"Australia's Senate on Thursday overwhelming rejected a call for an inquiry into allegations against the Church of Scientology made by former members who claim to have been abused, harassed or coerced into having abortions."
Holt Baker: Broken Immigration System Benefits Corporations - AFL-CIO
"Some 200,000 people turned out in Washington, D.C., Sunday for a massive rally in support of immigration reform. Among the speakers, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker thanked the organizers of the rally, saying: "NOTHING in this country is more powerful than people united for change. And do we ever need change. We are here, as a united labor movement to tell Congress that we MUST pass comprehensive immigration reform.""
Sean Hannity’s Freedom CONcert Scam
"In fact, less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes."

19 Mar

Site selected for Educare of West DuPage!
"District 33 and Educare of West DuPage are very pleased to announce a wonderful location for a state-of-the-art early childhood facility. The 4.2 acre parcel is on the corner of Forest Avenue and Pearl Road in West Chicago, at the south end of Pioneer Park. Ground breaking is targeted for mid-to-late summer with a planned opening of the new center in the summer of 2011."
Just three weeks left to purchase District 33 Foundation $10,000 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. Winners will be notified that evening by phone."
Adult Services Events at the Library

West Chicago
High School
Three Upcoming College Info Events
West Chicago HS Wins 1st Place in State LifeSmarts Competition
"Community High School in West Chicago recently hosted the 14th annual Illinois LifeSmarts Competition where it finished in 1st Place! Members of the team included: Tyler Austgen, of Carol Stream (Captain); Matt Kuly, of West Chicago; Devan Patel, of West Chicago; Pete Ciolino, of Carol Stream; and Tom Kaczmarczyk, of West Chicago."
Community Challenge - “Take 10”
"Mayor Mike Kwasman understands the importance of taking 10 minutes to mail back the Census form that was delivered to every household earlier this month. So much so, that he has issued a challenge to citizens of West Chicago. “During Census 2000, about 73% of households in our community mailed back their forms by the April 2000 cut-off. I need you to join me in taking 10 minutes to complete and return your 2010 Census form. I challenge West Chicago to beat the Census 2000 return rate, and help ensure a brighter future for our community,” he said."
West Chicago district announces new site for Educare
"The Educare building will sit on 4.2 acres at the corner of Forest Avenue and Pearl Road at the south end of Pioneer Park in West Chicago... "It's an excellent site. We are really excited because it is close to Pioneer Elementary, so it will be very easy to access for families and kids we'll be serving," said Theresa Hawley, president of Educare of West DuPage board of directors and a member of the Gustafson Family Foundation board."
State's high court rules against DuPage strip club in '06 crash
"The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a DuPage County strip club is liable for a 2006 alcohol-related car collision that killed a man from St. Charles and a pregnant woman from Yorkville.  The question was whether On Stage Productions Inc., operators of Diamonds Gentlemen's Club, is accountable for the crash that occurred when John Homatas, a 26-year-old from Wayne, drove away from the club in unincorporated DuPage County and collided head-on in Kane County with a vehicle driven by April Simmons, 27, killing her, her 8-month-old fetus Addison and his passenger John Chiariello, of St. Charles."
COD center to include restaurants, boutique hotel
"The college's proposed $25 million Culinary & Hospitality Center was unveiled Thursday at the board of trustees meeting. The proposal includes two working restaurants and a six-room boutique hotel. It also includes the usual academic trappings for such programs, but double the size of what's currently available at the campus."
Court: Strip club can be sued in fatal crash
"The Illinois Supreme Court upheld a December 2008 ruling by Illinois' 2nd District Appellate Court that found the owners of Diamonds Gentlemen's Club, 31W577 North Ave., also could be held liable in the case of John Homatas, who was sentenced in 2007 to 12 years in prison for driving drunk in the triple-fatal accident near Elgin."

Proposed early-learning center pinpoints West Chicago site
"Backers of a proposed $8.7 million early-learning center in West Chicago this week announced they plan to locate the 24,000-square-foot facility on 4.2 acres of city-owned land at the southeast corner of Forest Avenue and Pearl Road.  Educare of West DuPage long has worked to erect the center somewhere inside West Chicago Elementary District 33. The center would provide classes for 150 low-income and at-risk youngsters from birth until age 5."

Week 1 Pedal4Peace - Bike Across the United States to Raise Funds
"Funds raised will support three Christian organizations:  Camps Farthest Out North America, Camps Farthest Out International and the United Prayer Tower.  For  additional information read the summary article in TribLocal and for more detailed information visit The Hidden Peddler blog a or make a donation at or search Facebook Pedal4Peace."
Supreme Court to reconsider action on Asian carp today
"Supreme Court justices are again expected to take up the Asian carp issue behind closed doors today, considering a second appeal from Michigan officials to close navigational shipping locks in Chicago-area waterways.  If the justices side with Michigan, they could immediately force Illinois to close two shipping locks that are vital conduits for cargo shipping and boat traffic connecting the Great Lakes region with the Mississippi River."
Senate OKs creation of panel on high speed rail; bill moves to House
"The Illinois Senate voted 51-2 Thursday to create the Illinois and Midwest High Speed Rail Commission, a panel designated to recommend "the best governmental structure to design, build, operate, maintain and finance" a high-speed rail system in Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.  Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, hailed the Senate's approval of the legislation. "With this historic bill, Illinois would become only the third U.S. state officially planning for world-class bullet trains," said Sandoval, chair of the Senate transportation committee."
Senate again rejects required motorcycle helmets
"The Senate voted 19-32 Thursday on Senate Bill 2535, which would have required anyone under 18 who rides on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The measure needed 30 ‘yes’ votes to pass.  Similar proposals to apply to all riders have fallen short in previous years. Supporters hoped limiting the helmet requirement to minors would have better success."
House OKs ban on synthetic marijuana
"He said that it is a synthetic chemical sprayed on potpourri that is used for incense, but people found it could be smoked. Some side effects of K2 include a fast heartbeat, dangerously elevated blood pressure, pale skin and vomiting.  If it becomes law, simple possession of K2 would be a Class 4 felony subject to one to three years in prison. Producing or delivering K2 would be a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison."
Feds to buy Thomson prison even without detainees
""The Department has made clear, however, that it would be seeking to purchase the facility in Thomson even if detainees were not being considered for transfer there," assistant attorney general Ronald Weich wrote.  Gov. Pat Quinn already has agreed to sell the maximum-security prison to the Obama administration, but Congress has to both approve money for the prison and change current law that bars detainees from coming into the country for anything other than trial."
Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran? - NPR
""By the standards of the time, which is the 7th century A.D., the laws of war that are laid down by the Quran are actually reasonably humane," he says. "Then we turn to the Bible, and we actually find something that is for many people a real surprise. There is a specific kind of warfare laid down in the Bible which we can only call genocide."  It is called herem, and it means total annihilation. Consider the Book of 1 Samuel, when God instructs King Saul to attack the Amalekites: "And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them," God says through the prophet Samuel. "But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.""
After 60 Years, Time to Say ‘Yes’ to Health Care Reform - AFL-CIO
"Among other provisions, the bill:
  • Immediately stops greed-driven insurance company abuse such as denying care based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Toughens penalties on employers that try to run from their responsibilities.
  • Puts the burden of paying for health care where it belongs–on the wealthy.
  • Gets life-saving health coverage to 30 million more people and improves coverage for millions more.
  • Reduces prescription drug costs for seniors and saves money for small businesses."
The Tea Party and the Circus - Final Healthcare Reform Protest - NewLeftMedia
Virginia warns wife of Justice Clarence Thomas her group is violating law - LA Times
"Virginia consumer-protection officials have warned the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that her advocacy group is improperly soliciting contributions in the state.  In a letter to Virginia Thomas on Thursday, the state Office of Consumer Affairs directed Liberty Central Inc. to the Virginia law that requires groups to register with the office or request an exemption before seeking donations for a charitable purpose."
Running for Obama’s Old Seat, and Set on Derailing His Plans - NY Times
"Representative Mark Steven Kirk, the Illinois Republican who is hoping to win Barack Obama’s former seat in the United States Senate, has told supporters he intends to “lead the effort” to repeal President Obama’s health care legislation if it passes."

18 Mar

Volunteers shave their heads to show solidarity for kids with cancer
"In West Chicago, Detective Robbi Peterson has a head of hair that's worth some cash.  "He's got luxurious movie star-type hair," said Waylon Potts, police officer and organizer of the West Chicago event. "He's got a full long head of hair. He's never had his head shaved since he was a baby."  Peterson's tresses are the motivation behind many of those raising funds for the first event organized by the West Chicago Police Department. At least 29 people will be stepping up to get shaved, and more than $8,000 has been raised online so far."
DuPage Water Commission audit details cavalcade of errors
"The report chronicles the negligence of former financial administrator Max Richter, lackadaisical financial oversight by former General Manager Bob Martin and the internal division among the six municipal-appointed commissioners and the six county-appointed commissioners that helped keep the fiscal errors from being revealed."
"In August 2009, DuPage County adopted a resolution designating the County as an Economic Recovery Zone in accordance with The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)."
Illinois Supreme Court rules Provena must pay tax
"The Illinois Supreme Court ruled this morning that Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana did not provide enough charity care to qualify for a property tax exemption.  The widely watched ruling, which rejected the Catholic hospital's appeal of a tax review board decision to take away its tax exempt status in 2003, could set the stage for charity care expectations at hospitals around the country."
Hundreds have sought FOIA help from attorney general
"Nearly 400 public bodies have asked permission to withhold information because requested records are preliminary drafts or opinions exempt from disclosure or because release of documents would constitute an invasion of privacy. In addition, as of late last week, the public access counselor’s office in the attorney general’s office has received 273 requests to order records released after public bodies denied FOIA requests."
House strongly rejects electing U of I board
"Some lawmakers have tried for years to change back to a system of U of I board members being elected. Since the 1990s, nine board members are picked by the governor.  Gov. Pat Quinn cleared out most of the board last year after a scandal over improper influence in the admissions process that also prompted U of I’s top brass to step down."
Tea Party protests at Foster's office
"However, Elgin Tea Party Patriot leader Todd Hartwell said that the vote the event was designed to change isn't that of Foster, who was elected in 2008 on a platform that included health care initiatives.  Hartwell said the point was more to stir up voters going into an election season."
Bill would post photos of early release inmates
"Senate Bill 3411 would require the DOC to place a recent picture of the inmate on its Web site within three days of the inmate's release. The Web site would not only include the inmate's name and age, but also his or her physical attributes, address, the offense that was committed and the county where the conviction took place."
Rep Foster Alerts Constituents of Posting of Health Care Bill - FaceBook
"Bill Foster the final health insurance reform language has just been released and is posted on the House Rules Web site. Now it's time for me to read and evaluate the legislation - I encourage you to do the same!"
Health Bill's Medicaid Expansion Not a Strong Foundation
"Earlier Tuesday, Illinois Republican Congressman Peter Roskam said the legislation would strain the state's budget because it expands the Medicaid program to cover more uninsured.  "It is the expansion of welfare and it's not a good foundation upon which to move forward," Roskam said."
[After all his votes for tax loopholes for the idle rich, helping pay part of the cost for health care for the working poor is labeled welfare... incredible. - Bob]
On health care, listen to the nuns - Washington Post
"Fortunately, major Catholic leaders -- most of them women in religious orders -- have picked up the flag of social justice discarded by a bishops' conference under increasing right-wing influence.  On Wednesday, a group representing 59,000 Catholic nuns plus more than 50 heads of religious congregations issued a strong statement urging "a life-affirming 'yes' vote" in support of the Senate bill. "While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all," the statement said, adding that the bill's support for pregnant women represented "the real pro-life stance.""
Lincoln Attacks Arkansas Working Families; Families Don’t Blanche
"Lincoln in recent months has piled up a Senate record opposing working families–including voting to send jobs overseas via bad trade deals, reversing her initial support for the Employee Free Choice Act and opposing health care reform legislation with a public health insurance option. Arkansas unions now have endorsed Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D.) in the upcoming U.S. Senate primary. Says Hughes:"
New Analysis: 15% Cut in U.S. Carbon Emissions Achievable Through Simple Inexpensive Personal Actions - Environmental News Network
"Suggested behavioral changes in the study include: reducing unwanted catalog subscriptions, decreasing vehicle idling, using a programmable thermostat, replacing seven lightbulbs with CFLs, setting computers to hibernate mode, shutting off unused lights, and eating poultry in place of red meat two days per week. All of the recommendations offered in the study are available to be adopted immediately, at little or no cost, and will reduce not only emissions, but home energy, transportation and food costs as well."
WTF?!: NYTimes Fails to Report Fed Judge Finding on 'Unconstitutional' ACORN Defunding Legislation - Brad Blog
"On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 The BRAD BLOG posted breaking coverage about U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon’s finding that day, that the Congressional funding ban on ACORN was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Her finding included an order to resume federal funding to the community group which has been targeted by a years-long GOP smear campaign... It's now Wednesday, March 17 --- a full week since the historic ruling was issued by a federal judge (in New York, of all places) yet, not one word about the ruling has appeared in the New York Times, America's so-called "paper of record."
[Please note that Rep Roskam has, to my knowledge, not apologized for his intemporate comments and his vote for this unconstitutional law.   Please check the Oct archives for my challenge concerning this.- Bob]
[Still Waiting ...
Although my challenge to Republicans still has not resulted in a single link to an ACORN registered voter being convicted of voting illegally, in Some Criticize SEIU for Its ACORN Connections Peter Roskam is cited as stating "There's simply no place for a group so closely connected to ACORN to be part of something of such national importance as the U.S. Census,"  44,00 will die this year for lack of health insurance, but our Republican rep is too busy smearing an organization that has not resulted in a true voter fraud.... how sad.]
17 Mar Happy St. Patrick's Day
Around and About in West Chicago - 17 Mar 2010
  • Turner School - “Wizard of Oz
  • Coffee with the Mayor
  • Annual Egg Roll
  • Benny Bunny Bundles
  • Condolences to City Clerk Nancy Smith
Nuisance Animals
"Last year, the City entered into a wildlife management agreement with On Target Animal Control. The purpose of this agreement is to provide the residents of West Chicago with a service to remove wild animals from their residences."
CN gets mixed results on first report card
"The consultants' report released this week states "CN has initiated extensive communication with the affected communities" that in most instances "has been consistent with the board's conditions."  CN has signed mitigation agreements with 21 towns along the EJ&E in which it funds fixes for noise and safety concerns. Thirteen towns are holding out and of those, seven responded to the survey."
DuPage water commission treasurer resigns
"The resignations follow the completion of a forensic audit report detailing how the money was accidentally spent. The report has not been made public. Those who have seen the report said it pins much of the blame on former financial administrator Max Richter, who also resigned late last year. However, the report also suggests a lack of oversight led to the financial mistakes that have since caused the commission to take out a $30 million loan to cover reserves and pay bills."
Time to get serious on school funding
"Weakness has also been exposed in the heavy reliance of suburban schools on the property tax. Districts that have maintained some contingency funds have been able to spread out some of the pain of the present conditions, but this crisis has clearly demonstrated the importance of contingency budgets. Nor can we overlook a relationship between labor and the community that has left schools with mounting financial expectations and strict layoff rules."
Scholastic bowl team on a roll
"The St. Charles East Scholastic Bowl team completed its best season in 16 years, winning both the Upstate Eight Conference and the IHSA regional.  If they win the sectional, they will be one of eight teams to compete in the state tournament."
Quinn to sign bill changing primary date
"Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign legislation today to push Illinois' primary election back to March.  The 2 p.m. signing in the governor's Capitol office ends the state's experiment with a February primary after just two elections."
Quinn, Brady start attracting voters for Nov. election
"Quinn is courting union workers today. He’s scheduled to address the annual conference of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Springfield.  Brady, a state senator from Bloomington, hosted his first in a series of “listening tours” this week in Elk Grove Village."
Lobbyist registration back, fees still undetermined
"The state’s online lobbyist registration system had been shut down since January, while two lawsuits were heard that challenged major increases in lobbyist registration fees.  Secretary of State Jesse White reopened registration Monday after a federal judge ruled the fee increases unconstitutional. A similar case filed in Sangamon County Court is still being considered."
Illinois House member arrested for DUI
"Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Greenville, was arrested by the Macon County Sheriff's department about 8 p.m. Monday in Decatur.  Deputy Chief James Chervinko says Stephens' blood-alcohol content was 0.101. The legal limit is 0.08... Stephens, who has served most of the past 25 years in the House, was released Monday night from the Macon County Jail."
Internet video: Muslims must rise up in Nigeria - Associated Press
"The video shows television news footage and graphic images of those killed as a narrator tells viewers "the solution is jihad in the cause of Allah," according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.  "Negotiations, dialogues and protests will not stop the advancement of the enemies and their massacres," the narrator says. "Nothing will stop them but the sword and the spear."  The narrator also says the "crusader West" is interested in Nigeria for its abundant oil reserves."
Bigger Enforcement Hammer Saves Workers’ Lives - AFL-CIO
"What kind of message does it send to employers, workers and family members, that the death of a worker caused by a serious or even repeated violation of the law warrants only a penalty of a few thousands dollars?  It tells them that there is little value placed on the lives of workers in this country and that there are no serious consequences for violating the law."
GOP House Used Dreaded So-Called ‘Slaughter Rule’ 202 Times under Speakers Gingrich and Hastert - Pensito Review
"The GOP’s latest flog is the “self-executing rule,” also known as “deem and pass,” which they have cleverly branded the “Slaughter Rule”... When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively)"

16 Mar


West Chicago
High School
"This presentation is specifically for sophomore parents (students are welcome, too!), but other parents can attend if interested. Beginning at 7 p.m. CareerVision, a local agency that specializes in career exploration, will present “Backward planning - How to Choose a Motivating College Major”. Following the CareerVision presentation CHS counselors Susan Cisek and Gavin Engel will share information that was presented to our sophomore students during their Advisory. "
Student-of-the Month for February 2010
"The faculty and administration of Community High School would like to congratulate Angela Gentile, of West Chicago, for being chosen Student of the Month for February."
Are you up for the "Take 10" challenge?
"Residents must mail back their census forms between March 15, 2010 and April 15, 2010. The good news is that the 2010 Census questionnaire is one of the shortest in history – just 10 questions that take about 10 minutes to complete."
"Jeanne grew up in Chicago and attended Austin High School, and moved to the suburbs when she married, spending 25 years in West Chicago, and the last 8½ years in St. Charles. She is survived by her husband, Douglas Dall; six children, Nancy (Tom) Johns, Richard Browning, Kathryn Terpening, Kirk (Carrie) Dall, Victoria Serrato and Ginger (Dave) Farley; and two sisters, Nancy (Donald) Smith and Alice Ramien."
"The seven week course will meet every Tuesday evening starting April 13, 2010 from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. There is no fee for the course. Participants must be at least 18 years old or older, and either live or work in the City of West Chicago or the West Chicago Fire Protection District."
St. Baldrick's Event - WC Police
"Organizers add an exciting silent auction and raffle to benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Join all the fun and bid on exciting prizes like a one week stay in Hawaii (airfare not included), gift certificates from area businesses, sports memorabilia and more!"
  • U-46 teacher who recovered from in-school stabbing laid off
    "Carolyn Gilbert isn't the type to make waves.  After she was attacked by a 16-year-old student with a knife in January 2008, she lost her right eye, endured several surgeries and months of therapy.  But she never sued, never blamed the district or the school for what happened to her...  Yet last Friday Gilbert found herself in Principal Dave Smiley's office, learning she is one of hundreds of teachers being pink slipped by Elgin Area School District U-46 next year.  She feels betrayed."
  • District U-46 board approves layoffs for 1,037 employees

[As outlined by Reagan budget guru, David Stockman, the Republicans have now forced the financial crisis that will facilitate reducing the size of government.  This lady is more than the flotsam and jetsom in their wake... she is a person, who by dedicating herself to children, has incurred an obligation of the government to treat her with humanity and dignity. - Bob]

Foster not committing
"It remains unclear exactly what will be in the final health care package House lawmakers will soon get to see. But until all the details are made available, count Rep. Bill Foster, D-Geneva, in the undecided column."

Hultgren Responds - Facebook
""According to Foster spokesman Shannon O'Brien, Foster has no specific problems with the bill as passed by the Senate last December." So apparently Bill Foster has no problem voting for a bill that raises taxes, cuts Medicare and contains special interest deals like the Cornhusker Kickback."

Factchecking by Bob

  • Foster carefully does not say how he will vote, although Hultgren would have believe that it is "Yes"
  • Congressional scoring shows about $120 Billion saved over 10 years, not higher taxes.
  • The bill attempts to maintain Medicare services, only cutting waste, fraud, and Bu$h era giveaways to corps.
  • The small "fix it" bill to be passed under reconciliation is supposed to fix the money for Kansas manipulated by Reform OPPONENT Ben Nelson.
Park Forest
Chiropractor and Physician Among Three Defendants Indicted in Alleged $1 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
"The defendants allegedly illegally submitted false claims totaling more than $1 million to obtain payments from workers’ compensation and other insurers for services that were not provided and for inflated claims for services that were provided... The chiropractor, Darwin Minnis, 54, of West Chicago, owned and operated the clinic from at least 1998 through 2009. He was charged with 18 counts of health care fraud."
Audit: ISU lax in protecting sensitive information
"Holland says state auditors found sensitive information in unsecured recycling bins and garbage cans in a number of offices at ISU. Auditors also found problems with how the university handled sensitive data on old computers.  Such issues could have allowed university credit card accounts, personal health information and employee Social Security numbers to be misused."
Woman fights off attacker in late-night incident on UI campus
" Between 11:30 and midnight on Saturday, a woman was walking in the fifth floor hallway of the Music Building, 1114 W. Nevada St., U, when a man grabbed her from behind, according to a release from UI police.  The man came out from a stairwell door and put his arm around the woman's throat, the release said. When she elbowed and kicked the attacker, he ran away down the stairs.  The incident was reported Monday. The woman was not injured."
Quinn trying to sell tax increase to lawmakers
"He says Democrats who control the Legislature should vote to pass it on their own if that's what it takes.  Quinn says the income tax rate needs to go up 1 percentage point to avoid a $1.3 billion cut in education."
Madigan not sure about lt. governor selection process
"“We’ve been surprised by the number of applicants, but I think that it’s a good message to the Republicans that there’s a high level of interest in the Democratic Party of Illinois,” Madigan said. “At the end of the day, the process will be open, transparent, and I think that the governor and the Democratic Party of Illinois will be together.”"
Kirk hits air with first TV ad in Senate race
"The Giannoulias campaign was quick to jump on Kirk, calling him "another typical Washington politician." A campaign spokeswoman blasted Kirk for supporting former President Bush's "reckless" budgets that she says led to the country's recession."
Catholic Church, and religion in general, losing Latinos in USA - USA Today
""The biggest challenge the Catholic Church faces is the movement of Latino people not to other religions but rather to a secular way of life in which religion is no longer very important," he says. "We really need to ask ourselves why that is and what response the church can develop for this challenge.""
Workers’ Stories Put Face on Victims of Wall Street Greed - AFT-CIO
"I’m 51 years old and unemployed. I’ve worked 15 weeks in the last two years. They just cut off my unemployment benefits because some high and mighty senator decided he doesn’t like what’s being done with the extension on unemployment benefits to Americas unemployed. HE STILL HAS A JOB, HEALTH CARE AND A PRETTY GOOD RETIREMENT. What about the rest of America? How do we pay our bills? What do we eat? How do we pay for our medications that we need? Guess it’s not his problem, is it?"
Fraud Still At The Heart Of Wall Street - Baseline Scenario
"This sounds like a potential violation of Rule 10b-5 – you are simply not allowed to sell securities in the United States while withholding material adverse information, i.e., what any reasonable investor would want to know (like the true indebtedness of a government, when you are being pitched on a sovereign debt issue).  In fact, such actions are frequently considered serious fraud – at least when the people involved aren’t as powerful as Goldman Sachs."
15 Mar  
Holy Week at First United Methodist Church
"St. Andrew Lutheran Church and the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago will hold a joint Maundy Thursday Service, April 1, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. by sharing a symbolic Seder meal. The service will be held at St. Andrew Lutheran Church located at 155 Prince Crossing Road in West Chicago."
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Mar 15- Mar21
"See the City Council meeting live at 7pm on Monday (rebroadcast on Wednesday and Friday at 6pm). Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm catch the WEGO School District 33 Budget Town Hall Meeting. Also, we have another of the 'Lost Tapes' ready for viewing. See Railroad Days Activities '05 at 7:30pm on Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Also, visit us on Facebook at
Board Briefs - Committee of the Whole - March 4, 2010
"The Committee of the Whole meeting of the Board of Education was held on Thursday, March 4, 2010, beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Board Members in attendance: Mrs. Julie Pearson, Mrs. Karla Bruce, Mr. Dave Barclay, Mrs. Sue Stibal, Mrs. Deborah Ramsey, Dr. Chris Scheck"
Traffic Study Results in Reduction of Speed Limit
"A traffic and engineering speed study conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on Illinois Route 38 from east of Kautz Road to Town Road in West Chicago to determine the appropriateness of the existing speed limit has resulted in a reduction of the 55 mph speed limit to 50 mph."
Mosquito Season Update
"The West Chicago Mosquito Abatement District (WCMAD) has released its 2010 Mosquito Season Update. The Update includes information on the West Nile Virus (WNV), with an overview on the efforts of the District to control nuisance mosquitoes, reduce the potential of mosquito-borne disease transmission and provide a comfortable and healthy atmosphere for district residents."
Brady rails against tax increase as he kicks off gubernatorial campaign
""It's not enough to fight against a tax increase. We must fight for tax reductions," he said.  Brady said debt, corruption and deficit spending have been rampant in the state government during the last eight years.  He will be opposed in the race to become governor in the Nov. 2 general election by Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney."
Mayors: Tax cut would devastate budgets
"Quinn's budget director, David Vaught, said the governor is looking at trimming back municipalities' 10 percent share of income tax revenue to 7 percent - a $300 million hit for villages and cities throughout the state.  Needless to say, suburban officials aren't taking kindly to the governor's proposal, as Vaught put it, to "share the pain.""
Martin out at Water Commission
"An employee of the commission Friday confirmed Martin is no longer working for the water authority... Water Board member Liz Chaplin of Downers Grove said the commission met in closed session for two hours Thursday night to discuss employment. She could not confirm whether it regarded Martin's employment.  She said the board also reviewed the audit report with attorneys regarding the investigation of what happened to $19 million of the commission's reserves."
Green a popular color for local activists
"In Geneva, a group calling itself GREEN worked to get the city to look into building a windmill that would contribute to the city's mix of energy it purchases.  Geneva has its own municipal electric department and obtains its energy from a mixture of sources. It buys power in bulk; it generates it own power with a "peaker plant" on the far-east side; and it gets about 10 percent of its power from biomass -- which is considered a green technology.  The biomass element is methane gas created by the former Settler's Hill landfill, which is now closed but still generating the gas. Waste Management captures it and uses it to generate electricity, which the city buys.
Durbin emphasizes importance of health reform passage
"“I think it’s a good step forward to start providing competition and choice for small businesses when it comes to health insurance and to try to address the skyrocketing costs,” Durbin said of health-care reform.  The senator also noted that health insurance premiums in Illinois recently have gone up 60 percent in some cases.  “This is unsustainable,” Durbin said.  Durbin said the bills also would increase the number of health-care clinics throughout the state, more than doubling the number currently in existence."
Progress reported on freedom of info issues
"At least one survey indicates that government officials are taking freedom of information requests more seriously. But other officials – including Cara Smith, public access counselor for Attorney General Lisa Madigan – say more work still needs to be done.  “We have 25 years of closed government to contend with,” Smith said. “We don’t expect to turn the light switch on in January and have transparency across Illinois. It’s going to be a process.”"
Rep. Foster Introduces Bill to Promote Responsible Homeownership and Neighborhood Stabilization
“We have seen that home foreclosures have had significant negative impacts on surrounding homes, decreasing property values and destabilizing neighborhoods.  By offering a tax deduction, my legislation will incentivize and reduce the economic damage when people choose the less destructive option of short selling over foreclosure.  Reducing the number of foreclosures will promote neighborhood stabilization minimize the damage when people are unable to keep their homes.”

WHAT’S NEW   Robert L. Park   Friday, 12 Mar 2010





Salvation Army is a residential real estate powerhouse - Los Angeles Times
"Salvation Army officials say the real estate program makes sound business sense because it enables them to pay low salaries and transfer officers throughout the country without the burden and delay that typically accompany executive moves. It's a policy similar to that of churches that provide housing to their ministers, said Victor A. Leslie, a lieutenant colonel who oversees the Army's Southern California operations."
U.S. Income Equality May Equal Mexico’s by 2043 - AFL-CIO
"Put another way: If our income had kept pace with compensation distribution rates established in the early 1970s, we would all be making at least three times as much as we are currently making. How different would your life be if you were making $120,000 a year, instead of $40,000?  What does it mean for a nation to have an income gap that’s 6,900 times that of the median—not the lowest income, the median-income?"
Bosses in the Bedroom - AFL-CIO
"Workplace privacy is dead and buried. Employers can and do read e-mail, eavesdrop on telephone calls, monitor Internet access, and watch workers with hidden cameras (even in bathrooms and locker rooms). Virtually all of this is legal. Technically, employers aren’t supposed to listen to personal telephone calls, but it happens all the time and you have no way of knowing. Some judges have found bathroom cameras to be an invasion of privacy, but other judges allow it."
Most Americans want health care reform - Washington Post
"In fact, two recent polls, including one with the most negative ratings on health care, reveal through follow-up questions that a significant number of people who oppose current plans do so because they don't go far enough rather than because they go too far. Not only is it absurd to suggest that these people would rise up against Democrats for passing the president's plan, it is far more likely that they would join others who support the plan and punish those who tried to block reform or voted against it."
How Your Twitter Account Could Land You in Jail - Mother Jones
"What they found when they broke down the door were a couple of middle-aged housemates from Queens, New York. Elliott Madison sat at a desk with a laptop and a cell phone. A police scanner lay nearby... According to the criminal complaint filed against them, the two men had been "communicating with various protestors, and protest groups...[via] internet based communications, more commonly known as 'Twitter'. The observed 'Twitter' communications were noted to be relevant to the direction of the movement of the order to avoid apprehension...""

12 Mar

CableCom now on FaceBook
CableCom now has a fans page.  Readers who are on FaceBook are urged to sign up.
Embattled DuPage water commission chief resigning
"Martin's days were seemingly numbered after the commission was informed late last year that $19 million of the agency's reserve funds had accidentally been spent by a former financial administrator under Martin's watch. The commission had to take out an emergency $30 million loan and is on the verge of borrowing $40 million more to make up for the financial miscues."
DuPage Water Commission to borrow another $40 million
"After accidentally spending $19 million and borrowing $30 million to help fix that mistake, the DuPage Water Commission began the process of borrowing another $40 million Thursday to pay off construction debt... But Commissioner Jim Zay said that without a plan to repay the loans, the debt could turn into a long-term problem.  "A $70 million loan is not plugging a hole," he said. "The boat is sunk. We're just trying to raise it up to the top now.""
Palm Sunday Worship Service
"On Sunday, March 28, 2010 the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago will worship with palms and praise starting at 10:00 a.m.  The children, “One Boy’s Donkey” published by Kid’s Sunday School Place, will present the Gospel drama, during the service."
DuPage water manager resigns after $19 million controversy
"Capping nearly four months of controversy, embattled DuPage Water Commission General Manager Robert Martin resigned today from the agency, which distributes Lake Michigan water in the county."
Effort to overturn death sentence moratorium fails in House subpanel
"A legislative effort to overturn the state's 10-year-old death penalty moratorium failed Thursday in an Illinois House subcommittee... The three representatives on the panel split their votes – one voting yes, one voting no and another voting present – which keeps the bill in the subcommittee.
Quinn stumps for education today in Chicago
"There he is expected to talk more about his education priorities and about the importance of fitness and fighting childhood obesity.  The Democratic governor has proposed a budget that would cut $1.3 billion from education unless lawmakers raise the income tax rate one percentage point."
Quinn appears at Springfield school to defend tax plan
""We're talking about 17,000 teachers in Illinois losing their jobs," Quinn said. "You have to understand reality. We are now without $1 billion that we counted on this year. We have to make it up."  Illinois avoided steep cuts to education this year only because nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus poured into the state for education. That money is now gone."
Foster Votes to Prevent Misleading Census Look-Alike Mailings
"“Last year, a constituent brought a Census mailing scheme to my attention, and I alerted area seniors to be careful of these misleading mailings, which asked for financial contributions,” said Foster.  “Unfortunately, scams like this are nothing new, but it is my hope that this legislation will help consumers identify the difference between official U.S. Census Bureau documents and misleading mailings.”"
[What's the matter, Bill... too polite to mention Republican National Committee fundraising mailers? - Bob]
Opinion: Faith-Based Program Falls Short - AOL News
"Last September, 58 of the nation's civil rights organizations asked Attorney General Eric Holder to rescind a 2008 legal memorandum that specifically permitted the relief group World Vision to maintain its "Christian only" hiring policy, a regimen that includes requiring employees to sign a statement of belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. This memo gave the group unfettered access last year to nearly $300 million of taxpayer money."
Coca-Cola Co. Denies Involvement in Murder and Rape, Blames "U.S. Judicial System" - Huffington Post
"The case Jose Armand Palacios v. The Coca-Cola Co. (102514/2010) has been filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and alleges that a subsidiary of Coca-Cola based in Guatemala City, INCASA, engaged in terror tactics against the families of Palacios and Jose Alberto Vicente Chavez because of their union activities. The plaintiffs allege that they were targeted with the full knowledge and support of company officials in Atlanta."
The Last Obscenity: Will the Bank Lobby Succeed in Screwing Poor Kids? - Campaign for America's Future
"Cut the $90 billion in subsides that go to banks to make risk-free student loans that are GUARANTEED BY THE GOVERNMENT, go to direct lending, and use the money saved to increase Pell grants and tuition tax credits for working families so more poor kids can afford college... So the banks enlisted big-time Democratic lobbyists and spent millions."
House bans earmarks to for-profit companies - Washington Post
"Earmarks, which lawmakers use to direct federal money to specific projects, have long been a target of reformers seeking to limit spending abuses. Wednesday's announcement is considered a way to block no-bid federal grants to private firms that can afford to hire well-connected lobbyists to plead their cases, and although it will not have a major impact on overall spending, Democrats hailed it as a key step in restoring trust in Congress."

11 Mar

"Jack attended St. Mary's School through 8th grade and graduated from West Chicago High School in 1953. A graduate of Lake Forest College, he went on to receive his Master's degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He then attained his Doctorate degree in education from Northern Illinois University."
"She was an elementary school teacher at Indian Knoll, Benjamin and Evergreen Schools for many years. She was recognized as one of the top kindergarten teachers in Illinois in 1993 and one of the most beloved teachers in the area. She is survived by her son, Lance (Kellie) of West Chicago..."
Quinn plan stuns locals
" If Gov. Pat Quinn's budget passes as proposed, the effects could be devastating on local schools, governments and social services.  Quinn's budget, unveiled Wednesday, would see the state borrow $4.7 billion to make ends meet, while cutting about $1.3 billion from education funding, $150 million from social services and $300 million from income taxes distributed to local governments."
Education tax hike ‘too late’ for next fall
"In a veiled reference to the financial solution proposed by state Sen. Bill Brady, his opponent in the Nov. 2 election for governor, Quinn said, "There are some people who say we should just cut across the board until we close our $13 billion deficit and our spending equals our revenues — even if that means draconian cuts in health, human services, education and public safety. But that approach is both heartless — and naïve."
4 coyotes trapped and killed near Wheaton
"Authorities say four coyotes were captured near Wheaton and killed on Monday — the same day the city announced it had hired a trapper to get rid of them.  Officials said Tuesday professional trapper Rob Erickson caught the coyotes in an unincorporated area near the Chicago Golf Club. That is close to the neighborhoods where a string of deadly coyote attacks on pets have occurred in recent months."
  Families invited to overnight at Cantigny
"The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton, for children ages 5 to 10 and their parents. Planned activities include a flashlight tour of the mansion, pillowcase making and watching the movie "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" in the historic Gold Theatre. Owls from Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn will also be in attendance."
Illinois pork, cattle producers focus on use of antibiotics
"Both the FDA and the American Veterinary Medical Association have set guidelines for responsible use of antibiotics in livestock, including routine health exams, discouraging use of antibiotics to treat resistant infections in humans and animals, and limiting use to sick or injured animals... A New York congressman also has introduced legislation that would ban the use of all antibiotics to promote growth in otherwise healthy animals."
Gun-rights activists descend on Capitol
"People who believe guns save lives gathered in Springfield Wednesday to urge legislators to reject bills that would restrict gun ownership and approve proposals that would allow people to carry concealed firearms.  Organizers who arranged bus transportation from around the state had predicted a turnout of 10,000 for Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, but fell considerably short of that number."
Recent Developments
Ore. parents get 16 months in son's faith-healing death - Religion News Service
"The parents, Jeffrey and Marci Beagley, had been found guilty of criminally negligent homicide on Feb. 2 in the death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley, who died in June 2008 of complications involved with a urinary tract obstruction.  "The idea of sending Jeffrey and Marci Beagley to prison is heart-wrenching," Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Steven Maurer said in a lengthy explanation of his sentence. ... But the decision was necessary, Maurer said, because "the magnitude of their crimes simply warrants it.""
Get Set for March Actions to Make Wall Street Pay - AFL-CIO
"The union movement and our allies are taking our fight for good jobs now to the biggest Wall Street banks whose reckless greed has gone a long way to wreck the U.S. economy and kill American jobs.  From March 15-26, working people will hold rallies and demonstrations at branches of the Big Six Wall Street banks—Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, Wachovia-Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley—across the country."
Deficits, Debt, and Fiscal Responsibility - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
""The Roadmap would give the most affluent households a new round of very large, costly tax cuts… At the same time, the Ryan plan would raise taxes for most middle-income families, privatize a substantial portion of Social Security, eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid, and terminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The plan would replace these health programs with a system of vouchers whose value would erode over time and thus would purchase health insurance that would cover fewer health care services as the years went by."

10 Mar

Around and About in West Chicago - 10 Mar 2010
  • St. Patrick’s Day Bash
  • 2010 Census
  • Studs Terkel Award Presentation
  • Wizard of Oz
  • West Chicago Park District Family Day
Music Booster's Pancake Breakfast
  • "Saturday March 13th 8:00 - 10:30 am
  • High School Commons - Entrance H (South Side)
  • Adults & Students: $5.00
  • Seniors & Kids Under 10 years old: $3.00"

West Chicago's Local Music Night Thrives
"The newly renovated space on the lower level of West Chicago’s Gallery 200, will be the new home for a series of regularly scheduled evenings devoted to live music, becoming widely known among area music enthusiasts as Local Music Night."

Summer Safety

  • Vacation Watch Program

  • Illinois Premise Alert Program

  • Spring Safety Tips

  • St. Baldrick's Reminder!

Cronin suggests water commission overhaul
  • "The Republican DuPage County Board Chairman hopeful said the 13-member board lacks accountability and should be folded under the arm of county government. He is co-sponsoring legislation that will allow changes to the commission's governance."
  • "But is Democratic opponent Carole Cheney said she favors waiting to learn the audit's results before acting.  "I'm hopeful the auditors will have recommendations or at least identify where the problems arose," she said."
DuPage water panel eyes plugging leaks
"Missing money, increasing water rates and taking on new debt isn't exactly a picture state Sen. Dan Cronin, R-Elmhurst, wants to see painted of the DuPage Water Commission."
State seeks comment on Route 34 rail crossing
"When it approved the sale of the EJ&E line to Canadian National in late 2008, the federal Surface Transportation Board required Canadian National to cover two-thirds of the cost to either build a rail bridge over Ogden Avenue or tunnel the road under the tracks. The cost of the project has been estimated at $40 million to $50 million."
West Chicago's Local Music Night Thrives - New Dates & Location Announced
"The evening drew a nice crowd and prompted an encore event scheduled for January. Among the musicians performing popular and original music in January were Samantha Weibler, Laurie Schaefer, Al Recendez, John Keeney and others."

DuPage County could take over water commission
"As part of that legislation, the water commission's revenues, including a lucrative countywide sales tax, would be at the disposal of the County Board.  Cronin and Rep. Randy Ramey, R-Carol Stream, have introduced bills that would turn the commission, which was created in 1985, into a DuPage County department overseen by a Water Operations Committee composed jointly of municipal appointees and County Board members in a structure similar to that of the county's Stormwater Management Committee. The new water committee would report directly to the County Board."

  • UI's budget teams eye Graduate College, small units for cuts
    "One panel will also look at how the campus can generate new sources of money – possibly through more out-of-state students or online learning – to cope with a half-billion-dollar state funding backlog and potential budget cuts down the road."
  • UI's new ethics committee meets for first time
    "The state commission that investigated the "Category I" list – politically connected applicants who received special consideration and were sometimes admitted ahead of more qualified candidates – also suggested changes in board governance and ethics training to prevent abuses from recurring."
Ill. officials removing trees from state park
"The process begins in the Marsatawa Area of the park. Foresters found 24 dead trees there last summer. They included 16 black oak trees.  Experts say the trees have oak wilt. That is a very infectious disease and the trees must come down this winter."
Traveling the world, man finds big, little miracles even in darkest places - Daily Herald
"Two years in the making, "Furious Love" is a film that came out of Elgin, where Wilson's studio, Wanderlust Productions, is located on the campus of Judson University. Formerly an assistant professor, Wilson's new title at Judson is artist-in-residence."
Lesson for Vanderbilt Students: Solidarity Scares U.S. Employers - AFL-CIO
"Throughout the meeting, university management stationed people to watch who went in and out of the doors, taking notes; after the meeting, they searched the trash cans for anything we might have thrown away and talked about whether they had gotten any photos of the meeting (”no luck,” they sighed).  The eerie feeling of our own administration’s surveillance was matched by the surreally conspicuous way in which they conducted it."
Keystone Lake Zamboni falls through thin ice - Denver Post
"There was no word immediately on how soon the rink might re-open, but staff will examine the ice and remove the Zamboni Wednesday, Whaley said.  "They'll take it out and we'll see how it is," Whaley said of the machine and the safety of the ice around the crater."
[I post this because I love the picture, my ski-bum college roommate still works at this resort, and because Mayor Kwasman is still fighting my efforts to license a street-legal zamboni to drive around West Chicago. - Bob]

09 Mar

Hard work makes wounded veteran's dream a reality
"Hagos did live, but his surgeon informed him he probably would never have full use of his nerve-damaged left shoulder.  Nearly six years later, Hagos is the proud owner of the Anytime Fitness in Glendale Heights and in the best shape of his life thanks, in large part, to his own workout routine."
[No WC tie in, but I found it an inspiring story. - Bob]
NIU president honored for leadership after 2008 campus shooting
"Northern Illinois University President John Peters is being honored during a luncheon today for his leadership after the February 2008 campus shooting that left five students dead and 19 wounded."
Quinn staff to outline tax, spending proposal
"The Democratic governor's staff is expected to provide details on the plan Tuesday night in advance of Quinn's official budget speech Wednesday.  The administration has already talked about some of the spending cuts and borrowing that Quinn believes will be needed to balance the budget. But it hasn't been so open about the tax increase that Quinn wants."
Costello, Lipinksi among Stupak's Douchenozzle Dozen?
"According to Talking Points Memo, Dan Lipinski (3rd) and Jerry Costello (12th) may be among the 12 votes Bart Stupak claims to have ready to sink health care reform (such as it is) unless his attempts to bar women from using their own money to buy insurance that would cover abortions is part of the final deal."
NZ family in expelled group - New Zealand Herald
"A New Zealand family are among about 17 foreigners expelled from Morocco for trying to convert children in a home they ran to Christianity... He had been the human relations manager of the Village of Hope, which provides foster care for abandoned infants and children in the Moroccan Middle Atlas region, for 18 months."
Thousands Tell Big Insurance: Blocking Health Care Reform Is a Crime - AFL-CIO
"Thousands of union members, community activists, religious leaders and others turned out in Washington, D.C., today to confront Big Insurance and demand insurance companies stop plotting to kill health care reform even as Congress debates bills to reform the nation’s broken health care system."
Palin, as a child, went to Canada for care
""We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada," she said, in what the article describes as a reference specifically to Saskatchewan. "And I think now, isn't that ironic.""
[OK, it was before Canada's excellent health care system was paid entirely with government funds, but this is as relevant as a PM getting a rec for a Florida surgeon.  If one is an embarrassment, both are. - Bob]

08 Mar

Dan Kwasman
"Dan Kwasman, 86, beloved husband of the late Estelle, nee Dicker; devoted father of Hon. Michael (Crystal) Kwasman, Steven (Gayle) Kwasman and Marla (Marty) Bett; proud papa of Ron, Matthew, Sarah, Lauren, Zach and the late Scott. Daniel was the last of 11 children; dear uncle of many nieces and nephews."
  • Spring Legislative Session
  • State Budget
  • Medical Malpractice
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Mar 8- Mar 14
"Jo's Musical Journey is a new program featured this week at 7PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Jo Noonan is Choir Director at St. Mary's in West Chicago with some experiences to share. In the first edition of her show, Jo chats with her good friend, Prof. Myron Meyers of NIU, about learning to sing and travels through Italy. There's also a guest appearance by the St. Mary's All Star Singers. Please tune in and meet Jo."
City of West Chicago Provides "Be Counted Centers"
Be Counted Centers
  • Wayne Township Office (27W031 North Avenue),
  • Main Park Neighborhood Resource Center (809 Main Street),
  • Westwood Neighborhood Resource Center (1209 Kings Circle)
  • and Riverwoods Neighborhood Resource Center (801 Lorlyn Drive).
DuPage chairman candidates wary of revenue projections
"Republican nominee and state Sen. Dan Cronin calls it "almost irresponsible," while his Democratic counterpart, Carole Cheney, described the plan that requires a 9 percent spike in sales tax revenue as "overly optimistic."  While the success of the budget hinges on sales tax revenue bouncing back, the county's finances won't collapse if that doesn't happen."
Public pension deficit soars in Illinois
"The watchdog Civic Federation said today that the funding deficit for the 10 largest Chicago-area public pension funds soared from $3.4 billion in 1998 to $18.5 billion in 2008, the last year for which figures are available."
GOP gov nominee Brady to appeal on budget issues
"The state senator from Bloomington kicked off a victory Monday after being declared the GOP nominee last week by a margin of less than 200 votes.  Brady says he can win voters even if they disagree with him on social issues because they want someone who can lead the state out of "economic disaster.""
Brady to thank state supporters on flyaround
"The tour, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the airport in Rockford, will conclude with a free 7 p.m. victory rally at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington.  The other cities Brady is planning to visit today are Moline, Quincy, Cahokia/ Sauget, Marion, Champaign and Peoria."
Major statewide campaigns off to shaky starts
  • "Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been seen far less in public since the primary. It didn’t help him a bit that the running mate voters chose for him dropped out of the race. The process of finding a new lieutenant governor candidate has been bumpy, and still isn’t complete."
  • "... the GOP nominee, state Sen. Bill Brady, wasn’t made official until Friday. Even before then, Brady introduced some controversial measures in the General Assembly, then backed away from them. And just last week, Brady misfired on a news conference about early release of a prisoner."


GOP Rep Runs Taxpayer-Funded Campaign-Style Ads On 'Out Of Control Spending' - TPM
"Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) is running campaign-style Web ads for a "tele-town hall" on "out of control spending" that are financed by taxpayer dollars -- and the ads were OKed as permissible under House rules."
WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 5 Mar 2010
Supreme Court will weigh free speech issues in case of anti-gay military funeral protests - Assoc Press
"The court agreed Monday to consider whether the protesters' message, no matter how provocative and upsetting, is protected by the First Amendment. Members of a Kansas-based church have picketed military funerals to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality."

When the Truth Is Shown to Be Lies - Talk2Action
"This is the first such FDA approval for an embryonic stem cell derived therapy and ACT plans on using the orphan drug status to accelerate clinical testing...  Early last year it was reported that "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the go-ahead for Geron Corporation to start a phase I safety trial of its therapy GRNOPC1 for spinal cord injuries." And prior to that, in 2008 Dr. Robert Lanza was able to create human blood from embryonic stem cells."

International Women’s Day, March 8: Time to Recommit to Equal Rights - AFL-CIO
"Women make up more than half the American workforce and are approaching half of union members. On International Women’s Day, March 8, the AFL-CIO is recommitting itself to continue the struggle for equal rights, dignity and respect for all working women."
The Tea Party Is All About Race - Huffington Post
" founder Dale Robertson brandished a sign with the (misspelled) word "niggar." So they're not even as restrained as the generally unstrung Atwater anymore.  Most of the time, they merely imply the use of the word. Rush Limbaugh referring to the president as a "black man-child," for example."

Repent Amarillo - Christian fundamentalist intimidation with a nuclear option
"Repent Amarillo even has a "Target Map" highlighting businesses and organizations they wish to intimidate. Medical facilities they don't agree with, so-called "sex trade" businesses. places of "idol worship," even churches they deem to liberal - all are considered fair game in their imagined war. "


05 Mar

Turner School Students Perform The Wizard of Oz
"Need a break from the weather? Go over the rainbow with students from Turner School! West Chicago Elementary School District 33 students from Turner School will perform the musical, The Wizard of Oz, on Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19 at 7:00 PM at West Chicago Middle School, 238 E. Hazel Street, West Chicago.  Tickets are $5.00 at the door."

West Chicago
High School
PeaceBuilder of the Month for February 2010
"Jazmin Galindo, of West Chicago, and a Junior at Community High School District 94, has been recognized as the February PeaceBuilder of the month."
Access DuPage" Provided Healthcare to 15,275 DuPage County Low-Income, Medically-Uninsured Residents in 2009
"Established in 2001 with the help of 14 organizations, the organization began providing healthcare to qualified residents, referred to as members, in February 2002. Today, Access DuPage is comprised of 225 organizations, and in 2008 served over 13,000 DuPage County residents who would otherwise have no access to affordable healthcare."
Final tally: Brady noses out Dillard in GOP governor's race
"The State Board of Elections today certified the results of the Feb. 2 election and made it official that state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington edged state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale by 193 votes in the contested race for the GOP nomination for governor.  The difference amounted to a miniscule .025 percent of the 767,492 ballots cast in the heavily contested race for the nomination. Officially, Brady got 20.26 percent of the GOP primary vote, compared to Dillard's 20.24 percent."
Bill to charge $100 for missing criminal court date advances in Springfield
"Counties and cities would be allowed to impose a $100 fee on anyone accused of a crime who fails to appear in court and has to be pursued by law enforcement authorities, under a bill approved by a House Judiciary committee Thursday."
Ill. health registry needs more women to sign up
"That’s the word from officials overseeing the Illinois Women’s Health Registry. More than 4,000 women have signed up for clinical research on everything from knee trouble to postpartum depression.  The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine launched the registry in 2008 and it helped fill 12 studies last year. But the registry’s expanding to help connect researchers throughout to subjects."
Senate panel OKs 70-mph speed limit on interstates
"The measure would let all vehicles, including large trucks, travel 70 mph on interstate highways, except for in Chicago and several surrounding counties... “A lot of times, individuals will be speeding when the accident took place, but it was not the cause of the accident itself,” he said."
School funding a 'huge crisis,' state school superintendent warns
"Illinois School Superintendent Chris Koch sent a stark message Thursday about the fallout from his agency’s budget: schools throughout the state will have to cut at least 13,000 employees, and it could be much worse... He said cutting 10 percent of education’s total $26.1 billion budget, which includes federal and local funds, “shouldn’t be a catastrophic changing number.” The cut would amount to about 3 percent of education’s total budget, he said."
Illinois' final primary results could mean recount
"The State Board of Elections will meet to certify results from the Feb. 2 primary and declare a winner in the race for the GOP nomination that had been too close to call. But if either candidate seeks a recount, the process could drag on for months... Dillard has said that if Friday's margin is less than 100 votes, he may challenge the results, something election law allows for any candidate who gets at least 95 percent of the winner's vote total."
Back-to-March Primary Bills Advance
"Under the pending legislation, the 2012 primary would be held on Tuesday, March 20, three days after a Saturday St. Patrick's Day. While Feb. 2 was a rotten date, I have no nostalgia for mid-March either; that still puts the big petition drive, filing, and any ballot challenge between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and means that there are mounds of frozen slush to clamber over for most of the door-to-door and goin'-to-meetin' season."
Utah Anti-Abortion Bill Citing ‘Reckless Act’ Is Withdrawn - NY Times
"A sweeping anti-abortion statute in Utah that would have allowed up to life in prison for a woman whose fetus died from her intentional or reckless behavior was withdrawn by its sponsor on Thursday and will be revised to be narrower in scope."
California Students Rise Up Against Massive Education Cuts - AFL-CIO
"The actions come as the 2010-2011 budget process looms and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, after promising in January to increase education funding, instead cut $2.5 billion from education in his budget proposal.  In Sacramento, several thousand students, teachers and workers rallied on the steps of the Capitol building, spilling out over the grassy mall. They demanded state legislators and the governor fully fund public education and make it affordable and accessible to all."
Texas SBOE Wingnuts Lose Primary Battles - Dispatches From the Culture Wars
"So the candidates backed by the religious right didn't do very well and the wingnut brigade on the board will shrink by one, maybe two. That should help restore some sanity to the Texas educational system. Bravo to the Texas Freedom Network and all the others in Texas who work so hard to counter the 17th century agenda of the religious right down there."

04 Mar


West Chicago
High School
 Music Booster's Pancake Breakfast
"The West Chicago Community High School Music Boosters invites you to our first annual Pancake Breakfast! The charge for Adults & Students is $5 each, while Seniors and Kids under 10 years of age are $3 each. Proceeds will benefit the CHS music students in the form of scholarships and needed equipment. This event also coincides with the CHS Education Foundation's 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament."
DuPage Airport board, Schillerstrom 'save face' in new budget deal
"The revision comes on the heels of DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom exercising his veto power for the first time his 12-year tenure, scuttling the budget while complaining that it showed no funding for the tech park.  Airport board Chairman Dan Goodwin said the revised budget is a compromise that allows "both sides to save face" because it grants the tech park administration's full funding request, but calls for the tech park to return $316,000 of the appropriation to pay off some of the $650,000 it owes the airport authority. The tech park's large debt payback will cut into its $400,000 reserves, which Goodwin said both he and Schillerstrom agreed should not exist."
Report card on homelessness: DuPage County struggles to pass
"“When the homeless can’t access these services, they end up visible in the community, hanging out in libraries, train stations and walking downtown affecting the business community,” said Beth Epstein, DuPage Public Action to Deliver Shelter director of pro-grams. “They end up being arrested and processed in the court system. The cost to the tax payer is significant.”"
Individual health insurance policy premiums soaring
"Consumers in Illinois who lose their jobs and have no other option but to buy their own health insurance will get socked this year with premium increases of up to 60 percent, according to state records.  That group of consumers has been growing, as the recession has created more uninsured Americans looking for ways to protect themselves and their families.Now, Illinois consumers will get a glimpse into just how wide-ranging rate increases among individual health plans can be."
Illinois a finalist for U.S. education funds
"Illinois has been named a finalist for $500 million in federal funding to transform how teachers are evaluated, students are tested and failing schools are fixed, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced this morning.  The money is part of a $4.35 billion pot of Race to the Top money, designed to encourage states across the nation to overhaul their education systems. Illinois joins 15 other finalists in this first round of funding."
UI, SIU leaders speak out against budget cuts
"University of Illinois President Stanley Ikenberry said the 10 percent cut would equal $74 million and would come on top of $86 million in cuts already made at the university.  He said an additional $74 million in cuts would equal the state appropriations to the UI's Springfield campus, its Chicago dental school, its Champaign law school and College of Education and its three satellite medical schools in Peoria, Rockford and Urbana."
House Republicans push plans on sunshine, spending
"Other ideas in the plan would force a higher number of votes to raise taxes or fees, allow votes on measures where at least one-third of the chamber backs the idea and require state budget proposals to be available for public review seven days before being voted on.  Senate Democrats plan to release their own plan later today."
Family bank might not survive, Giannoulias says
"Broadway Bank entered into a consent decree with regulators in January and has 90 days to raise about $85 million. Besides coming up with new capital, the bank also has to deal with bad assets and improve its management. Heavy into real estate loans, the bank lost $75.3 million last year.  The bank’s financial struggles have become a central issue in Giannoulias’ bid for Obama’s former seat against Republican Mark Kirk, a five-term congressman from Chicago’s northern suburbs."
Senate moves slowly on budget cut plans
"Chalk up round one of the budget battle in the state Senate to stalemate.  Senators used the first review of the state’s serious budget woes Wednesday to spar along political lines and produce no signs of any progress. Republicans then thwarted Democratic efforts to borrow more money for overdue health care bills."
National Religious Broadcasters meeting revives church-state debate between old friends - The Tennessean
"Their mission is to spread Christianity to every part of society. That includes public policy. But Lynn's mission is to keep religion as far away from the government as possible.  "I'm a big liberal guy, with a lot of big liberal ideas," Lynn said. "But this whole separation of church and state is really a conservative idea."
Resume Talks with Teachers - AFL-CIO
"The school superintendent who last week fired all teachers at Central Falls (R.I.) High School has agreed to resume bargaining and include the union in all discussions on a comprehensive education plan that will help students and teachers succeed. The move followed nationwide public outcry, with thousands signing an online petition to tell school officials the students deserve better and they should work with teachers to build on improvements at the high school. (Keep the pressure on the Central Falls school administration. Sign a petition here.)"
ACORN Strikes Back! 'Accountability' Campaign Demands Media Corrections for 'Pimp' Hoax Stories  - BradBlog
"The BRAD BLOG, however, has indeed shown "conclusive evidence" to Hoyt that the paper was wrong, and even Hannah Giles (who played the fake prostitute) and even Andrew Breitbart (who published the videos to help launch his new website) have both now admitted that the reports of James O'Keefe dressing as a "pimp" in the offices of ACORN were flat out wrong."



03 Mar


I'm considering mentioning that it is National Procrastination Week... but not until next week. - Bob

Around and About in West Chicago - 03 Mar 2010
  • McNulty Irish Dancers
  • West Chicago Lions Club 35th Annual Spring Pancake Breakfast
  • Friends of the West Chicago Library Book Sale
  • Local Government Week in Illinois
Schillerstrom vetoes DuPage Airport budget over tech park funding
"But airport board Vice Chairman Gerald Gorski called the notion the board was withdrawing its support of the tech park "erroneous." He added that funding was cut because the tech park is carrying close to $400,000 in its reserves.  "They're sitting on money right now, and there's no development going on there," Gorski said. "The tech park property is the airport's property and the money is the airport's money, so we're in charge of seeing to its proper utilization.""
Fermilab says it will still be relevant, even as LHC begins work
"But the 26-year-old, 4-mile Tevatron still has a few good years left - and data produced by several experiments conducted is very valuable for years to come, scientists and lab officials said Tuesday.  "It (the Tevatron) is still humming along," said Judy Jackson, communications director, explaining it likely won't be shut down before the end of 2011.  The lab is also building a superconducting test accelerator for research into superconducting radio-frequency work."
College voting measure clears Senate panel
" "What's going to happen here is that if we are mandated to do this at the education sites, then we will be favoring one group over, clearly, the rest of the community," Von Nida said. "So I personally oppose this as does the county clerks association."  But Frerichs argued that "every legislator laments the lack of voting participation by young people. This would reduce the barriers that exist in our democracy.""
Local governments push pension changes
"The coalition calls for requiring police officers and firefighters to pay more for their retirement plans and pooling 640 public pension funds into one plan. Current public safety employees would not see benefits change under the coalition proposal."
Ill. Senate Dems to dissect GOP candidate’s budget
"Democrats plan a hearing Wednesday on budget ideas they say are backed by Republican candidate for governor Bill Brady. They include 10 percent across-the-board cuts.  The Democrats are likely to focus on the service cuts that would be required..."
Illinois schools chiefs’ pay keeps rising
"The average salary and benefits for Illinois’ top school executives grew 4.1 percent last year, and a record 150 superintendents earned $200,000 or more... The Chicago Tribune reports that the increases come as school districts from Amboy to Zion have threatened to cut teaching jobs and cancel programs to balance their budgets."
University of Illinois tuition could rise as much as 20 percent
"Ikenberry said the UI must weigh social policy, the importance of keeping the flagship university open to lower- and middle-income students and competitiveness with other institutions in setting its tuition rates.  For the first time, tuition and fees account for more of the UI’s funding than state aid, Ikenberry said."
Legislators turn down plan for test of concealed carry in Peoria
"Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states that do not allow some form of concealed carry. Efforts to do so regularly are blocked by disputes between downstaters who support looser restrictions and Chicagoans who want tighter ones.  Tuesday’s measure would have allowed someone with a permit to carry a concealed handgun within Peoria for two years."
Judge will allow Robertson as defendant in SunTrust case - Virginian-Pilot
"In filings and testimony in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, attorneys for SunTrust contended the bank had difficulty getting Robertson to address the dispute. Earlier this year, both sides were able to get Robertson and a SunTrust principal to meet in the same room without any lawyers, but nothing materialized, Jonathan L. Hauser, an attorney for SunTrust, told U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman."
Wiccan altar puts teacher, officials at odds - Des Moines Register
"His viewpoint: "We as Christians don't get to have our say during school time, so why should he?"  School officials say Christians actually do get to express themselves in the same way.  More than one school policy, as well as state and federal law, prohibit discrimination against students who express religious beliefs through school assignments."
The Obama administration's poor relationship with Labor - Washington Post
"The White House has demanded a lot of compromise from organized labor (most notably on the excise tax) and offered very little in return, save for the occasional speech assuring unions that the administration would eventually fight for some element of their agenda. Not only is that not enough, but it's not smart in the long run: Democrats need a strong labor movement, yes, but so too do American workers. Without Labor, workers have no organized lobby advocating (however imperfectly) for their political interests and no countervailing force against the corporate sector."
More Proof That Marijuana is Medicine -MPP Blog
"The studies, funded by CMCR under the mandate of a 1999 legislative action, found that marijuana is particularly helpful in relieving pain associated with nerve damage and in treating the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis."



02 Mar

Town Hall Meeting Presentation Available
"If you were unable to attend the presentation, you may view it online at the District's website on the Communications page.... A video of the presentation will be available on CableCom Channel 17 for Comcast subscribers, and DVD copies will be available for checkout in all District 33 school offices and the District Office (312 E. Forest Avenue) after March 8."
District 33 Education Foundation $10,000 Scholarship Raffle Ticket Sales
"The Foundation for Educational Excellence for West Chicago Elementary School District 33 enters the last month of ticket sales for its $10,000 college scholarship raffle. Tickets are $20.00 each and just 1,000 tickets will be sold through April 5, 2010."
"State Representatives Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), Franco Coladipietro (R-Bloomingdale), Sandy Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn), Darlene Senger (R-Naperville), Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), Patti Bellock ( Westmont ) and State Senator Randy Hultgren (R-Wheaton) will be hosting a Legislative Forum on Autism. This forum is free and open to the public."
Gallery 200 Opening Reception
"The public is invited to meet the artist and West Chicago resident at a free Opening Reception on Friday, March 5, 2010, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Gallery 200 located at 200 Main Street in downtown West Chicago. The exhibit will remain at the Gallery through March. "
Two West Chicago Heroes Honored
"Among the distinguished guests in attendance at Monday night’s City Council meeting in West Chicago, two local heroes, Sgt. Patrick Henning, a National Guardsman, and West Chicago Police Officer Joseph Stewart, sat poised to receive stirring commendations for valorous actions each performed in serving their country and community."
What's the true cost of state cash-saving plan?
"The pilot program, which will affect Kane, DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Lake and suburban Cook counties, is expected to save about $200 million in health care costs by the end of the five-year trial... Spokesman Mike Claffey said the department is committed to bringing as many people to the table as possible, and will make sure the companies contracted to manage the program will work with stakeholders. He also said the state plans to put incentives into the contract to help improve the care recipients get."
West Chicago resident recognized for achievements at hospital
"“I truly believe in providing outstanding and compassionate healthcare in a healing environment,” said the West Chicago resident. “My job gives me an opportunity to do this every single day.”"
Asian carp battle might close Chicago River
"Chicago's tour boats are caught in a win-at-all-costs battle against the Asian carp, a voracious and prolific invasive species that has destroyed native fish populations and disrupted ecosystems on its 15-year march up the Illinois River. DNA research indicates Asian carp are now poised to enter the Great Lakes, a nightmare scenario for biologists who fear the carp could irreparably harm the largest freshwater group of lakes in the world."
Borrowing, tuition hike on table for UI
" The state is now $487 million in arrears to the university, and the number could soon exceed $500 million, Ikenberry said.  "That's not sustainable," he told The News-Gazette.  Ikenberry, who previously predicted a tuition increase of about 9 or 10 percent, said the figure could be as high as 20 percent.  He said the most likely figure was in the mid-teens. Since tuition is held steady over four years, the annualized rate for a 10 percent increase would be less than 4 percent, he said."
Kirk backs jobless benefits extension
"U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Highland Park, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, opposes a Kentucky Republican senator’s stand against extension of unemployment benefits.  Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., is blocking action in the Senate to extend the benefits. The blocked legislation also includes some highway money and Bunning’s action has temporarily shut down more than 40 projects nationwide, including a $1 million road project in Alexander County in far southern Illinois."
Liberals and Atheists Smarter? - Science Daily
"The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."
Same-sex marriage leads Catholic Charities to adjust benefits - Washington Post
"Catholic Charities, which receives $22 million from the city for social service programs, protested in the run-up to the council's December vote to allow same-sex marriage, saying that it might not be able to continue its contracts with the city, including operating homeless shelters and facilitating city-sponsored adoptions. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes such unions."
Thousands of Workers Without Jobs Due to One Senator: Kentucky’s Bunning - AFL-CIO
"The filibuster started Friday by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) not only has halted a desperately needed unemployment insurance (UI) extension for millions of America’s jobless workers. By blocking the UI bill, Bunning has caused the furlough of 2,000 transportation workers, halted construction on 41 economic recovery projects in 17 states, forced doctors to take big cuts in Medicare payments and left 1.2 million jobless Americans without COBRA."
Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Have Killed 139 Since May 2007 - Violence Policy Center
"The VPC web site categorizes the 78 incidents, which occurred in 22 states, and offers detailed descriptions of each incident (some incidents may fit into multiple categories). Of these incidents, 14 were murder-suicides involving firearms and 13 were mass shootings (three or more victims) that claimed as many as 11 lives at a time. Law enforcement officers were killed in Alabama, Florida (two incidents), Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (two incidents). All of the law enforcement killings were committed with guns. "
Marijuana use by seniors goes up as boomers age - Yahoo News
""For the longest time, our political opponents were older Americans who were not familiar with marijuana and had lived through the 'Reefer Madness' mentality and they considered marijuana a very dangerous drug," said Keith Stroup, the founder and lawyer of NORML, a marijuana advocacy group. "Now, whether they resume the habit of smoking or whether they simply understand that it's no big deal and that it shouldn't be a crime, in large numbers they're on our side of the issue.""

01 Mar


West Chicago
High School
3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
"This year the CHS Education Foundation welcomes both youth and adults to the 4th Annual West Chicago 3-on-3 Wildcat Classic Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 13th, 2010. This event is being presented by Quest Food Management in order to benefit the District #94 Community High School Education Foundation."
Reminder for Market Day Orders
"Please help support our student organizations by placing orders with Market Day. March’s Market Day profits will benefit the Steppers club.  The next Market Day pick up will be Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm. You must place your order by: Monday, March 8th 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."
West Chicago Public Access Playback - Mar 1- Mar 7
"Remember the year West Chicago held Heritage Fest? You will this week as Channel 17 premiers two never before seen programs about Heritage Days 2006. Heritage Days Activities can be seen at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. Immediately following at 7pm, you can watch Heritage Days Parade. To make those evenings complete, the already viewed Heritage Days Music will be shown at 8:30pm. Tune in and enjoy the memories from this one time only festival."
One year after the CN/EJ&E merger: How train traffic changed
"Before the merger, the underused EJ&E carried about three to 18 trains daily. CN plans to increase that by up to 24 trains. The company started moving freights to the EJ&E on March 11, 2009.  But instead of a dramatic boost in trains on the EJ&E, change was slow in 2009 partly because CN is still improving the old railroad to handle extra capacity. The other factor is the recession, which caused the Freight Transportation Services Index, a measure of freight shipments, to decline by 12.4 percent in 2008 and 2009. But an upswing occurred in the last seven months of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported."
Federal board checks up on CN's performance
"West Chicago also negotiated an agreement with CN where the railroad pays for a pedestrian underpass at George Street, money to soundproof homes and realigning South Aurora Street.  The city's focus now is seeing that the railroad lives up to its commitment, City Administrator Michael Guttman said. "So far, they've made progress," he noted."
Voters, this is your chance to fight corruption
"Good government groups, including the League of Women Voters, members of the Illinois Reform Commission and others, are spearheading a drive to change the way we elect members of the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate. But they need your help."
Free rides for seniors must end now
"In addition to Bassi, suburban Republicans voting "yes" include ... Mike Fortner of West Chicago, ... Randy Ramey of Carol Stream...she got her bill passed which still gives free rides to low-income seniors - the only ones who need it.  Regional Transportation Authority officials say the change in the law could save nearly $37 million annually."
Awards to honor Illinoisans for community service
"Illinois residents may now submit nominations for the Governor's Volunteer Service Awards.  Individual awards will be given by region in three age groups: age 18 and younger, age 19 to 54 and age 55 and older.  They will focus on five areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental conservation, health and veterans' affairs."
Impasse leaves 15,000 in Illinois without jobless pay
"Fifteen thousand out-of-work residents in Illinois -- and many more across the nation -- lost their unemployment benefits at midnight Sunday because a filibuster on the Senate floor is blocking legislation that would extend payments for 30 days."

[See also: Senator Jim Bunning Just Kicked 1.2 Million Unemployed Americans To The Curb - The Business Insider. - Bob]

Illinoisans speak out on state budget Web site
"The Web site — — launched Wednesday and already has more than 3,000 suggestions, roughly 1,500 of which are available for public consumption. Some comments have been filtered for inappropriate language or duplication of previous points.  Most can be lumped into two categories: angry rants directed at out-of-control spending or inadequate budget solutions that wouldn’t quite fix a projected $13 billion deficit."
More specialty license plates suggested for state
"And then there’s a measure that would allow corporations to sponsor license plates -- they would pay for the plate of a driver who chooses their plate design. Rep. Joe Lyons, D-Chicago, pushed the bill on behalf of a constituent looking for ways for the state to bring in more money, but doesn’t expect it to go far in the legislature."
Community college enrollment sets record
"More Illinoisans appear to be hitting the college books to improve their chances of landing a good job.  The Illinois Community College Board has released figures showing the number of people enrolling in community colleges is at an all-time high."
Rep. Foster Announces School Emergency Response to Violence Award to Elgin High School
"“After the tragic murder of a former U-46 student last November, Larkin High Students must have access to counseling and tutoring to work through the emotional burden resulting from such an act,” said Foster.  “This grant will help them on their personal path to recovery. ”"
WHAT NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 26 Feb 2010
Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America - Alternet
"These new strategies include "Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare" and "spiritual mapping," designed to win territory. This is accomplished by doing battle with demons or principalities that they believe cause entire ethnicities, religions, and geographic areas to resist conversion. After expelling the demons, the evangelized population can take "dominion" over local government and culture. Then the community supposedly experiences a foretaste of "God's Kingdom on earth." These mini-utopias are advertised as having reduced poverty, corruption, disease, and even healing the environment. This is the ultimate faith-based initiative: remove the demons and society will be healed."
Utah Bill Would Criminalize Illegal Abortions - NY Times
"Just last month in Iowa, for example, a pregnant woman who fell down the stairs at home confided to emergency workers that she was not sure she really wanted to have her child. Though the woman did not immediately miscarry from the fall, she was arrested anyway under a state law that makes it a criminal act to harm a fetus. She was released after two days in jail, and the charges were dropped."
Economic Crisis Hitting Young Workers Hard
"One major benefit that young workers lack is health insurance. One-third of young U.S. adults—nearly 13 million people—had no health insurance coverage in 2008, according to a government report released yesterday. In a survey of more than 9,000 people ages 20 to 29, the National Center for Health Statistics found that 30 percent of young adults had no coverage and were nearly twice as likely as adults ages 30 to 64 to be uninsured."
House Republicans Call for Bigger Deficits Than Obama - OpEdNews
"An alternative budget proposal submitted by Congressman Paul Ryan (Wis.), the House Budget Committee's Republican ranking member, would increase the federal budget deficit even more than President Obama's bloated budget — nearly $1 trillion more — according to a February 24 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)."
Pay czar: You’re worth less than you think - The Hill
"AIG employees last year promised to repay the government $45 million in bonuses. The employees are still $6 million shy on that commitment.  “I have made it very clear that I expect AIG would find a way to round up the remaining $6 million by March 15,” Feinberg said... Like his work on the 9/11 and Virginia Tech funds, Feinberg is working on the compensation for TARP companies on a pro bono basis."


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