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31 Dec  
West Chicago woman seeking two elected posts
"“I love West Chicago,” May said. “It's a nice town. I have nice neighbors. The mayor is a nice guy. But they're too complacent in what they do.”  Nevertheless, she might not get the chance to make her case to voters.  West Chicago resident Colon R. York filed an objection this week to May's nominating petitions for city council. The city's electoral board — Mayor Michael Kwasman, City Clerk Nancy Smith and Alderman Ruben Pineda — meets Monday, Jan. 3, to decide if May can stay on the ballot."
Police, firefighters will have to work longer for full pensions
"The new law will require new hires to wait until age 55 — instead of age 50 — to retire with a full pension.  Other reforms were made, too, in an effort to address mayors' concerns that pension costs were rising too quickly and crippling local budgets. A handful of suburban mayors were pushing the legislation hard."
Campaign cash, state pensions addressed under laws for 2011
"The law, which applies to people hired after the start of 2011, raises the retirement age to 67 after 10 years of service, from age 60 after eight years. It also reduces an annual increase of 3 percent, compounded, to half the inflation rate or 3 percent in simple interest, whichever is less.  Quinn said the pension reform “will bring a new era of financial responsibility to our state” and keep the pension system solvent."
Only a penny for New Year's Eve rides on CTA
"New Year's Eve party-goers in the Chicago area are reminded that rides on Chicago Transit Authority trains and buses will cost only a penny.  The CTA says the penny rides will start Friday at 8 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. on Saturday. Officials say several bus and rail routes also will have later service hours to accommodate for the holiday and offer a safe option for travelers."
Quinn signs new pension law; Daley disappointed
"Daley’s office says the new law will increase the city’s annual police and fire pension contribution from a projected $309 million in 2015 to about $856 million. The new law normalizes retirement ages, sets a maximum pension and begins monthly cost-of-living adjustments at age 60 for retirees and survivors."
Campaign finance, red-light cameras affected by new laws
"Though signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in December 2009 on the one-year anniversary of Rod Blagojevich’s arrest, Illinois’ first limits on campaign contributions finally become enforceable on Saturday, capping how much money individuals, political action committees and interest groups can give to candidates. The law also sets up campaign finance disclosure requirements and requires random audits by the State Board of Elections, among other things."
King Day Celebration to Focus on Making Progress in New Political Climate - AFL-CIO
"Community service is a major portion of each year’s celebration, putting into action the union values of collective assistance for those in need. This year, participants will spend the first full day of the conference providing help to charitable and social action groups and organizations across the city.  In conjunction with the celebration in Cincinnati, working Americans around the country will hold roundtables, marches and rallies to remind their lawmakers that King’s vision for the nation included not only civil rights but also an economy that served all Americans—a vision that is far from fulfilled."
Security boosted in central Nigeria after attacks - Reuters
"A Reuters correspondent visited a hospital with the chief of the defence staff, who went from bed to bed offering apologies to nearly 40 people who suffered injuries in Friday's blasts.  One casualty said he had heard the explosions and rushed to help the wounded, when the army arrived and fired shots.  "I was trying to drag out victims from the bombs, when I was shot by a soldier," John James said from his hospital bed."
The New Voodoo - NY Times
"It’s an easy position to ridicule. After all, if you never have to offset the cost of tax cuts, why not just eliminate taxes altogether? But the joke’s on us because while this kind of magical thinking may not yet be the law of the land, it’s about to become part of the rules governing legislation in the House of Representatives.

30 Dec
 
Images of West Chicago vs. Downers Grove South girls basketball
none"Brandi Bradley of Downers Grove South tries to move the ball around Allie Tapanes of West Chicago. This took place during the West Chicago vs. Downers Grove South at Oswego East game Wednesday."
Fido's file now an open book
"Beginning Jan. 1, pet stores and animal shelters are required to post the history of a dog or cat, disclose the name and address of the animal’s breeders, keep a record of medical conditions, vet treatments and vaccinations and any known congenital or hereditary defect of the animal. The animal’s parents, date of brith and breed also must be disclosed."
Coffee, extra officers on tollway for New Year's
"From 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, drivers can get a free cup from McDonald’s, Starbucks and ExxonMobil at any oasis.  Extra State Police officers will be on the tollways throughout the weekend. There will be roadside checks specifically targeting seat belt laws, drunken driving, traveling too close, improper lane use and texting while driving. All temporary road construction will be suspended until Jan. 3."
Republicans Take Cue from Pinocchio on Health Care Reform - AFL-CIO
"Of those surveyed, 43 percent said they favored the law as it is; 37 percent opposed it because it was “too liberal” and 13 percent opposed it because it “wasn’t liberal enough.” Writes Schlesinger:
Or to put it another way, 56 percent of Americans either like the law or would prefer that it was more robust."
Near-Record High See Religion Losing Influence in America - Gallup
"Views of the influence of religion shifted dramatically in the mid-1960s. By 1970, in the midst of the protests over the Vietnam War and general social upheaval, a record 75% of Americans said religion was losing influence in American society. These views moderated in the years thereafter. At several points during the Reagan administration, a plurality of Americans returned to the view that religion was increasing its influence."
Deficit Hypocrisy - NY Times
"For example, the cost to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent would be ignored, as would the fiscal effects of repealing the health reform law. At the same time, the new rules bar the renewal of aid for low-income working families — extended temporarily in the recent tax-cut deal — unless it is fully paid for.  House Republicans obviously believe they have a good thing going with voters by sanctifying tax cuts and demonizing spending. That’s been their approach for 30 years after all, and it unfailingly rallies their base."
Historians Find Myriad Errors In VA History Textbooks - TPM
"Virginia's Department of Education requires textbooks to fulfill certain "Standards of Learning" goals, including making sure history standards provide "a basic knowledge of American culture through a chronological survey of major issues, movements, peoples, and events in the United States and Virginia history."  The state's Standards of Learning disqualifies many textbooks produced for a national market from being used, leaving Five Ponds Press in a unique position of providing several books for the state. Five Ponds' books are reportedly less expensive than its competitors, too."

29 Dec
 
none Around and About in West Chicago - 29 Dec 2010
  • Reverend Timothy J. Mitchell, the new pastor at First United Methodist Church
  • “Cooking for Health: Healing Foods & Cooking Techniques”
  • Light Automated Traffic Law Enforcement
  • Thorium Clean Up
Hultgren looks forward to challenges as Congressman
none"While Hultgren cut his political teeth in the Illinois General Assembly, he was impressed to learn that more than half of the freshman class won seats in their first attempts at a public office.  “This is refreshing to see, because it means that doctors, businessmen and everyday people are getting a voice as candidates, and they are not hand-picked by the party to seek office,” he said."
Avoid these mistakes when donating to charity
"“A smart donor takes a hard look at a charity’s programs, finances and governance before making a donation. While almost all charities have the best of intentions, not all organizations meet standards or are well managed.”"
Quinn looks at bonds to cover budget deficit
none"“He’s working on a variety of options,” Quinn budget spokeswoman Kelly Kraft said. “He’s working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to come to a solution to stabilize the budget.”  Those include a 1 percentage point increase in the income tax, estimated to raise about $3.1 billion a year, which Quinn has said would go toward education funding and “responsible borrowing,” Kraft said."
Green Labor Journal Highlights Clean Energy Strategies - AFL-CIO
"The latest online edition of Green Labor Journal explains how the Ironworkers joined with SolarWall® to help workers become a key part of the solar air heating sector in the United States and Canada, while at the same time providing clients with the highest quality installation."
Radical Nigerian Muslim group claims attacks - Assoc Press
"A radical Muslim sect has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve bombings and church attacks in Nigeria that killed at least 38 people, and the group threatened new attacks to avenge local violence against Muslims.  Religious fighting has left more than 500 people dead this year in the deeply divided region where Jos is located. Authorities had already blamed the Boko Haram group for some of the deaths Friday, but the online statement attributed to the group was the first solid connection between the violence in two cities.  "Therefore we will continue with our attacks on disbelievers and their allies and all those who help them," the statement said."
Cryptome Exposes CIA Hypnosis Programs - MotherJones
"No surprises here to those who are well-acquainted both with science fiction and the CIA's fondness for far-out mind experiments. Ackerman reminds us about Project MKULTRA and the crazy acid tests that comprised America's war on commies until the '70s, when Congress' Church Commission put the kibosh on all that cloak-and-doctor intrigue. Even so, these two docs, dated from 1954 and 1955, are worth a good read. And they remind us that digital leak sites can do more than publicize the lifestyles of the Kazakhstani leadership."
In Mexico, only one gun store but no dearth of violence - Washington Post
none"To buy a gun, clients must submit references and prove that their income is honestly earned, that their record is free of criminal charges and that their military obligations, if any, have been fulfilled with honor. They are fingerprinted and photographed. Finally, if judged worthy of owning a small-caliber weapon to protect home and hearth, they are allowed to buy just one. And a box of bullets... President Felipe Calderon reported this month that Mexican forces have captured more than 93,000 weapons in four years. Mexican authorities insist that 90 percent of those weapons have been smuggled from the United States."

28 Dec
 
none WCPT is reporting an auto accident at IL59 and Arbor Ave at 10:30 AM.

KOTECKI AND THE FOREST PRESERVE JUST TOOK MORE PROPERTY OFF THE TAX ROLLS IN WEST CHICAGO !!! - FB, Mike Kwasman

Call for Art - City of West Chicago Community Banner Projectt
"The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission invites accomplished and emerging artists, with a connection to the City of West Chicago (either through residence, work or school), or currently living in the Chicagoland area to submit digital files of original art for consideration of the Community Banner Project Competition."
CDH, Delnor hope everybody wins in merger
none"“Both of us together saw a bigger vision about how we could do good things for our communities,” Central DuPage CEO Luke McGuinness said. “We're obviously in contiguous communities. Scale matters in this business. I believe we both saw that we could improve the quality and, hopefully, get more efficient if we did things together.”
Notable deaths in 2010 in DuPage County
"There are people who died in service to their country. People who passed after long battles with diseases and in freak accidents. There are victims of terrible tragedies and unspeakable crimes. And there are those who simply surrendered to time."
New law requires disclosure by pet stores
"The Illinois Department of Agriculture says the new law will require that stores provide an animal’s vaccination history and other details about its health. Stores also will have to disclose the name of the breeder as well as the animal’s date of birth, breed and other details.  The department says stores now must disclose such information only if it is requested and sometimes don’t provide it until a sale is final."
CALL FOR ART - 2011 Community Banner Project Competition
"The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission invites accomplished and emerging artists, with a connection to the City of West Chicago (either through residence, work or school), or currently living in the Chicagoland area to submit digital files of original art for consideration of the Community Banner Project Competition."
Quinn floats $15B borrowing plan to pay bills
none"As the state's stack of unpaid bills grows, Gov. Pat Quinn is floating the idea of borrowing roughly $15 billion to alleviate the pressure, though taxpayers would be saddled with loan payments for years.  The governor has approached several lawmakers with a plan he's dubbed a "debt bond." While the name is somewhat redundant, the thinking is the state can pay back what it owes and plug its big budget hole -- if only for a year."
Scientists seeking miscanthus safeguards
"Miscanthus, a tall grass that many see as a major player in the biofuels and feedstock industries, has many pluses, but one particular negative – the variety that is being planted is all from one source.  That makes it possible for diseases or pests to wipe out the monopoly plants. But there are other hybrids available, especially in Japan."
Gaming no fast cure for state finances
"The measure essentially has three major components. It calls for a land-based casino in Chicago along with new riverboat casinos in Lake County, south suburban Cook County, Rockford and Danville. Senate Bill 737 also allows existing casinos to expand their operations by adding gaming positions.  Finally, the bill allows the six horse racing tracks in Illinois to add slot machines, creating what are usually described as “racinos.”"
Airline Pilot Finds Out the Benefits of Union Membership - AFL-CIO
"The accident on that June night broke more than 18 bones and shattered his finances, but it also solidified his belief in being a union member. Says Burnett:
"I was surprised to learn that Union Plus offered grants to help cover hospital bills. Being eligible to receive a grant helped me out a lot during a tough time. Having the union help me in a time of need has made me really appreciate being a part of a union."
Harry Potter was a good Christian? - CNN
"When the Harry Potter series first burst on to the scene in 1998, some Christians denounced the book about a young wizard learning the ways of magic. Several small independent churches even publicly burned the books. The series ranks first in the American Library Association’s Top Banned/Challenged books from 2000-2009."
Lawmakers Fund Pet Projects Without Earmarks - NY Times
none"Though Mr. Kirk and other Republicans thundered against pork-barrel spending and lawmakers’ practice of designating money for special projects through earmarks, they have not shied from using a less-well-known process called lettermarking to try to direct money to projects in their home districts.  Mr. Kirk, for example, sent a letter to the Department of Education

27 Dec
 
none

This Week in West Chicago

CableCom Programming Schedule Channel 17
"Stop by the Channel 17 YouTube page and check out the promos loaded over the past year. Let me know which promos or programs(if you got to see them) you liked the best. It's been a great year for me at Channel 17 and I look forward to an even better one in 2011. Don't forget, if you have some video you've shot and want to share with West Chicago, let me know and we'll try to get the video on the air. "
Lombard native teaches historical holidays at Kline Creek Farm
none"Wayne Hill did not set out on his time with the DuPage County Forest Preserve to be a historical interpreter. But after 13 years as a forest ranger, colleagues encouraged him to apply for the position when he told them that he wanted to enter the environmental education side of things.  Eleven years later, the Lombard native teaches patrons at West Chicago’s 19th century-style Kline Creek Farm about life in the 1890s. This month, Hill has taken visitors through a Victorian home set up as it would have been for a late 1800s holiday celebration."
Report: Illinois pension bill may cut too deep for teachers
"If the new retirement benefits don’t meet the standards, the school districts, not the state, will have to pay the 6.2 percent employer contribution to Social Security. Teachers also would have to pay a 6.2 percent payroll tax in addition to the 9.4 percent of their paychecks they already contribute to their pensions... When the changes were approved, representatives of Illinois’ two major teachers’ unions, the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, pointed out that the state’s retirement costs are less per teacher than if they participated in Social Security."
Jobs: Gifts We Really Need - AFL-CIO
"We know that American families need jobs. But American businesses also need jobs—rather, they need customers with jobs. When millions of unemployed workers and their families have little money to spend, businesses, big and small, have few customers. Production stalls, hiring is frozen and investments are put on hold. Firms cannot thrive and the economy will not return to health until people can afford to buy the things they need."
'Don't Ask' repeal raises concerns for chaplains - USATODAY.com
"However, the reality is that in today's U.S. military, people of sharply different moral values and religious convictions -- including those who believe that abortion is murder and those who do not, and those who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and those who do not -- and those who have no religious convictions at all, already co-exist, work, live, and fight together on a daily basis. The other reality is that policies regarding Service members' individual expression and free exercise of religion already exist, and we believe they are adequate. Service members will not be required to change their personal views and religious beliefs; they must, however, continue to respect and serve with others who hold different views and beliefs."
Jimmy Carter vs. guinea worm: Sudan is last battle - Associated Press
"In the 1950s the 3-foot-long guinea worm ravaged the bodies of an estimated 50 million people, forcing victims through months of pain while the worm exited through a swollen blister on the leg ... Today the worm is even closer to being wiped out. Fewer than 1,700 cases have been found this year in only four countries — Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali and Sudan, where more than 95 percent of the cases are. The worm's near-eradication is thanks in large part to the efforts of Carter and his foundation.  "I'm still determined to outlive the last guinea worm," Carter told The Associated Press in a phone interview."
What is Traitorware? - Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Ostensibly, Sony was trying prevent consumers from making multiple copies of their CD’s, but the software also rendered the CD incompatible with many CD-ROM players in PC’s, CD players in cars, and DVD players. Additionally, the software left a back door open on all infected PC’s which would give Sony, or any hacker familiar with the rootkit, control over the PC. And if a consumer should have the temerity to find the rootkit and try to remove the offending drivers, the software would execute code designed to disable the CD drive and trash the PC."
25 Dec
24 Dec Track Santa on NORAD
EPA launches site for info on chemicals
none"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a new web-based tool that allows the public to search for and have easy access to health and safety studies on industrial chemicals.  The chemical data access tool allows users to conduct a chemical-specific search for thousands of health and safety documents on a wide range of chemicals submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)."
Baby Boomers not so laid back about living for today, man
"According to the survey,  80 percent of Boomers say they are dissatisfied compared with 60 percent of the Millenials, those between the ages 18 to 29. Generation Xer’s came in at 69 percent and 76 percent of the Silent and Greatest Generation felt thing could be a lot better in the country."
Forest district to build at Blackwell
none"The site will be north of the existing Grounds and Resources complex at 29W220 Mack Road and will replace the district’s aging facility at Churchill Woods Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn... About $7.5 million has already been approved for the project from O’Hare mitigation fees and investment earnings on landfill environmental funds. Neither bond proceeds nor property tax dollars will be used."
Letters: A message from Rep. Foster
none"For the last three years I have given my heart and soul to the people of the 14th Congressional District. I want to thank my constituents for the honor of representing you. It has been a humbling experience to represent you and I am touched by the trust you placed in me. I am proud of our accomplishments and the positive impact they have had and will still have in the years to come.    "
Illinois unemployment rates keep falling
"For the third month in a row, unemployment fell in every metropolitan area of the state, including Springfield, in November compared with a year earlier, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.  Local unemployment of 7.5 percent compared with 7.6 percent in October and 7.9 percent in November 2009. The year started with area unemployment at 10 percent. The Springfield figures include Sangamon and Menard counties."
Talking Unions this Holiday Season
"At gatherings with family and friends this holiday season, you may run into those who don’t see unions as key to rebuilding America and the middle class. Be prepared with the facts. Our friends at American Rights at Work have compiled this guide to help you shed light on what unions are really all about."
Do Christians Overemphasize Christmas? - Wall Street Journal
"It goes like this: Christmas isn't simply bad for all the usual reasons—the grotesque materialism that its celebration encourages, the assault of sentimentality and kitsch that somehow seems to grow worse every year, and the smarmy wrapping of it all in the most inflated spiritual rhetoric.  On top of all that, says the Ranter, there is a grievous theological error. In placing so much emphasis on Christmas, Christians fail to grasp the meaning of their own story—in which Easter clearly should take pride of place."
How the Road to Bell Was Paved - City Journal
"In Illinois, local officials are virtuosos in the art of “pension spiking.” The Chicago Tribune reports that the 55-year-old administrator of Bellwood, a predominantly black, working-class suburb just outside Chicago, retired this year with a pension of $252,689—based on a salary of $472,255 in 2009, boosted from $168,593 in 2005. In his final year of employment, this frantic go-getter was paid under ten different job titles."

23 Dec
 
DuPage added to list of confirmed Jimmy John's salmonella cases
"This week, local Jimmy John's restaurants pulled sprouts from their sandwiches as a precautionary measure.  There have been 50 confirmed cases in Illinois so far, Arnold said.  Jimmy John's stores and their sprouts providers have tested negative since the outbreak began."
West Chicago HS "Kids Around" for Charity
none"Unusual fundraisers are not new to CHS. In the past five years, over $ 50,000 has been raised to build schools in Angola, Africa through teacher “sumo wrestling” tournaments, dances, swim-a-thons, concerts, change drives and the sale of ceiling tiles.  The “Just Kidding” fundraiser asked students to buy a lollipop for a quarter and designate which staff member the quarter should go towards. The staff member with the most contributions the day of the Pep Assembly won the honor of kissing a baby goat; otherwise known as a “kid”.
Science teacher Jill Serling won the contest. Not to be outdone, runner-up Pete Martino, the Assistant Principal, volunteered to “kid around” and give Mongo a kiss as well."
Tests find no sign of Asian carp at Indiana marsh
"There have been concerns that the fish might use Eagle Marsh near Fort Wayne to swim from the Wabash River system into the Maumee River and then on to Lake Erie during floods."
Rockford solar farm given state energy contract
"A planned solar farm backed by Wanxiang America was one of nine providers of alternative energy to win a state renewable energy contract, Gov. Pat Quinn announced today.  The vendors, which include FPL Energy Illinois Wind in Lee County, won 20-year agreements to supply Ameren and Commonwealth Edison with renewable electricity. The long-term agreements will help Illinois meet the goals established by the state’s renewable portfolio standard, which was passed by the Legislature in 2007."
Housing markets show little change over the year
"A report from the Illinois Association of Realtors pointed out state unemployment has gone down eight months in a row, dropping to 9.6 percent in November. The rate was 12.2 percent at the start of the year.  Illinois has added 54,700 jobs this year, but the report said that pace is not fast enough to provide a significant boost to the real-estate market.  Statewide home sales totaled 6,884 in November and 95,973 year-to-date. The median price of $145,000 is little changed from a year ago, while the year-to-date median of $153,000 is down 2.8 percent from 2009."
U.S. Workers Earned Less in 2009 Than in 2008 - AFL-CIO
"New data show America’s workers earned less in 2009 than in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation was down by 3.2 percent in 2009 with declines in construction and manufacturing fueling the plunge.  St. Louis County, the hardest hit, saw a decline of 11.5 percent."
Wealth and the Religious Right - Talk to Action
"Trinity Broadcast Network leaders Jan and Paul Crouch purchased a $5 million home  in California primarily because of the need the dogs had for a larger yard.  The Lakewood church in Houston, run typically by one family, takes in over $54 million a year in revenues.  Its pastor lives in a $2.3 million home. It projects its revenues to increase to $77 million.  Lady TV preacher Joyce Meyer  is seeking to catch up with Lakewood church.  Her home and furnishing certainly surpasses the Lakewood version.  Joyce employees her own hairdresser and her home is furnished with lavish collectables.  Her family all receives nice expensive cars to go along with a $10 million jet Joyce keeps to travel to share her prosperity gospel stories.  Reports claim that TBN, which frequently pleads for more sacrificial giving from its faithful, has assets of over $538 million."
Rules For (Republican) Radicals - The New Republic
"The old rules, created under the highly successful 1990 deficit reduction deal between George Bush and (mostly) Democrats in Congress, any new entitlement spending or tax cuts had to be offset with entitlement cuts or higher taxes... More importantly, the GOP new rules mean that new tax cuts do not require any offsets at all. Which is to say, they are replacing a rule that prevented policies that add to the deficit with a rule that enables policies that add to the deficit. They may call that "strict," but it is the opposite."
US gas demand should fall for good after '06 peak - Yahoo News
"To be sure, America will continue to burn more gasoline than any other country, in total and per capita, for decades to come... While America's diminishing demand will temper global demand, it will be more than offset by rapidly growing demand in China, India, the Middle East and Africa. As a result, declining U.S. gasoline demand will not bring lower pump prices."
22 Dec  
none Around and About in West Chicago - 22 Dec 2010
  • Special Services for Christmas
  • City Council Meeting
  • Candidates in the Consolidated Election
  • District 94 SkillsUSA
  • Stock Market Game
The Bookies Exhibit their Passion for the Art of Hand Bookbinding at Gallery 200
"The Bookies are a passionate group of women dedicated to the art of hand bookbinding. Meeting monthly in each other’s homes, Cheryl Mahowald, Mary Hagerty Sabo, Marilyn L. Schweitzer, Barbara Erickson and Carla Klausler hone their skills and learn new bookbinding techniques, growing both artistically and socially from the community atmosphere. Their combined works, entitled The Bookies, will be on display throughout January as the Featured Artist Exhibit at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, in downtown West Chicago."
Couple Brightens the Holiday for Neighbors
"It started with a conversation about being called upon to feed the hungry that prompted Charmaine and Liam Kellstedt to put their beliefs into action. The West Chicago couple who are neighbors of the Main Street Apartment complex knew of the needs that existed through the West Chicago Police Department's Neighborhood Resource Coordinator, Lulu Holguin."
  • 1 in 13 local bridges ‘structurally deficient’
    "“Just because a bridge is structurally deficient doesn’t mean the bridge shouldn’t be traveled on,” said Nancy Singer, a Federal Highway Administration spokeswoman. “Those bridges should just be paid more attention to with more frequent inspections and use of load postings to reduce the amount of weight on the bridge. It doesn’t mean it should be closed.”"
  • Towns lag in bridge repairs
    "West Chicago has been sitting on its 20 percent share of a $2.1 million culvert bridge replacement for more than a year, waiting for federal matching funds to be approved. The structure, listed by the state as being in “serious condition,” is scheduled to be replaced in 2011."
Transportation Board fines CN for blocked crossings
"The board requires Canadian National to report every street-crossing blockage of 10 minutes or more as a condition of the Board’s approval of its 2008 acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company. In its November and December 2009 monthly reports, the railroad reported a total of 14 blockages caused by stopped trains. But an independent audit conducted on behalf of the Board by its third-party consultant, HDR Inc., found 1,457 instances during that same period of crossings blocked for 10 minutes or more by stopped or slowly moving trains."
West Chicago voters will decide fate of treasurer's office
nonenone"“It’s a duplication of effort in a lot of cases,” said West Chicago Mayor Mike Kwasman. “With technology being what it is, most towns don’t have a treasurer any more. I feel that it’s time to modernize things.”  Of the 39 communities that lie completely or partially in DuPage County, seven have elected city treasurers.  Kwasman said oversight of financial matters would still be accomplished through the city’s finance committee and the City Council."
Judge to George Ryan: You're staying in prison
"The federal judge who sentenced former Gov. George Ryan to 61/2 years in prison in 2006 refused Tuesday to release him early from custody, saying that while she was saddened by his wife's terminal illness, Ryan was to blame for his own plight.  Ryan's wrongdoing "has exacted a stiff penalty not only for himself but also for his family," U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer concluded near the end of her 58-page ruling."
Illinois to lose seat in U.S. House
"The five incoming Republican congressmen -- Bobby Schilling, of the Quad Cities area; central Illinois' Adam Kinzinger, Robert Dold and Joe Walsh in the north suburbs; and Randy Hultgren in the far southwest suburbs -- could find their districts vastly redrawn. And some incumbent Republicans could find more Democrats in districts that were once safe from political challenges."
No Thomson prison bidders; feds still interested
"Federal officials didn't participate in Tuesday's auction of the prison. But they sent a letter explaining that they still one day want to buy Thomson and turn it into a federal prison.  The Federal Bureau of Prisons' letter to Gov. Pat Quinn says the government still needs to get the money to buy the prison. It was up for bid at just less than $220 million."
Christian County hoping to go at least 1 for 2 on coal projects
none"Local officials, who learned this week the county was among four finalists for the $1 billion FutureGen carbon-storage project, also are hoping for a decision in early January on the $3.5 billion Taylorville Energy Center.  Elected officials and economic development groups have pulled out the stops by gathering support for the FutureGen project from the local chamber of commerce, community organizations, schools and health-care facilities."
Proposed NLRB Rule Requires Employers to Post Workers’ Rights - AFL-CIO
"Most workers have seen notices about their right to a minimum wage or safe workplace posted in the company break room or elsewhere on the job. Employers are required to post those notices by federal law.  But there is no requirement for employers to post any sort of notice about workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including the right to form a union. Now, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is proposing a rule that would require employers to post such notices in the workplace."
The Senate has a moral imperative to ratify New START - The Hill
"New START is vital to the U.S.’s ability to monitor Russia’s nuclear arsenals – the largest in the world – and ensure that safeguards are in place to contain the nuclear threat. As pastors and Christian leaders from various sectors of society, we cannot remain silent as this threat to life goes unchallenged and we strongly urge the Senate to pass New START without further delay."
Potential Mont. jurors stage 'mutiny' in pot case - Veaumont Enterprise
"Potential jurors staged a "mutiny" during a felony drug case, a Missoula County prosecutor says, and authorities worry the result will be viewed as a game-changer when it comes to future attempts at prosecuting drug cases in Montana.  Nearly all 27 Missoula County residents during the jury selection process on Thursday told District Court Judge Dusty Deschamps there was no way they would convict anybody of having a couple of buds of marijuana.:

21 Dec
 
Former Daily Herald reporter remembered as a mentor, straight shooter
"When he started at the Daily Herald, he worked for the city news staff covering the municipalities of West Chicago, Warrenville and Carol Stream.  “He was well-respected by his sources,” said DuPage County Editor Jim Davis. “In fact, I think he was one of the better writers who passed through the DuPage city staff.”"
Report: Number of red-light camera tickets drop
"But some officials tout the drop in tickets as proof that the red-light cameras are making streets safer... "The number is going down," Brown said. "The cameras obviously are working in terms of a public safety perspective."  But University of Illinois adjunct professor Rajiv Shah says he's studied the effectiveness of such cameras in Chicago and found that they don't nab the type of violators who cause the most serious crashes."
  • Committee selects replacement for Hultgren
    none"The 65-year-old Johnson is a former prosecutor and served in the Illinois House from 1993 until he retired in 2003. Johnson says he doesn't intend of running for a full term. Johnson has served on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. "
  • Ex-state rep picked to serve out term in 48th
    "Tom Johnson, a former Illinois state representative from the western suburbs, has been picked to serve the remainder of the state senate term of Randy Hultgren, who was elected last month to the U.S. House."
New Pastor, First United Methodist Church of West Chicago
"He worked fifteen years with a printing company in Rochelle, Illinois. In 1997, he began as a Student Local Pastor at Franklin Grove UMC while attending The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. In 2004 Pastor Tim was ordained an Elder in the Northern Illinois Conference and assigned to Peotone UMC."
TMCnet US Patents Awarded to Inventors in Texas (Dec. 20)
"Four inventors have invented a method for selectively redirecting session control for an internet protocol multimedia subsystem. The U.S. Patent was issued on Dec. 14 (No. 7,852,838). The co-inventors are Trent J. Miller, West Chicago, Ill., Uri S. Baniel, Highland Park, Ill., James P. Kovac, Streamwood, Ill., and Jheroen P. Dorenbosch, Paradise, Texas."
Small dog survives coyote attack in Wheaton
"A small dog was attacked in its own backyard in Wheaton by a group of coyotes last week but survived, police said. The coyote attack was the second reported in Wheaton this season. In the first attack, the dog died."
Jesse Jackson calls for George Ryan's release
"Jackson says he isn't trying to minimize the impact of Ryan's crimes. But Jackson says he's asking for mercy to allow Ryan to spend time with his wife, Lura Lynn Ryan, before she dies.  Lura Lynn Ryan has been diagnosed with cancer, and her husband's attorneys say she may have only three to six months to live."
FutureGen narrows potential carbon sites to 4
none"At least 25 surface acres are needed for a carbon-injection facility, plus a 1,000-acre buffer zone. Sandstone formations must be at least 3,500 feet underground, or about two-thirds of a mile, and must be topped by a minimum 400-foot thick “cap rock.”  The CO2 would be converted to liquid before it is injected into the sandstone. FutureGen requires that an initial well have 30 years of storage capacity."
First in Print: Child-poverty rates skyrocket in rural central Illinois
"The data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005-09 American Community Survey weren’t surprising to officials who have watched the trends — and the loss of jobs fueling those trends — first-hand. “It’s a sign of the times the past decade in rural American and rural Illinois,” said Les Huddle, superintendent of Jacksonville School District 117. The 3,418-student district is in Morgan County, where the share of children living in poverty leaped from 10.6 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2005-09."
Mitch McConnell Found His Calling: Scrooge of the Year
"It was a crowded field with half a dozen other candidates, but McConnell won handily with 42 percent of the vote.  After all, he spent the year leading filibusters against unemployment insurance, job creation, health care reform, Wall Street reform, health care for 9/11 first responders, the DREAM Act, Social Security cost of living adjustments, collective bargaining rights for public safety officers and just about anything that might benefit working families."
Naughty or Nice?  AFA's 2010 listing of top retailers and how they recognize Christmas - American Family Association
"If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.  If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."
Liquid gold: Donations questioned - Politico
"In all, at least 32 House members were given wholesaler contributions within a month of signing on to the legislation — including at least 10 lawmakers who were given contributions within a day of co-sponsoring the bill, according to a POLITICO analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and public records.  The wholesalers said the contributions had nothing to do with the co-sponsorships."
The Viral Spiral of 2010 - FactCheck.Org
"Perhaps the most-forwarded falsehood of all is a claim that "President Obama’s finance team" is planning to institute a 1 percent tax on all bank transactions. According to the e-mail, Obama and Pelosi plan to "sneak in" legislation instituting a tax on all bank transfers and deposits.  In fact, there are no plans for such a tax. A bill exists, but it has no support from Obama or Pelosi, or indeed anyone else (it has zero cosponsors). Rather, it’s the quixotic campaign of a single Democratic congressman, who has been trying since 2004 to get the federal income tax replaced with a 1 percent tax on bank transactions."

20 Dec
 
none

This Week in West Chicago

CableCom Programming Schedule Channel 17

  • "Big week on Channel 17 so please check out the program schedule. There are new editions of Paper Crafting Trends and IRM-TV starting at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday. We have two new programs this week, also. See Prayer Breakfast 2010 at 7:00pm and Local Music Night at 8:00pm on Wednesday. Starting at 10:00am on Frida..."
  • "Take a look at the promo for Local Music Night. The full program appears on Channel 17 this Wednesday at 8PM. Maybe after you see the program you'll want to check the event out live and in person?
none"Today, DuPage Republican Chairman Dan Cronin appointed former State Rep Tom Johnson to fill the remaining two years of Congressman-elect Randy Hultgren's State Senate term. While I had applied for and hoped to get that appointment, I look forward to working with Tom in that office."
none West Chicago Students Win In The Stock Market Game™
"After picking stocks that propelled them to the front of the class, students from Community High School took 1st Place in the Fall semester of The Stock Market Game program’s online portfolio simulation. The winning student team competed in the High School level in their geographic region, beating out over 490 other student teams."
RTA passes balanced budget without service cuts
"Metra, Pace and CTA riders shouldn’t have to fear fare hikes or service cuts next year thanks to a balanced budget passed by the Regional Transportation Authority Thursday.  The RTA board of directors passed a balanced 2011 budget contingent, of course, on funding remaining firm at the state and federal levels."
Teacher tenure, protests on line in education reform sessions
"While teachers unions argued that strikes only happen in severe cases in Illinois, representatives from the Stand For Children organization argued that Illinois is the third-highest state in teachers strikes and one of only 13 states that even allows teachers to strike. Stand For Children is a recently formed advocacy group that seeks solutions for modernizing the public education system."
Delnor, Central DuPage hospitals ink merger deal
none"“This is the next important step in achieving our vision to create a single, integrated health system,” Thomas L. Wright, Delnor’s president and CEO, said. “We are excited to bring together two top-quality health systems to deliver the best in medical care for the patients and communities we serve.”  Luke McGuinness, CEO at Central DuPage, said the two facilities hope to be joined by spring."
West Chicago Middle School Christmas Concert Extravaganza
"There is nothing like a holiday concert to put everyone in good cheer, and that's exactly what the West Chicago Middle School holiday concert accomplished! On Thursday, December 16, 2010 the students and staff were treated to a delightful performance by the West Chicago Middle School orchestra, chorus and band."
U.S. Senate confirms federal judge for Illinois
"The Chicago Tribune reports that Sunday's vote paves the way for Chang to become the first Asian-American federal judge in Illinois and at 40-years-old the youngest federal trial court judge in the United States."
Market study says Springfield resisted the recession
"The study found that health care, education and for all its financial troubles, state government, continue to provide a solid employment base in central Illinois But the report also comes with cautions that Springfield cannot rely indefinitely on those industries if the city expects to compete as the economy recovers."
none Republicans gain edge in redistricting - USA Today
"With four Republicans taking previously held Democratic seats, "The Democrats will have a wealth of targets to pick upon," Illinois state Rep. Mike Fortner, a Republican from West Chicago.  Fortner, a physics professor, has made redistricting something of a hobby. Last year, he entered a contest by the Ohio secretary of State to redraw that state's map and had the winning entry.  He said new geographic software will make this cycle the most transparent ever."
Billions for Millionaires, Zilch for Neediest Families - AFL-CIO
"Not only did Congress give zillionaires billions of dollars in tax breaks, they also told the people at the bottom of the economic ladder, “tough luck.”  With unemployment at nearly 10 percent and 19 million Americans currently living in “deep poverty”  (below half the poverty line),  federal funds for the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) program, the federal program that replaced welfare, have entirely dried up for the first time since 1996."
Grapevine megachurch premieres 3-D Christmas services - Dallas Morning News
"Some might call it wholesome innovation, others shameless gimmickry, but Fellowship Church is offering Christmas in 3-D this year.  "It's a little cheesy, but cheese works," said Ed Young, pastor of the Grapevine-based megachurch with campuses in Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth and Miami."
Fox's unbalancing act - LA Times
"Such data aren't in serious dispute among climate scientists. The way the data are interpreted can vary; it's legitimate for climate skeptics to reach conclusions that contradict mainstream theories. But only a crank would deny the underlying temperature dataa that show the Earth getting warmer — records compiled by independent stations around the world, combined with satellite measurements and confirmed by observations of rising sea levels, vanishing glaciers and other inputs — because to do so is to deny material and measurable facts. Instructing reporters to treat such facts as controversial is like telling them to question the laws of gravity when discussing plane crashes. The only reason for doing it is to further a partisan agenda, in this case an attempt to cast doubt on climate science in order to fend off government efforts to limit greenhouse gases."
The Local Community Radio Act Demystified - Prometheus Radio Project
"The new legislation removes the restrictions on spacing between Low Power FM radio stations and full-service radio stations on third-adjacent channels. That's what LPFM advocates have been hoping for for years, and it makes space for lots of new LPFMs! Yay!"

17 Dec
 
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Friends of the Museum Party - FB Becky Hall
"Just got home from the Holiday party for the Friends of the West Chicago City Museum - great food, wonderful conversation, and a tour of a beautiful historic home! Thanks, Keith, for hosting. Merry Christmas!"

Our Next State Senator
noneIn conversations with Mike Fortner last evening, he stated that he had almost finished filling out an application to be our next state senator, replacing Randy Hultgren who will become our next rep in Washington.  Rumor has it that Dan Cronin, the new DuPage County Board Chairman will also consider a "caretaker" (who would not run next cycle) to make redistricting less cumbersome.  West Chicago deserves a real senator, not a place holder.  Dr. Fortner is endorsed. - Bob
none Market Day
"Our January Market Day pickup will be here before you know it. Our next sale will be Thursday January 6, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. in Commons. You must place your order by: Monday, January 3rd at 11:00pm CST. Pick up time is 5:00-5:45 p.m."
West Chicago City Council to Consider Putting Two Questions to Voters
none"Two timely questions that address cost-savings and streamlined efficiency for West Chicago may appear on the April 5, 2011 ballot of the City's Consolidated Election following consideration by West Chicago's City Council at its meeting on December 20, 2010."
DuPage officials say power of prayer gives them strength
"Organizers stress the prayer breakfast isn’t a religious lobby, nor of political design. There are no VIP tables, so public officials tend to dine with groups of people they have never met.  One visitor, Renee Stima of Wheaton, said government officials supporting prayer and faith set a good example for tomorrow’s leaders."
Suburban representatives say yes to tax deal
none"Roskam said the “message” of the Nov. 2 election, where a number of long-term incumbents were unseated, reminded Congress that “we all need to come together and work together.”  The $858 billion legislation that will add to the nation's deficit would extend tax cuts first instituted under President George W. Bush for the next two years, renew jobless benefits for the unemployed, and cut Social Security taxes for a year."
Illinois State Police pull over thousands for cell phone use
"Illinois State Police report that two laws aimed at limiting the use of cell phones while driving have resulted in nearly 7,800 motorists being pulled over so far this year.  In January, Illinois banned the use of cell phones while driving in construction and school zones, as well as texting while driving."
Illinois State Police union OKs early retirement plan
"The deal allows troopers (age 50 or more with 25 years of serivice or 55 or older with 20 years of service) who retire before the end of this month to receive their full 6 percent raise scheduled for 2011 on their last day of work.  Agency officials believe the program will save $500,000 and that 70 to 90 officers will take advantage of it. A total of 114 officers are eligible to take the offer."
State police make early retirement offer to senior troopers
"Agency officials believe the program will save $500,000 and that 70 to 90 officers will take advantage of it. A total of 114 officers are eligible to take the offer.  State police spokesman Capt. Scott Compton said the agency believes many officers are waiting to retire until they receive their raises next year."
Trumka: Tax Deal First of Many Battles for Workers - AFL-CIO
"While desperately poor families are forgoing Christmas this year—prompting children to pen “Dear Santa” letters that ask for basics like boots, coats and money for electricity bills—Republicans fought tooth-and-nail for a gilded gift basket of income tax cuts worth $120 billion for America’s super-rich, and a new estate tax exemption would let off all but America’s 50 wealthiest families so their pampered children can keep more of their millions.  Let’s call these the cut-and-run Republicans, who cut taxes and run from responsibilities."
Christians and Atheists Square Off In Online Battle To Raise Money For Charity - Huffington Post
"Nearly $45,000 has been raised as of Thursday (Dec. 16) through the communities' fundraising pages at FirstGiving.com. Now Reddit's Muslim community has entered the competition, with some donations coming from members of Reddit's Christianity and Atheism groups."
Study: Fox News Viewers Are The Most Misinformed - TPM
"The University of Maryland study, called "Misinformation and the 2010 Election," looked at "variations in misinformation by exposure to news sources," among other things, and specifically newspapers and news magazines (in print and online), network TV news broadcasts, NPR and PBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.  The study found that daily Fox News viewers, regardless of political party, were "significantly" more likely than non-viewers to erroneously believe that:..."

16 Dec
 

January Library Activities

none Wildcat Preschool is Coming
"Community High School District 94 in West Chicago would like to invite your eager-to-learn preschoolers to the Wildcat Preschool. The program operates under the supervision of Brittney Bauer but is run by students enrolled in the Child Development Classes. The students apply what they have learned about the various stages of child development in a preschool classroom setting. The preschoolers learn their primary skills while enjoying social interaction. "
Here's the one poll result that probably most annoys hard-core Obamaphobes
none"They would probably tell you that most people hate Obama but are afraid to say so because it’s politically incorrect to admit such things.  I think the haters are wrong about that. I’m sure that people who say they like Obama personally are sincere about that.  Which brings me to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which SHOWS that fully 72 percent of Americans like Obama as a person. If that doesn’t rile the congenital haters, I don’t know what will."
Attorneys: Former Gov. Ryan's wife has 3-6 months to live
"The 76-year-old former governor has served three years of a 6 1/2-year sentence on convictions of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI when he was secretary of state and later governor from 1999 to 2003.  Lura Lynn Ryan, his wife of 54 years, has been diagnosed with a terminal lung disease. Ryan’s attorneys have said recently that she might have one to two years to live. But after she was hospitalized this week, doctors at Kankakee’s Riverside Medical Center said they found a new mass in her lungs, as well as lesions in her liver and cancer in her spine."
Workers Protest Rite Aid’s Corporate Greed, Disrespect of Workers’ Rights - AFL-CIO
"Rite Aid, the country’s third largest retail drugstore chain, is actively trying to thwart employees’ desire to join a union at its massive Southwest Regional Distribution Center in Lancaster, Calif., where 550 workers are seeking to join a union and bargain a contract. The company also is demanding that workers pay exorbitant increases in health care premiums."
Presbyterians sued over alleged sex abuse - Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky
"A California man sued the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Monday, saying the church failed to protect him and other children from an alleged sexual predator who assaulted him in 1988 in a Congo mission boarding house."
Obama's stimulus pours millions into faith-based groups - Politico
"The story of the Obama administration's large-scale spending on faith-based groups has been largely untold, perhaps because it cuts so sharply across the moment's intensely partisan narrative. And in fact, when the stimulus was being debated in February 2009, conservatives attacked the bill as "anti-religious" in its spending guidelines."
Votes to Ban Pet Projects Did Not Deter Requests - NY Times
"The $1.2 trillion measure includes more than 6,700 earmarks totaling $8.1 billion, according to data from Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington watchdog group, including millions from 24 of the 39 senators who voted last month in support of an earmark ban, which did not pass.  The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell

15 Dec
 
none Around and About in West Chicago - 15 Dec 2010
  • Schedule of Christmas Services
  • Strategic Planning Process by West Chicago Elementary School District 33
  • Re-accreditation of the West Chicago Police Department
  • Consolidated Election - Tuesday, April 5
  • West Chicago Park District Wildcat Youth Cheerleading 83
none P.A.W.S. FOR RECOGNITION
"The winners for the month of December are: Zach Bauler, of West Chicago (World Languages; Diana Beltran, of Carol Stream (Physical Development); Sonia Benitez, of West Chicago (Information & Technology); Agustin Calderon, of West Chicago (Information & technology); Mateo Carrasco, of West Chicago (Humanities); Samantha Fabiszak, of West Chicago (Humanities); Farrell Lewis, of West Chicago (Language Arts); Lucas Mackey, of West Chicago (Math & Science); Diana Mancera, of West Chicago (Language Arts); Juan Mendez, of West Chicago (World Languages); and Daisy Rosas, of West Chicago (Math/Science)."
DuPage County names Zay chair of water panel
none"“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Jim Zay, who was appointed Tuesday as chairman of the water commission. “But the past is behind us. We’re going to move forward, and we’re going to get our financial house in order over there.”"
Embattled DuPage Water Commission reappoints familiar faces
none"County Board member and Stormwater Committee chairman Jim Zay, who now serves on the commission, was named to head the new board.  His nomination by County Board Chairman Dan Cronin — who was heading up his first meeting Tuesday — drew unanimous support from his board peers Tuesday morning."
Top assistant is new DuPage state's attorney
"“We have 11 first-degree murder trials scheduled in the next three months,” he said. “So it’s going to be a very busy time in the state’s attorney’s office.”  He also identified the relocation of the Children’s Advocacy Center as a priority, and said he will spend time assessing the current state of his department before proceeding with any efforts to make changes."
Chicago's Midway Airport gets its first full-body scanner
"Chicago's Midway Airport has joined the already long list of airports that have full-body scanners.  Transportation Security Administration officials are set to officially unveil the new machine today."
WTO Ruling Shows Trade Law Can Work for Workers - AFL-CIO
"A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel’s ruling in favor of U.S. tariffs on passenger and light truck tires made in China shows “the rules of trade, when vigorously enforced, can be made to work for working people,” United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard said.  In September 2009, President Obama became the first president to enforce U.S. trade law when he imposed tariffs to protect domestic workers against a surge in tire imports from China. The original complaint came from the USW, and Obama’s decision led to a rebound in the tire industry."
Hardline Pakistan cleric offers reward to kill Christian woman - Reuters
"The sentence against Asia Bibi has renewed debate about Pakistan's blasphemy law which critics say is used to persecute religious minorities, fan religious extremism and settle personal scores. Non-Muslim minorities account roughly 4 percent of Pakistan's about 170 million population.  Maulana Yousef Qureshi, the imam of a major mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, offered a $5,800 (3,700 pounds) reward and warned the government against any move to abolish or change the blasphemy law."
In poll, many still skeptical of GOP - Washington Post
"The public is also divided down the middle when it comes to the top issue: About 45 percent say they trust the GOP when it comes to the economy; 44 percent side with Obama. In the wake of the 1994 elections, Republicans held a sizable, 23-point advantage over Clinton on the economy. The new poll also has even splits between Obama and the GOP on taxes and dealing with the threat of terrorism."
Senators load spending bill with earmarks - Washington Post
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) epitomizes the conflicted nature of the debate. Formerly a member of the committee that doles out earmarks, McConnell reluctantly embraced a moratorium on the practice last month to send a signal that Republicans are serious about curbing spending.  Yet the legislation includes provisions requested this year by McConnell, including $650,000 for a genetic technology center at the University of Kentucky, according to an analysis of the bill by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog."

14 Dec
 
none District 33 Orchestra at Stratford
"District 33 Orchestra will be performing two concerts at Stratford Mall on Thursday, December 16th. The Elementary Orchestra will play at 4 PM and the Middle School Orchestra will play at 4:30 PM. Both groups will play on the lower level of the mall near Kohl's. If you are out doing your holiday shopping, we'd love to see you at our performances."
A Caroling We Go.........
"All four first grade classes from Gary School will be walking to West Chicago Terrace Long Term Care to sing Christmas songs to the residents. The music teacher, Mrs. Andrea Farnham will accompany the group to assist in the singing."
Currier Elementary School
"Currier School Running Club this year has 60+ members from grades 3rd through 6th.  They meet every Thursday from 2:45pm - 3:30pm.  When the weather conditions are not favorable for running outdoors, conditioning is done in the gym.  The members of this running club have a goal in mind as they are training - each runner will log in a total of 26 miles by the end of the year.  This is the distance of a marathon!!  With only three months of running completed, some runners are very close to meeting this goal!  With help from the Currier PTO, the runners are offered some incentives throughout the year as a way to motivate them to reach their goals. The teachers who make up the Currier Running Club Committee are Mrs Durso, Ms. Hass, Ms. Frohnauer, Mrs. Loredo, Mrs. Lund, and  Mr. Edgar Tamayo."
Gary Elementary School"
Gary School running club tops out at 200 students ranging from grades first through sixth. They meet every Monday from 2:45-3:30 where we take attendance, stretch, run, and then stretch again. The first and second graders run around the school and the third through sixth graders run a longer distance - going around the school, using the public sidewalk all the way to the preschool and back to Gary. This year there are some first and second graders that are running with the older kids. When it is raining or to cold to go outside the runners participate in exercise stations indoors. Nine teachers volunteer their time to make this program work.  For more information please contact Mrs. Baker at  bakerk@wego33.org.   
Success in Efforts to Keep Roadways Safe
none"The West Chicago Police Department announced that Campaign #1 of the Illinois Department of Transportation funded grant was successful in educating the motoring public on child restraint, seatbelt, speeding, and alcohol related violations. The Campaign ran from November 12 -28, 2010 and resulted in 126 citations being issued; 29 for seatbelt and child restraint violations, and 4 violations for driving under the influence."
Wildcats girls basketball bested by Geneva
none"Wallner’s team entered the nonconference home game with a 6-0 record, but the Vikings spoiled the day with a 56-47 win. Wallner’s players made her feel a little better afterward by presenting her with a birthday cake."
Berlin takes over as DuPage State's Attorney
none"Berlin replaces Joseph Birkett, state's attorney for the past 14 years, who was sworn in Monday as an appellate court justice... The DuPage County board has 18 members, but Patrick O'Shea, a board member who was a candidate for the position, wasn't present for the vote."
Interstate 55 pileup investigated
"The massive pileup shut down Interstate 55 from mile marker 111 just north of Williamsville to about 10 miles north of Lincoln shortly after noon Sunday. The road was reopened by about 3:15 p.m. During the pileup, a tractor-trailer caught fire, according to police. Three nearby vehicles then caught fire, and an ambulance exploded."
Quinn terminating Put Illinois to Work program
none"Although he made the Put Illinois to Work program a centerpiece of his election campaign, Gov. Pat Quinn now says he will terminate the temporary jobs measure in mid-January.  The program's initial $215 million in federal funding ran out in September, but Quinn has since pumped in $122 million in state funds."
Reynolds, Del Monte, Chiquita Top List of Worst Companies for Freedom of Association - AFL-CIO
"According to the ILRF, R.J. Reynolds’ annual profits top $2 billion, but the workers who pick the tobacco that goes into the company’s products barely make $8,000 a year, just one-third of the official poverty level for a family of  four.  Executives of the nation’s second-largest tobacco company continue to refuse to meet with workers to discuss working conditions. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) reports that the tobacco workers suffer from racism, harassment, lethal pesticides, nicotine poisoning and lack of labor and human rights as well as poverty."
More Protestant churches feel economic pain
"To make ends meet, churches have laid off staff and frozen salaries, put off major capital projects and cut back on programs. At the same time, more of their congregation members and neighbors are asking for help with basic needs like paying the rent and buying groceries, the study found."
Romney: Workers Should Pay Their Own Unemployment Benefits - TPM
"Romney doesn't detail how the plan would work, but suggests something similar to, say, a health savings account, which employees pay into with their own money and can then draw from tax free when faced with medical costs. Personalized savings account aren't the only solution Romney offers to solve the unemployment mess.  The other option, he writes, is "putting in place financial incentives for employers to hire and train the long-term unemployed." Again, Romney doesn't offer details, but the phrase suggests government spending aimed at companies."

13 Decc
 
none

This Week in West Chicago

Events in DuPage Forest Preserves: Dec. 20 – 26
1890s Christmas - Kline Creek Farm on Dec 20, 23, 26

none State Champs
"Members of the West Chicago Park District Wildcat Youth Cheerleading 83 pound third grade squad were the state champions in the Illinois Recreation Association State Competition. The third annual Cheerleading & Pom State Championship competition was Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, 2010 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates."
none

District 94 Board of Education Meeting Agenda December 14, 2010

  • Personnel Reports
  • Proposed 2011-12 School Calendar
  • Parental Involvement Policy
ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAM OFFERS FREE GED CLASSES
"The evening Adult Education program of Community High School District 94 in West Chicago will conduct free classes which will prepare students for the General Equivalency Development Exam (GED). Federal and state grants allow all instruction and materials to be made available at no cost to the students."
Kirk, Hultgren hold town hall meeting in St. Charles
nonenone"Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and 14th District Congressman-Elect Randy Hultgren received a standing ovation after both men agreed that members of Congress should be held to the same standards as everyone else and follow the rules and regulations required of every American citizen."
Berlin nominated to be next DuPage state's attorney
none"Berlin joined the DuPage state’s attorney’s office in 2004, after stints in similar offices in Kane and Cook counties over the previous 17 years. Since April, he has been chief of the criminal bureau, which Cronin said gives him “a working knowledge of this office that will provide a seamless transition into this crucial role.”"
State to offer sales tax amnesty for online shoppers
"Illinoisans can often dodge sales taxes by shopping online, but the state is hoping to collect on those taxes next year by offering a sales tax amnesty.  A new law allows people who didn't pay sales tax on items bought online, through the mail or over the phone between June 20, 2004, and the end of 2010 to pay what they owe without penalty. The tax amnesty runs from Jan. 1 through Oct. 15."
Report puts Illinois in the middle of the pack for health
"The report listed Illinois' strengths as: a low occupational fatalities rate, ready access to early prenatal care, a ready availability of primary-care physicians and a high rate of high school graduation.  Illinois' challenges include a high prevalence of binge drinking, a high rate of preventable hospitalizations, high levels of air pollution and a high violent crime rate."
Feds in Illinois going after auto-service telemarketer
"Authorities aren't identifying the company involved or specifying the allegations. But prosecutors say they involve illegal robo-calling made to millions of U.S. consumers, who were told their auto warranties had expired or were about to lapse."
lllinois House committee to take on education reform
"Reform groups are pushing for changes to teacher tenure, performance evaluations and restrictions on strikes, which they contend will improve student and school performance.  Teachers' unions believe the effort is being rushed through the General Assembly with inadequate debate and could lead to an erosion of collective bargaining rights for teachers."
Illinois to remind people to pay sales tax on online purchases
"The state also plans to offer a more detailed line and worksheet on state income tax return forms designed to get taxpayers to pay the sales tax they owe on catalog, telephone or online items in which the retailer did not assess sales taxes, said Department of Revenue spokeswoman Sue Hofer... Illinoisans are supposed to pay the sales tax on online, catalog and telephone purchases when they file their income taxes, but few do. The state collects about $1 billion in sales tax revenue, but only $10.7 million came from people voluntarily paying sales taxes on their income tax forms or in response to mailings sent by the state, Hofer said."
Illinois House committee to take on education reform proposals
"“We are still trying to determine what is driving this,” said Dave Comerford, spokesman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “There’s long been a corporate push to gain more managerial control of the schools. Some of these things are very complicated issues. To slam something through in a couple of short weeks over the holidays is not the best way to go.”"
Buy Union for the Holidays, and All Year Long - AFL-CIO
"The AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department (UL&STD) has compiled a list of union-made products you can buy and another list of products and services that the AFL-CIO has approved for boycott.  Start your shopping list with a visit to the Union Label website, www.unionlabel.org, and click on Search for Union Products to see if a product is union made and what union produces it."
More Christians Are Fleeing Iraq In New Violence - New York Times
"A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.  The flight — involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular — followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians."
Do Americans Support Obama's Tax Cuts Deal? Depends How You Ask - TPM
"When the question was phrased not as a matter of personal preference, but in terms of what would benefit the economy as a whole, 19% said they preferred extending all of the tax cuts, 34% favored extending them only up to $250,000, and 27% supported allowing them all to expire "to help cut the deficit."  So while there are plenty of numbers floating around on the tax debate, one thing is clear: it's not a matter of who you ask, but how you ask."

10 Dec
 
none English Classes for Adults Offered at CHS
"Adults who want to learn how to speak English can take tuition-free classes from 7:00 p.m. until 9:15 p.m. on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday evenings at Community High School District 94 in West Chicago.  Students can register at Community High School from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, January 3, 2011. State and federal grants allow District 94 to provide instruction and materials at no cost to the students."
Navistar receives $123 million military contract
"The MaxxPro Dash award comes on the heels of the company's November award for MaxxPro Recovery vehicles. Navistar has continued to grow its product offerings by leveraging its current commercial capabilities and assets, which includes the proven commercial International WorkStar platform. This business strategy not only allows the company to respond quickly to vehicle orders, but it simplifies the integration of vehicle enhancements and the development of new truck variants."
Trains roll through land of Legos at Cantigny
"The ninth annual show features a world built of Lego bricks that spans from villages to skyscrapers, as well as scenes with kid-favorites Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Batman, to name a few.  The event has expanded this year throughout the Cantigny Visitors Center and includes a trackless outdoor train for children to ride, as well as a Lego design vendor selling unique construction plans."
Quinn: A frugal, not 'chintzy' inauguration
none"Plans are already under way, and the Illinois Inaugural Committee 2011 is raising money from private donors to pay for it.  The festivities include an inter-faith service, an open house at the Executive Mansion with Lieutenant Governor-elect Sheila Simon and the Inaugural Ball at the Prairie Convention Center."
Regulators oversee Illinois gas leak cleanup
"The state agency says the 8-inch pipe owned by Houston-based Buckeye Partners L.P. was less than two feet below the surface and may have been damaged by farming.  Cleanup crews used absorbent pads and booms to contain the leak, and gasoline was siphoned from the pond. The Illinois EPA says tests of nearby wells turned up no contamination."
AFSCME: Thomson prison needed to ease overcrowding
"AFSCME says the state's prison system has 48,510 inmates, putting it at 148 percent of capacity.  Thomson was completed in 2001 but never fully opened because of money problems. The federal government was interested in buying Thomson last year as a replacement for the suspected terrorist detention facility in Cuba, but that idea has stalled."
AFSCME agrees to defer half of July 1 raises due state workers
"Union members were scheduled to get a 4 percent pay hike on July 1, 2011. Instead they will receive 2 percent on July 1. The other 2 percentage points will be deferred until Feb. 1, 2012. Employees who agree by May 1 to retire before Jan. 1, 2012, won't have to defer the pay increase.  The move will cover roughly $30 million of the $50 million in savings outlined in AFSCME’s deal with Quinn. "
Information released on tickets to Quinn inauguration
"Spokesman George Sweeney told The State Journal-Register on Dec. 1 that members of the public also could contact their state representatives and senators, but he said Thursday that lawmakers don’t have tickets to distribute to the public.  The committee is distributing tickets to the inauguration ceremony at Springfield’s Prairie Capital Convention Center, as well as to an interfaith service earlier that day, an Executive Mansion open house with Lt. Gov.-elect Sheila Simon and the Inaugural Ball."
Human Rights Day: Workers Ask What’s Gone Wrong at Chase? - AFL-CIO
"Today is International Human Rights Day and hundreds of union members, religious leaders, activists, farm workers and victims of bank home foreclosures are protesting at 100 JP Morgan Chase Bank branches across the country to demand the bank respect the basic human rights of people to have decent places to live and work."
An Obama foreign policy win in South Sudan - Washington Post
none"Barring technical failures that delay the vote, or unexpected violence, South Sudan will approve an independence referendum on Jan. 9. Six months later, a new flag will rise, a new anthem will be played. It is a rare, risky, deeply American enterprise: midwifing the birth of a new nation. Even six years ago, this outcome seemed impossible. The mainly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south were engaged in a two-decade-old civil war that unleashed genocide, produced millions of refugees and took about three times as many lives as the American Civil War."
E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules on Emissions - NY Times
none"The delays represent a marked departure from the first two years of the Obama presidency, when the E.P.A. moved quickly to reverse one Bush environmental policy after another. Administration officials now face the question of whether in their zeal to undo the Bush agenda they reached too far and provoked an unmanageable political backlash.  Environmental advocates are furious. They fear a similar delay on the approaching start of one of the most far-reaching regulatory programs in American environmental history, the effort to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases."

09 Dec
  
none December E-Newsletter
  • Civil Unions Passes House
  • Medical Marijuana Fails
  • Thorium Clean Up will Continue
  • Jobs Saved
  • Coat Drive Underway
none Tree of Memories Servicee - FB, Marguerite Czajka
"Saturday 1:00pm at Norris-Walen-Segert Funeral Home, West Chicago, IL
Every year the funeral home hosts a non-denominational service along with Christmas trees filled with ornaments in the memory of loved ones who have passed away. Anyone is welcome to bring an ornament in memory of a loved one to hang on the tree. After the service, refreshments and live Christmas music can be enjoyed."
Gary School Dual-Language Teacher Participates as Panelist
none"This case study focused on dual-language programs as a “promising model in bilingual education” in response to the new education mandate in Illinois. This mandate states that public preschools are required to offer bilingual education to all three- and four-year olds who do not speak English.  Ms. Gatto was asked to participate on the panel entitled “Dual-Language Learning: Theory & Practice”, during which she discussed her experiences as a Dual-Language teacher."
UI gets $660,000 to bring Latinos into biological sciences
"The University of Illinois has received a major grant for research fellowships to encourage Latino students to pursue careers in biological sciences.  The $662,836 award from the National Science Foundation will be used to establish a UI program called New Biology Fellows, providing research opportunities and mentoring for Latino undergraduates."
Illinois signs new contract for cotton for inmate underwear
"The department hired another company to supply the cloth this week. The new contract is worth $183,800 — an estimated $50,000 more than the last one.  Illinois doesn't purchase pre-made boxer shorts. It buys the broadcloth, which is then made into shorts at an inmate labor program at the Sheridan Correctional Center north of Ottawa."
Peeling paint repairs inside Capitol to cost state $137,000
"Paint on that part of the dome has been subject to peeling before, the last time in 2005. State officials believe high heat and humidity in that part of the building caused the paint to peel. The entire dome acts as a sort of natural chimney in the building.  Haupt said workers will use a different type of paint that officials think will stand up better to the conditions."
Republicans Block Workers’ Rights, Social Security, Mine Safety Bills - AFL-CIO
"Living up to its reputation as the party of “No,” Republican lawmakers yesterday blocked action on a Social Security cost of living supplement, stalled collective bargaining rights for public safety officers and stonewalled stronger mine safety laws. Republican leaders have vowed to halt all Senate action until the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy are brought to a vote."
Inhofe Makes Big Picture Protest of Hometown 'Holiday' Parade - National Journal
"“This is a bigger picture,” Inhofe said this morning on Fox and Friends. “You look around the country and see the atheist billboards and school boards saying you can’t have a nativity scene but you can have a Muslim star… I would expect that in other places, but not here in Tulsa.” Inhofe said that he hadn’t missed riding in the parade for 30 years, and this year mounted up for the nearby Broken Arrow Christmas Parade so he could be in a “real” Christmas event."
Life Expectancy Declines in Some U.S. Populations - KaiserNetwork.org
"However, the study found that in the last two decades of the millennium, 19% of women and 4% of men in the U.S. saw either no change or a decline in life expectancy (Kornblum, USA Todayy, 4/22). Researchers found that life expectancy for women declined by an average of 1.3 years from 1983 to 1999 in 180 counties, while men's life expectancy decline by 1.3 years in 11 counties (AP/Long Island Newsday, 4/21). According to the study, "The majority of these counties were in the Deep South, along the Mississippi River and in Appalachia, extending into the southern portion of the Midwest and into Texas" (Fox, Reuters/Boston Globe, 4/22)."

08 Decc
 
none Around and About in West Chicago - 01 Dec 2010
  • Christmas Activites
  • Moms in School 12th annual Breakfast with Santa
  • Winter Wegnerland Fest
  • Holiday Celebration for the Community, sponsored by American Legion
none none"Enjoyed attending the American Government Legislative Simulation today at West Chicago Community High School. No matter what you choose to be in life, you're going to be involved in the political process, either actively or passively. This program helps develop skills for both, and is yet another reason that our civics/American Government curriculum is second to none."
none

Committee of the Whole meeting held on December 2, 2010

  • Budget Planning Calendar
  • Update of State Payments
  • Wellness Fair Report
  • Middle School Project Planning
none 2010 Holiday Choir Concert
"The West Chicago Community High School Choir will perform their annual Holiday concert on Tuesday, December 14th at 7:30 p.m. in Weyrauch Auditorium at the high school. The program will feature many of your favorite holiday selections along with new pieces to help brighten your holiday season.
Annual Frosty Fest Essay Contest
  • Grades 1 & 2: Christina Champagne – Wegner School
  • Grades 3 & 4: Dayanne Romero – Pioneer School Grades
  • 5 & 6: Emily Pietura – Wegner School
City Slide Show Captures Highlights of Frosty Fest
"Those that attended enjoyed the scenic picture of a glistening downtown, a spectacular tree lighting, holiday crafts, an ice sculptor, live reindeer and everyone’s favorite visitor from the North Pole ~ Santa.
none DuPage Water Commission: Beleaguered water commission taking on a new face
nonenone"Cronin, sworn in Monday night, tapped current Water Commissioner and DuPage County Board Member Jim Zay, R-Carol Stream, to be the commission’s chairman. If County Board members confirm Zay at next week’s meeting, he will replace former Illinois Supreme Court Justice S. Louis Rathje, chairman since 2006.:
none You’ll need to show ID to send packages through UPS
none"If you’re sending holiday packages via UPS, you’re going to get carded.  Increased security is behind United Parcel Service’s directive today that retail shippers check customer IDs before sending UPS packages unless they have preprinted shipping labels, the company said in a news release."
none Illinois casino plan could amp up gambling competition
none"But experts point out that while it could allow Illinois to take more money from its own residents rather than having them spend their money in Indiana or Wisconsin, it's unlikely it would drum up new gamblers or draw people from very far away. And with casinos already scrambling for every customer, it's possible Illinois will become so crowded with gambling opportunities that some casinos will fail, they warn."
Feds fine U.S. Minerals in Coffeen for safety violations
none"A U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration press release said Tuesday that workers at the U.S. Minerals facility have been exposed to dangerously high levels of hazardous dust and have not been provided adequate breathing equipment and training.  The company manufactures abrasives from slag produced at coal-fired power plants."
none Study: Half of Seniors At Risk for Poverty - AFL-CIO
none"Here’s one big reason congressional Republicans and the deficit hawks are dead wrong about cutting Social Security benefits: According to a new study, nearly half  (47.4 percent) of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 90 will experience at least one year of poverty or near poverty and seniors of color are twice as likely to be affected."
none Iowa faces new abortion battle - Des Moines Register
none"Key Iowa Republicans are drafting legislation mirroring a new, more restrictive Nebraska abortion law in an attempt to derail plans of a Nebraska doctor to open a Council Bluffs clinic where late-term abortions would be performed.  A new law took effect Oct. 15 in Nebraska that bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, or roughly five months, except in cases in which the mother’s life is in jeopardy."
none How America will collapse (by 2025) - Salon
"Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65 percent of Americans believed the country was now "in a state of decline."  Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America's closest economic partners are backing away from Washington's opposition to China's rigged currency rates"
Judge Will Allow Jurors to See Video of 8-Year-Old Being Killed by Uzi at Gun Show - NY Times
"The authorities say that Christopher shot himself in the head while firing a 9-millimeter Micro Uzi at the October 2008 Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo in Westfield, Mass. He was accompanied by his father, an emergency room doctor.  William M. Bennett, the Hampden County district attorney, said the father had chosen the gun for his son to fire because it was smaller — something that actually made it more dangerous and harder to control."

07 Dec
"A day that will live in infamy..."
none D33 Holiday Concerts
Currier                           Tues., Dec. 7 at 1:30pm & 7pm
Grades 2, 4, 6 and choir    
Gary                              

Wed.., Dec. 15 at 1:00pm

Indian Knoll Thurs., Dec. 16 
  2nd at 12:30pm,
  3rd at 1:15pm,
  6th at 2pm
Pioneer                                  Wed., Dec. 15 at 1:30pm
Turner                            Thurs., Dec. 9 at 1:00pm
Wegner                           Friday, Dec. 10 at 1pm
D33 Band at WCMS Mon., Dec. 6 at 7pm
 
A Caroling We Go.........
Thursday, December 16, 2010, 10:30 am
West Chicago Terrace Long Term Care
All four first grade classes from Gary School will be walking to West Chicago Terrace Long Term Care to sing Christmas songs to the residents. The music teacher, Mrs. Andrea Farnham will accompany the group to assist in the singing.
Songs:  Jingle Bells, Feliz Navidad & Must Be Santa
none 2010 HOLIDAY ORCHESTRA CONCERT
"The West Chicago Community High School orchestra program will perform their annual Holiday Concert on Wednesday, Monday, December 13th at 7:30 p.m. in Weyrauch Auditorium at the high school. The program will include Holiday favorites as well as other works."
none Annual Frosty Fest Event Captured the Magic of the Holiday Season
none"West Chicago’s Frosty Fest lived up to its name with softly falling snow adding extra bling to the hundreds of lights that City and Park District crews had wrapped around trees and lampposts in preparation of the annual celebration."
County reports increase in cases of whooping cough
none"The number of cases to date in 2010 in the county is 60, and all of the people hit by the illness were under 18. There were 26 cases in 2009, 13 in 2008, 7 in 2007, 26 in 2006, 29 in 2005 and 127 in 2004.  The health department recently sent a letter to school districts informing them of the increase."
  Railroad Safety Presentation for Students of West Chicago Elementary School District 33
none"Fourth grade students throughout West Chicago Elementary School District 33 received a railroad safety education like no other. Officer Eric Graf of the Canadian National Police Department in cooperation with Operation Lifesaver, visited all six D33 elementary schools to teach children about safety around railroad tracks. The students were engaged through an animated presentation that included pictures, a movie, a safety display and a lecture"
West Chicago Middle School Fall Dance
none"The student council members were in charge of purchasing decorations and decorating the halls and doorways with a fall theme. Music for the dance was provided by Kiss FM 103.5 and pizza and candy was sold by the West Chicago Middle School PTO."
none Prospects in Legislature unclear for leftover bills
none"As is often the case, the biggest issues in the veto session itself had nothing to do with bills vetoed by the governor. Historic legislation authorizing civil unions in Illinois passed both chambers and went to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature.  Lawmakers also approved reduced pension benefits for future police officers and firefighters, changes demanded by cities to curb the rising costs of those benefits."
none School Reform or Permanent Underclass? - AFL-CIO
none"She also warns that the drive to privatize public education and “mindless reiteration of the corporate-driven message on school reform” shows that policy elites "seem bent on educating an elite population of students whose parents have the wherewithal to seek private alternatives, ipso facto evidence that their children already enjoy the preeminent source of improved performance that many children lack—engaged and caring parents…They’ve concluded the cost of hiring teaching teams and investing in reduced class sizes, let alone financing programs for children with special needs, has become politically unpalatable."
none Poll: Sarah Palin not trustworthy on abortion - Politico
none"Forty-three percent of all registered voters polled described Palin as “out of step” with their views on the issues; 31 percent say she is in line with their beliefs.  The poll reached 802 voters split evenly across party lines in early November and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent."
Pastors On the Faith of Public Figures - Ed Stetzer/Lifeway Research
none"75% consider former President George Bush to be a Christian, while only 41% believe current President Barack Obama to be a Christian. 66% consider Palin a Christian, but only 27% think of Glenn Beck as a Christian. And Oprah? Only 19% think of her as a Christian. Part of what makes this interesting is that two presidents, along with former Alaska Governor Palin, openly call themselves Christian."
none After PayPal, MasterCard Dumps Wikileaks - International Business Times
"Moreover, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King (R-N.Y.) wants Wikileaks listed as a 'terrorist' organization, which would prohibit U.S. banks from processing payments and make it a crime for anyone to provide "material support or resources" to the group."
Angry member groups shun U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Politico
"More than 40 local chambers issued statements during the midterms distancing themselves from the U.S. Chamber’s campaign — including nearly every major local chamber in Iowa and New Hampshire, key states for the presidential campaign.  Other chambers plan to take the extraordinary step of ending their affiliation with the U.S. Chamber, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania."

06 Dec
 
none

This Week in West Chicagoo

CableCom Programming Schedule Channel 17

District 94 Board Meeting Agenda

  • nonePolicy Series 3000 (Fiscal Management) and 6000 (Personnel) Update
  • Proposed 2010 Tax Levy
none Comcast broadband down for around five hours
none"William Gerth, a Comcast official, said cause was likely a Domain Name System issue. A cause was still yet unidentified as of Monday morning, Comcast officials said.  If the problem has persisted, to temporarily fix the issue Comcast recommended users change their router's DNS to Google's public DNS. Google's public DNS IP addresses are 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. For instructions on how to change your settings visit code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using.html#setupp
none

How your lawmakers voted

  • nonenonenoneMIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS
  • SCHOOL MEALS, CHILD NUTRITIONN
  • FOOD-SAFETY RULES
none Officials warn of conflicts in picking DuPage state’s attorneyyy
none
none Comcast says some still without Internet service
none"The account said Sunday night that the problem appeared to involve Comcast's Domain Name System (DNS), which translates numeral Internet addresses into domain names and vice versa.  The outage of high-speed Internet started at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and ended at 12:15 a.m. Monday, said Angie Amores, a Comcast spokeswoman."
none Redistricting plan calls for hearings, extra protection for minoritiess
none"Once the 2010 Census is complete, the legislature will begin redrawing legislative district boundaries to reflect the new population numbers. Raoul’s bill requires House and Senate redistricting committees to hold four public hearings throughout Illinois.  The bill also requires the legislature to draw maps that protect minority groups in districts in which they may not have a big enough share of the population to elect a lawmaker, but are still numerous enough to influence the outcome."
Prospects unclear for leftover legislation at Statehouse
none"Both chambers will return just after the new year to resume work on gambling, clean coal plants, abolishing the death penalty and anything else that can be crammed into the days remaining before a new General Assembly is sworn in Jan. 12."
none Vote for Who ‘Scrooged’ Workers the Most in JwJ’s Scrooge of the Year Contestt none"Now in its11th year, the contest highlights the CEO, corporation or politician who has done the most to “scrooge” workers in the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge before three ghosts scared the you-know-what out of him and he saw the error of his ways. But such a transformation is not likely from these Scrooge nominees.  Take a look at a short description of each, then click heree
none Opinion: The Changing Culture Warr - NY Times
"Decades of punditry, pop sociology and prejudice have been premised on this neat division — from the religious right’s Reagan-era claim to be a “Moral Majority” oppressed by a secular elite, to Barack Obama’s unfortunate description of heartland America “clinging” to religion. Like any binary, it oversimplified a complicated picture. But as a beginner’s guide to the culture war, the vision of white-collar social liberals and blue-collar cultural conservatives was, for a substantial period, more accurate than not.  That may no longer be the case."
none A Voting Reform Finds its Momentt none""The Oakland election was a remarkable one, not because of who won but the way she won and the way she campaigned,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVotee. “And how the system seemed to promote that better, more grassroots style of campaigning. Money is a lot less effective when it needs to be used to wipe out everyone, rather than just targeting a single opponent with attacks. In almost every executive race with instant runoff voting the candidate with the most money didn’t win.”"
Tax Cuts Usually Lead to Higher Unemployment. Tax Increases Lead to Lower Unemployment. - Buzz Flash
none"Since 1950 we have had five tax increases on the rich. Four out of five times unemployment went down.  Since 1950 we have ten cuts to the top marginal rate. Six out of ten times unemployment has gone up."

03 Dec
 
none 2010 HOLIDAY BAND CONCERTT
none"The West Chicago Community High School band program will perform their annual Holiday Concert on Wednesday, December 15th at 7:30 p.m. in Weyrauch Auditorium at the high school. The program will feature the Concert and Symphonic Bands, and will include Holiday favorites as well as other works."
none Senate OKs lower pensions for police, firefighters
none"Police and fire officials hired after Jan. 1 would have to work to age 55, instead of 50, to earn full benefits.  End-of-career pension bumps would end by requiring pension checks to be based on an average of an employee's final eight years' salary, not just the last year. The maximum salary that could be used to consider retirement benefits would be $106,800, adjusted each year for inflation."
West Chicago resident donates 35-foot spruce for fest
none"If the Colorado green spruce that is the centerpiece of West Chicago's Frosty Fest celebration could talk, it would have quite a tale to tell. It's had an eventful life for a tree.  The spruce, donated by 89-year-old West Chicago resident Jean Day, was cut down in mid-November and transported with great fanfare to Fox Community Center to be installed and decorated for the tree-lighting ceremony that takes place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4."
none DuPage panel rejects plan for Islamic Center
none"Citing concerns about a possible detrimental impact on well and septic systems and nearby property values, board members took less than 10 minutes for discussion before voting 6-1 against issuing a conditional-use permit to the Islamic Center of Western Suburbs."
Gary Elementary School 5th Grade Dual-Language Class Hosts "Feed My Starving Children" Event
none"On the evening of Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 68 participants of all ages gathered together at the "Feed My Starving Children" warehouse to package food that would be sent to Haiti the next day. The event was organized by Gary School teacher Gina Grupe and her 5th grade dual-language class in order to promote volunteerism. The group of volunteers was comprised of a local cub scout troop, students of varied ages along with their parents, and several teachers and staff from West Chicago Elementary School District 33."
none DuPage zoning panel rejects mosque
none""I believe that it's too intense a use of the property considering the septic field and the building itself and what they propose," said board member Barry Ketter, addressing colleagues and a crowd of around 50 persons."
none Illinois Senate rebuffs Quinn on open records veto
none"The Senate voted 48-3 to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s wishes and exempt all evaluations from the state’s Freedom of Information Act.  Under pressure from teachers’ and public employee unions, lawmakers last spring passed House Bill 5154 to keep public employee evaluations under wraps and exempt them from the state’s newly beefed-up version of the Freedom of Information Act. Media organizations complained lawmakers were diluting the state’s revised open records law, which took effect Jan. 1."
Senate approves increased reviews for state lease deals
none"The bill gives the state’s appointed Procurement Policy Board the authority to review new state building leases and file written objections to them if the board deems they are not in the state’s best interest.  Previously, the board had authority to review cases where the state was renewing a building lease."
Senate approves reduced pensions for new police, firefighters
none"Pensions would be based on the average of a police officer’s or firefighter’s highest-paid eight years of employment out of their final 10. State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said overtime pay earned during those years would be included in the calculation. But Senate Bill 3538’s sponsor in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, said overtime is not included."
none Jobless Workers Speak Out in New Video - AFL-CIO
"It takes just three minutes to slam the door shut on any argument behind congressional Republicans’ cruel refusal to maintain unemployment insurance benefits for jobless workers when we have an unemployment rate near 10 percent and five unemployed workers vie for every job opening.  Three minutes is how long it takes for jobless workers to tell their stories and urge you to help in a powerful new video. Please watch it and share it with everyone you know—e-mail or Tweet the link and put it on your Facebook page
none Crystal Cathedral: Bankruptcy filings show generous pay for founder's family and other insidersss none
"As revenue plummeted at the Garden Grove mega-church this year, and employees and vendors went without pay, the church paid more than $1.8 million to 23 insiders and Schuller relatives."
none CBS News Poll: Most Oppose GOP Tax Planan - CBS News
"According to a new CBS News poll, however, Boehner is off-base in his claim that Americans "want us to stop all the looming tax hikes."  The poll finds that 53 percent of Americans want the Bush-era tax cuts extended only for households earning less than $250,000 per year. That roughly matches the proposal put forth by the White House, which wants to extend the cuts only for incomes less than $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals."
Before Bankruptcy, Conservatives Touted Ireland As Model For U.S. - Think Progress
"MITT ROMNEY: Well, you know, the — the experience of other countries in the world is some guide. You take a nation like Ireland, for instance. They cut their tax rate. I believe it’s less than half of the tax rate in most of the other European nations. And they have become — well, they have moved from a basket-case economy to a booming economy. Jobs have been flowing into Ireland."

02 Dec
 
Strategic Planning Invitation
"I am please to inform you that West Chicago Elementary School District 33 will soon begin our Strategic Planning Process. We will be holding a retreat in January to conduct this process."
Filing Period for District 94 School Board Candidates
"Nominating petition forms for the April 5, 2011 school board election in Community High School District 94 are now available. Forms may be picked up in the office of the local election official at 326 Joliet Street, West Chicago, on any business day between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m."
PeaceBuilder-of-the-Month for November 2010
"Mariana Rodriguez, of West Chicago, a Sophomore at Community High School District 94, has been recognized as the November PeaceBuilder-of-the-month. Mariana received the PeaceBuilder Award for her positive attitude, ability to accept leadership roles, and help struggling group members. She is to be commended for her service and desire to improve the atmosphere here at WeGo."
Wonderful & Wearable
"Gallery 200, the creative oasis at 200 Main Street in downtown West Chicago proudly presents Wonderful & Wearable an eclectic selection of handmade jewelry, leatherwork and textile accessories crafted by local and area artists during the month of December."
Local Music Night Continues to Grow
"Local Music Night which takes place at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court in downtown West Chicago from 7:00-9:00 p.m. , features three local musicians/groups on Friday, December 10, 2010: Eric & Beth Carlson, John Keeney, and Miss Shevaugh & Yuma Wray. "
Handicapped parking violators targeted during the holidays
"Sheriff’s police will monitor handicapped parking spots throughout the county during the holiday season, department spokesman Dawn Domrose said. Vehicles parked in those spaces without state-issued placards or license plates identifying the driver as disabled will be ticketed. Those using a handicapped parking placard illegally will also face consequences."
Dog Scouts providing pet gifts for needy
"Elderly pet owners who receive holiday meals from The Aurora Salvation Army will have a special treat this year - a stocking full of toys and food for their best animal friend, along with their own dinner."
Sox Academy, Local Softball Star Mary Kate Connolly Signs with DePaul University
"Connolly is a dominating force inside the circle. She went 24-8 with 1.22 ERA and an area-best 238 strikeouts in 213 innings for West Chicago HS in 2010. At the plate Connolly hit .398 with 12 doubles, 7 homers, 39 RBI and 22 runs scored, leading the Wildcats to its second DuPage Valley Conference title in three years and second sectional final in that span. "
PR.com Recycle Computers to Save Resources
""If the equipment does end up in a third world country, not only are informal recycling processes poisoning both workers and the local environment, but the processes do not recover anywhere near the same amount of materials. Informal recycling processes concentrate mainly on gold, steel and copper and therefore recover only around a maximum of 57% of the materials. By comparison, professional recycling companies recover more than 90% of the materials, including rare and precious metals."
Exonerated men say funding for DNA testing is critical
"Bloodsworth spent nine years in prison, including two years on death row, before DNA evidence proved that another man beat the girl with a rock, sexually abused her and then strangled her in a wooded area.  Bloodsworth was one of three men, all released from prison after being wrongfully convicted, who spoke to students Wednesday at the University of Illinois College of Law about the importance of DNA testing, which was used to exonerate them."
Regulators want Illinois to be plug-in car leader
"Regulators aim to develop consistent statewide policies that will make Illinois a leader in consumer use of these cars. State authorities also hope to generate carmaker interest in rolling out electric cars in Illinois."
Illinois Senate approves civil unions; bill headed to governor
"Legalizing civil unions is the latest step toward making sure everyone has the same rights and a natural follow-up to movements that pushed for the right to vote for women and blacks and the civil rights era effort to make sure blacks could exercise those rights, supporters said."
E15 gasoline sales to be delayed
"The EPA concluded in October the blend could be safely burned in vehicles made in 2007 and after. The agency since has agreed to consider adding vehicles made 2001 and later, a decision not expected until at least January.  Also since the October decision, a coalition of grocery manufacturers, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Meat Institute has asked a federal appeals court to block sales of E15."
Senate OKs gambling expansion
"The Senate voted 31-20 to approve the bill and send it to the House for consideration. The House, though, finished its work Wednesday and doesn’t plan to return to Springfield until January 3.  Link said the expansion will create “tens of thousands of jobs” and generate $1 billion a year for state coffers. If any industry came to the state with that kind of impact, he said, “we would be bending over backwards to give them every break possible.”"
Jobs? What Jobs? Jobless Tell Congress: ‘Maintain Unemployment Insurance Now’ - AFL-CIO
"Yesterday, Anthony Roebuck’s unemployment insurance (UI) benefits ran out. It was the same day Senate Republicanss would not even allow a vote on a bill to maintain the lifeline that has helped keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of Roebuck, his wife and young son—and millions of other jobless workers."
Judge rejects Liberty University's health care reform challenge - Politico
"A federal judge in Virginia threw out a case brought by Liberty University that claimed the health care reform law is unconstitutional and would allow the religious institution’s insurance payments to cover abortions.  The White House quickly trumpeted the suit’s dismissal as a sign that the health care law will survive the many legal challenges it faces."
Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion In Earmarkss - National Journal
"According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available."
Nigeria to Charge Dick Cheney in Pipeline Bribery Case - Bloomberg BusinessWeek
"Nigeria will file charges against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and officials from five foreign companies including Halliburton Co. over a $180 million bribery scandal, a prosecutor at the anti-graft agency said.  Indictments will be lodged in a Nigerian court “in the next three days,” Godwin Obla, prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said..."
Fed Documents Breadth of Emergency Measures - NY Times
"From December 2007 to October 2008, the Fed opened swap lines with foreign central banks, allowing them to temporarily trade their currencies for dollars to relieve pressures in their financial markets.  The European Central Bank drew the most heavily on these currency arrangements, the records show, but nine other central banks also made use of them: Australia, Denmark, England, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland."
10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked - Southern Poverty Law Center
"These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at homosexuals, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in Americaa. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda."
01 Dec  
BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS 12-01-10
  • Jel Sert Company
  • We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center
  • Fontana Blu
  • Tastee-Freez
  • Upcoming Events
Around and About in West Chicago - 01 Dec 2010
  • Frosty Fest
  • West Chicago Park District Polar Express
  • “America’s most dangerous woman”
  • “Bonds 101” seminar
  • Faith Community Church's Fifth Annual Children’s Christmas Craft Workshop
Nominations sought for families needing a new furnacee
"To enter, simply share a short story of a local friend, neighbor or family you know of who is in need of a little more comfort in their lives. Essays should be no longer than 500 words, and must reflect a true story about why the family needs a new furnace. Only persons living in a single family home are eligible to win. Then in early 2011, 63 deserving families will be selected from these stories, bringing warmth and comfort to them from the winter cold.
Report: Illinois ranks 7th for high-tech exports
"TechAmerica Foundation today said tech exports in Illinois totaled $5.9 billion in 2009 ranking the state at No. 7 nationwide in high-tech exports. Electromedical equipment (ranked 4th) and communications equipment (ranked 5th) are Illinois’s largest tech export sectors, with $1.4 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively."
Incoming DuPage County Board chairman Dan Cronin has important tasks ahead of him
"Cronin plans to replace departing State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, who just was appointed to be a judge on the Second District Illinois Appellate Court. The new chairman also will need to make appointments to all seven county seats on the DuPage Water Commission, which pipes Lake Michigan water to 25 DuPage communities. And Cronin said “a close third” on his priority list is taking a look at the county’s budget, including a “performance audit” of spending."
  'Historic' civil unions measure passes Illinois House
"Sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, called on his colleagues to join the arc of history that has gradually eliminated discrimination on social issues ranging from allowing women the right to vote to knocking down numerous social and legal barriers standing in the way of giving rights to people of color."
Illinois House OKs civil unions for same-sex couples
"As onlookers broke out into cheers, the House for the first time ever approved civil unions, with one vote to spare. Supporters expect the Senate to follow suit Wednesday, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn campaigned this fall on a pledge to sign it into law."
Chicago
Coalition
for the
Homeless
Put Illinois to Work extended to January 15!
"Put Illinois to Work allows small businesses and non-profits to employ more than 26,000 low-income workers across the state, all of them parents of dependent children or youth (ages 18 to 21) who live at home.  Kudos to Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for political leadership in support of this vital jobs program. CCH proposed Put Illinois to Work earlier this year, assisting state agencies in its development before it launched in April."
Illinois officials improve website on road conditions
"The new site has an interactive map of Illinois. It combines information from different IDOT bureaus to update motorists on traffic counts, construction progress and upcoming projects.  Users will also find information for trips including points of interest, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, museums and more."
2 whooping cranes stop at Nygren Wetland Preserve
"One of the two birds, 29-08, is a return visitor to Nygren. A cold front last December forced him and four other cranes down for nearly a month.  They could be developing a pattern, says Jerry Paulson, director of the Natural Land Institute."
First in Print: Higher gas prices don't equate to more money for Illinois
"A new analysis of gasoline/diesel prices and collections of the state’s 5 percent share of sales taxes in the past decade finds that higher revenues from rising fuel prices were mostly offset by consumers who have less to spend on other products."

Medical marijuana bill stalls in Illinois House
"Fearing that it would lead to widespread use of marijuana and other illicit drugs, the Illinois House on Tuesday rejected legislation that would allow use of cannabis for debilitating medical problems."

Committee OKs call to abolish death penalty in Illinois
"On a partisan vote, an Illinois House committee Wednesday narrowly approved a bill that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois."
Illinois House approves cuts in police and fire pensions
"Police officers and firefighters hired after Jan. 1 would get less generous pension benefits than current personnel under a bill that passed the Illinois House on Tuesday."
Republicans Pull the Plug, Jobless Help Dies - AFL-CIO
"At the stroke of midnight last night, some 800,000 workers who have been looking for jobs for more than six months lost their unemployment insurance (UI)—2 million will be without help by the end of December. Why? Because congressional Republicans have chosen to side with the nation’s millionaires instead of the jobless."
Ant-covered Jesus video removed from Smithsonian after Catholic League complains - Washington Post
"The piece was called "hate speech" by Catholic League president William Donohue and a misuse of taxpayer money by a spokesman for Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive incoming House speaker.  Officials at the museum and the Smithsonian Institution, which includes the Portrait Gallery, said they had not intended to be offensive by showing the work and removed it to better focus on the exhibit's strengths."
Boeing Shatters Solar Power Record with 39.2% Cell Efficiencyy - CleanTechies
"Boeing hopes to introduce their high-efficiency C3MJ+ solar cells around the globe as early as January, 2011. Created by their wholly-owned subsidiary, Spectrolab, this technology is made for land-based PV solar panels, solar simulators and searchlights. The cells are able to convert a whopping 39.2% of sunlight into electricity... The current record for converting sunlight into PV solar electricity is 24.2%, set by San Jose-based SunPower Corp."
30 Nov  
Bond Sales 101 for WCMS Expansion
"West Chicago School District 33 cordially invites you to a "Bonds 101" seminar in connection with the upcoming fixed rate issuance of: $31,500,000* Taxable General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2010 (Build America Bonds Direct Payment to Issuer)"
District 33 Spelling Bee
"Study group for District 33 Spelling Bee is being held on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the month of December. This is a great way to prepare for the district competition in January."
November/December 2010
"Mr. Bang Nguyen, the PE teacher from Turner Elementary School, has organized a Dodgeball Tournament that takes place after school in the Turner School Gym.  There are student teams as well as adult teams that compete.  Championship round will be held on Monday, December 13, 2010."
November Student-of-the-Month
"The faculty and administration of Community High School would like to congratulate Maria Barajas for being chosen Student of the Month for November."
ACT PREP courses - deadline approaching
"Attention Junior Parents!!!! If you are still interested in registering your son or daughter for either the ExcelEdge (site-based) or PrepMe (Internet-based) ACT review courses, we are excited to announce that there is still time!!!"
Public Comment Invited on West Chicago Police Department
"West Chicago's Acting Police Chief Laz Perez announced today that a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., (CALEA), will arrive on Saturday December 18, 2010 to examine all aspects of the West Chicago Police Department’s policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services."
Exempt casinos from smoking ban?
"The Elgin boat, like most in the state, saw a big revenue drop in the first year of the smoking ban.  In 2007, the casino brought in about $437 million, according to Illinois Gaming Board reports. In 2008, it took in about $338 million, a drop of more than 22 percent. In 2010, the casino is just a little off its 2009 revenue pace of $292 million so far.  The American Lung Association is fighting the exemption hard."
Family wants belongings of Marine killed in '02
"Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winters' family wants back her funeral flag, the dog tags that were on her closed casket, and her medals, military records and other memorabilia that Mark Perko says he bought after payments on the storage locker were missed."
Illinois scientists examine cancer-fighting in tomatoes
"University of Illinois scientists have developed a new tool to help learn more about potential cancer-fighting substances in tomatoes.  They're the same group of scientists whose research suggested that lycopene pigment that makes tomatoes red can help reduce risks for prostate cancer."
Bill would allow casinos to set up smoking rooms
"Proponents say the 2008 statewide smoking ban has hurt gambling because money has gone to other states that still allow smoking on riverboats. Opponents say the legislation is a step backward for public health and that revenue is governed by how nice the facility is -- not whether you can smoke in it."
Battle intensifies over civil-union bill in General Assembly
"Supporters of civil unions scrambled Monday to line up the final votes they need in the Illinois House, while opponents worked just as hard to block the measure in a lobbying duel that features competing religious leaders, constituent calls and e-mail blitzes."
'Open primary' amendatory veto killed by Illinois House
"The bill originally instructed the State Board of Elections to publish a voters guide on the Internet during primary elections.  However, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said the amendatory veto was unconstitutional.  “He created a wholly different bill,” Currie said."
Workers Seek ‘Just Transition’ to Green Economy in Cancun Climate Talks - AFL-CIO
"In particular, the global union members here in Cancun are focusing on making sure our “just transition” ideals are included in a final global climate change treaty. A “just transition” to a green economy means workers would have the right to a voice in their workplace, the freedom to form unions and bargain collectively and access to training on the latest technology. Since December 2009, affiliates of the AFL-CIO and the unions of the ITUC have been lobbying our respective governments to build off those areas of agreement they reached in Copenhagen."
All-American Grace - Dallas Morning News
"The bad news is that achieving religious comity has come at the price of religious particularity and theological competence. That is, we may still consider ourselves devoted to our faith, but increasingly, we don't know what our professed faith teaches, and we don't appreciate why that sort of thing is important in the first place."
29 Nov  

This week in West Chicago

CableCom Programming Schedule Channel 17

Learning About Leisure from the Past at Kline Creek Farm
"So last month, I wrote Garrett and asked her to tell me a bit more about this subject. She was glad to, and she said the lessons she learns working on the farm inspire her to strive for a more balanced life at home, too, even if she struggles like all of us to actually accomplish that."
Kirk sworn in as Illinois' newest U.S. senator
"Republican Mark Kirk, newly sworn in today as the junior U.S. senator from Illinois, told supporters that "sad chapters" in Illinois history were over.  Kirk was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on the Senate floor at 4:45 p.m. Chicago time."
House votes to reduce interest on pension credits
"State workers who take unpaid furlough days do not receive credit for those days when it comes to calculating their pension. A bill passed last year allows them to purchase credits toward their pensions for those days, but workers would have to pay interest on the credits from the day they were first employed by the state until they purchased the credit."
Both sides lobbying hard on Illinois civil unions bill
"Civil unions would provide legal recognition of gay couples and give them some of the same benefits automatically available to married couples — the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital and make decisions about their medical care, for instance. Backers consider it a matter of fundamental fairness, but critics argue it would amount to gay marriage under another name."
MSHA Cracks Down on Repeat Safety Offenders - AFL-CIO
"In a continued crackdownnn on coal mines with histories of serious safety and health violations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)  has issued notices that 13 mines will be placed in a special stepped-safety enforcement program unless mine owners begin immediate corrective actions."
Two Mass. school districts consider dropping religious holidays - Boston Globe
"School officials in Acton, Boxborough, and Harvard are looking at removing all religious holidays from next year’s school calendars.  Currently, classes in the districts are not held on a Christian holiday, Good Friday, and the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana.  The Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee is scheduled to discuss the issue and vote on next year’s calendar during its meeting Thursday night, while the Harvard School Committee has scheduled a vote for Dec. 13."
26 Nov  
  • Books for Lunch - America’s Most Dangerous Woman
    "Bring a bag lunch and join us for an entertaining afternoon. Actress Jeanmarie Dwyer-Wrigley will portray Mary Harris Jones, a.k.a. Mother Jones. Mother Jones was considered America’s most dangerous woman. Registration is not required."
  • Canterbury Carollers
    "Once again, we welcome the Canterbury Carollers to present their holiday concert! Dressed in authentic costumes, the ensemble will perform a glorious arrangement of traditional carols – all written before 1870."
West Chicago Community Chorus Forming
"A new group is forming in West Chicago and anyone who loves to sing is invited to join. The West Chicago Community Chorus, under the direction of Jo Noonan, an experienced conductor both locally and internationally, has secured space at Gallery 200/STUDIO, located at 203 Turner Court in downtown West Chicago, for rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m."
The 2011 Friend of the West Chicago City Museum CALENDAR (full color) is out for purchase! The calendar's theme is: The History of West Chicago's Schools, and was designed by me. Available from the City Museum, West Chicago Printing, City Hall and from me. For only $10!
State Board of Elections says COD group violated campaign rules
"“One of the reasons we have our current corruption problem in Illinois is lack of disclosure and people not paying attention,” he said. “This committee got their money from contractors of the college, and I think that’s very important for people to think about. One reason the referendum succeeded was because more than half a million dollars was spent.”"
Unemployment rate falls in suburbs
"Illinois Department of Employment Security Director Maureen O'Donnell says the state has recorded two consecutive months of declining unemployment, a trend showing Illinois is on the right path to recovery... Overall Illinois unemployment was 9.2 percent last month, compared to 9 percent nationally."
Ramey’s winter coat drive set to begin Wednesday
"Rep. Randy Ramey, R-55th District, of Carol Stream, will host his annual winter coat drive from Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 31... Last year, more than 2,500 coats were donated and given to less fortunate families living in the 55th District.  For information, visit randyramey.org, e-mail staterepramey55@aol.com or call (630) 876-0703."
Gov. Quinn approves 20, denies 48 clemency petitions
"Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police's Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).  Since taking office, Gov. Quinn has acted on 810 clemency petitions. He has granted 317 pardons, authorized eight people who had already received pardons to seek expungement of their convictions, granted one commutation and denied 425 petitions, the release said."
West Chicago Community Chorus Forming
"The currently forming West Chicago Community Chorus plans to perform at community events such as Frosty Fest, Blooming Fest, Railroad Days and others, as well as provide music on a monthly basis at Delnor Community Hospital. Plus, it hopes to represent West Chicago in Taufkirchen, Germany, West Chicago’s Sister City sometime in the future."
Madigan publishes guide on recalled children's products
""As consumers' mailboxes fill with holiday catalogs, my Play It Safe Guide is one catalog parents can't afford to miss for their children's sake," Madigan said in a written release. "Parents have enough to monitor without trying to keep track of the more than 600 products recalled this year. This guide provides an easy way for parents to be sure gifts and other products in your home are safe for your children.""
Unemployment falls in all Illinois metro areas
"“For two months in a row, Illinois can record falling unemployment rates in every corner of our state. We have not been able to say that since 2007,” department director Maureen O’Donnell said in a statement.  Construction employment in the Springfield area fell by 500 jobs from a year ago, and service jobs dropped 300. Employment was down by 100 in government, retail trade and manufacturing."
Beat the Black Friday Crowds with the New Union Made Store - AFL-CIO
"While all the bargain hunters camp out and stampede for Black Friday specials in malls today, you can shop union online. From the comfort of your own home with a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of leftover pumpkin pie, you can find some bargains for the activists on your list at the new AFL-CIO Online Store—Union Made."
Cairo police clash with Christian rioters, 1 dead
"Hundreds of Christians smashed cars and windows and tried to assault a municipal building in Cairo Wednesday after police violently stopped the construction of a church, leaving one person dead and underscoring serious Egypt's sectarian tensions.  Police clashed with Christians first at the church construction site in the early hours of the morning and then several hours later when a mob of hundreds assaulted the local governor's office in retaliation."
Money and happiness - The Economist
"... so what is the point in people who live in rich countries working harder to get ever richer? Politicians should concentrate on maximising the mental health of their voters, rather than the size of their pay checks. But plot the data another way, on a logarithmic scale where each increment represents a 100% increase in income per head, and the relationship between wealth and happiness looks more robust."

 

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