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31 Dec

This Week in West Chicago

none Geneva hospital seeks to enhance cancer center
"It filed an application Nov. 23 with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, seeking permission to add a second radiology room to the free-standing Raymond G. Scott Cancer Care Center. Delnor also wants to move infusion treatments out of the main hospital building and into the Scott Center, and start offering brachytherapy (implantation of radioactive “seeds”) there, according to the application."
Plainfield Central falls to West Chicago
none"A frantic pace in the first quarter left Plainfield Central a step behind in the second during the Wildcats’ 66-40 loss to West Chicago in the quarterfinal round of the fifth annual Oswego East Holiday Classic on Wednesday."
none Train, van crash closes roadway
none"According to investigators, a 51-year-old West Chicago resident lost control of his van on the railrnoneoad tracks because of the icy conditions. The van crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a car driven by a 43-year-old St. Charles resident, which left the roadway and struck a pole.  The van stalled on the tracks and the driver left the vehicle before it was struck by an eastbound Metra commuter train with 25 passengers on board."
none Mild weather means extended season, hard-to-get tee times
none"Mike Carney is the golf sales coordinator at Prairie Landing Golf Club in West Chicago. Carney tells the Daily Herald ( ) that the club usually gets to Thanksgiving but on Saturday the course is "booked solid" with people dumbfounded there are no tee times available."
none Underwater cannon might help protect Lake Michigan
none"The round goby is an exotic species that hangs around spawning beds, gobbling up eggs of native varieties such as lake trout and whitefish that are important to the fishing industry.  Biologists plan to use a seismic gun to chase gobies from several Lake Michigan reefs that are popular spawning areas. The experiment is to begin next fall.  Researchers hope the shell-shocked gobies will stay away long enough for native fish eggs to hatch and escape."
none Illinois police must keep video even for minor casess
none"The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday backed up a judge who punished the prosecution after video of a drunken driving arrest was destroyed, a decision establishing that defendants have a right to see video evidence even in misdemeanor cases."
none PETA seeks memorials to cows killed on Illinois roads
none"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to buy the markers, one in suburban Chicago and one northwest of Peoria. PETA's Dec. 15 request to the Illinois Department of Transportation contends the signs would pay tribute to the more than 20 head of cattle killed as a result of negligent driving in Illinois in 2011."
none Indiana Statehouse ‘No Longer the People’s House’ - AFL-CIO
none" reports state security agencies have capped the number of people who can be in the statehouse in Indianapolis at any one time to 3,000, including about 1,700 employees–a fraction of the number who have turned out at the statehouse to protest proposed “right to work” (for less) legislation."
none  Brawl is mano amen-o NY Post
"Palestinian riot police had to storm the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and use batons and shields to break up the fight between rival groups of Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics.  The Greeks and Armenians, along with Roman Catholics, share the 1,500-year-old church, which, according to Christian tradition, was built over the cave where Jesus was born."
[I thought I saw one monk capturing this on his cell phone.  So what is next... nuns with eHarmony accounts? - Bob]
none Let's Double Our Efforts to Raise a Ruckus - TruthOut
"They began their Occupation in the dead of winter. GM cut off the heat and water to the buildings. The police tried to raid the factories several times, to no avail. Even the National Guard was called in.   But the workers held their ground, and after 44 days, the corporation gave in and recognized the UAW as the representative of the workers."
29 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 29 Dec 2011

  • School Christmas Charitable Projects
  • DuPage Water Commission rate hike
  • WeGo Wildcats Special Olympics Club Fundraiser
  • Fair Fighting: Innovative Approach to Anger Management
  • Property Tax levy = zero percent increase

Events in DuPage Forest Preserves: Jan. 2 – 88

Icy Road Conditions Contribute to Early Morning Accident
none"After investigating the traffic crash, it was determined that a 1997 Ford Aerostar, driven by a 51 year old Chicago resident, was traveling westbound on Roosevelt Road and lost control on the railroad tracks due to the icy roadway.  The Aerostar crossed into the eastbound lanes and struck a 1999 Honda Accord driven by a 43 year old St. Charles resident."
West Chicago Seeks Developer to Rehabilitate Historic Structure
"The City of West Chicago, Illinois is seeking a qualified developer to rehabilitate a historic structure for retail, restaurant, office or cultural uses that is situated within the West Washington Street Redevelopment Project area."
none DuPage mosque project wants to add dome, minaret
"But then in October, DuPage adopted a set of zoning law changes that apply to churches, mosques and other places of assembly.  One of those revisions allows religious design elements — including bell towers, steeples and crosses — to exceed 36 feet as long as certain setback requirements are met. However, the features can't be taller than 72 feet."
none 2011: 2nd wettest year on record for Chicago
"As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Chicago stood at 49.41 inches of precipitation with the 0.06 that fell since midnight, the National Weather Service said.  The year now stands at only 1.45 inches behind 2008. But given this week’s forecast through Saturday — which includes rain — it is likely 2011 will remain as the second wettest year on record, the weather service said."
Quinn: Ruling paves way for online lottery sales
none"“Within the first quarter of this year, I hope, we can begin the process for those who wish to use the Internet to purchase a lottery ticket,” Quinn said about the department’s ruling last week supporting state-regulated online gambling. “It’s probably when these big jackpots occur that folks will want to participate. And that, I think, will lead to increased sales for the lottery.”"
none Metra on move again after train hits unoccupied car in West Chicago
none"West Chicago police said the driver of a 1997 Fnoneord Aerostar minivan was headed west on Roosevelt Road and lost control on the tracks due to the icy conditions. The Aerostar crossed into the eastbound lanes and hit a 1999 Honda Accord, which left the roadway and hit a pole.  The minvan stalled on the tracks and and driver, a 51-year-old Chicago man, left the car.  At that point, the eastbound Metra train, with about 25 people on board, struck the unoccupied minivan, police said. The driver of the van was uninjured and was cited for driving too fast for conditions."
Plainfield Central falls to West Chicago
none"A frantic pace in the first quarter left Plainfield Central a step behind in the second during the Wildcats’ 66-40 loss to West Chicago in the quarterfinal round of the fifth annual Oswego East Holiday Classic on Wednesday."
none Illinois gets $15M for insuring more children
"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the awards Wednesday. Illinois is getting $15 million. It's one of 23 states to share nearly $300 million in federal performance bonuses this year for expanding children's health coverage."
none NLRB Ruling is Right on Key to Musicians’ Ears - AFL-CIO
none"Musicians in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Texas can play a happy tune following a Dec. 27 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that says musicians in symphony orchestras are employees with the freedom to join unions—not independent contractors."
none Churches Bring Custom Apps to Their Flocks - Wall Street Journal
"App developers say more than 150 churches across the U.S. have had customized smartphone and tablet apps created to connect with their members. The church apps are a relatively new twist on the broader influx of technology into religious life that includes popular apps for prayer and even making confessions."
none Jon Stewart Crushes Fox News In The 2011 Ratings - PoliticusUSA
none"...  when The Daily Show is matched up against every non-O’Reilly FNC program, it leads and/or dominates. As we head into 2012, the news that Stewart’s entertainment program based in large part on debunking the misinformation in the mainstream media is doing so well should provide hope that maybe someday sanity will return to our national discourse."
10 Ultra-Rich Congresspeople Who 'Represent' Some of the Most Financially Screwed Districts - Alternet
none"Nearly half of all members of Congress are millionaires, the New York Timespointed out, and yet many of them don't see themselves as rich. “I don’t see myself as a man of great wealth,” Representative Ed Pastor, Democrat from Arizona, told the Times. “To say that I’m enjoying a millionaire’s lifestyle — well, I can tell you, I guess a millionaire’s income doesn’t go very far these days.”"
What Boehner Faces In 2012 After Payroll Tax Debacle - TPM
none"“He’s (Boehner) got a big problem when he comes back,” one anonymous congressman claimed. “He may have a hard time keeping his Speakership after this.”  “We were hung out to dry by our leadership,” said another unnamed member."
27 Dec
none Record-setting year in DuPage for murder convictions
none"Coincidentally, that unprecedented rate came on the heels of abolition of the death penalty in Illinois and predictions that murder convictions would be harder to come by as prosecutors lost that bit of plea-negotiating leverage. Meanwhile, other suburban counties reported average numbers of murder convictions this year.  In DuPage, it seems 2011 was just an anomaly that included a conviction in a 35-year-old murder. And, two homicide suspects didn't even attempt to mount defenses."
West Chicago Elementary School District 33 rolls out curriculum changes
none"Officials say math problems like those and the unveiling of a new language arts curriculum next fall will prepare students for the new state assessment in the 2014-2015 school year. It’s a benchmark tailored to the Common Core standards and intended to gauge students’ readiness for college and careers in a global economy."
That outdated electronic gear? Wait, don't toss it
none"The amended law mandates more items be recycled — more than any other state requires — such as VCRs, DVD players, keyboards, computer mice, fax machines, scanners, video game consoles and digital converter boxes.  The law also sets the highest recycling goals for manufacturers.  In 2012, they must recycle — by weight — 40 percent of what they sold in 2010. By 2013, the goal increases to 50 percent."
Illinois to create independent tax appeal tribunal by 2013
none"Currently, an Illinois taxpayer who wants to challenge an assessment may file a protest — but through the Revenue Department. An administrative law judge, a position created in 1995, hears the case, but the final decision is made by the Revenue director. A taxpayer may bypass the administrative review and challenge the assessment in circuit court, but the person or business first must pay the tax into a protest fund."

A bumpy road for Illinois

  • none"Funding is available for only 18 percent of the miles that need reconstruction.
  • Deferring timely repairs can triple the cost of the work.
  • More than 2,200 bridges — out of more than 26,300 in the state — are structurally deficient.
  • Bad roads cost motorists an average of $340 annually in terms of vehicle deterioration, wear on tires, increased fuel consumption and more frequent maintenance.
none West Chicago Public Library District Completes Facilities Assessment
none"The assessment, which was presented in October with prioritized projects and recommendations, serves as a comprehensive guide to the Board of Library Trustees for future renovations, replacements or reconfigurations within the HVAC and building systems. Administrative Librarian, Melody E. Coleman, stated that this assessment identifies opportunities for energy savings and operational improvements within the building systems as well as for reducing operating costs."
Settlement announced over Countrywide loans
none"The settlement stems from Madigan’s lawsuit in June 2010 against Countrywide Financial Corp., Countrywide Home Loans Inc. and Full Spectrum Lending Inc., an arm of Countrywide that mostly sold subprime loans.  The suit alleged numerous violations of the Illinois Fairness in Lending Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act, and included data showing minority borrowers paid more for mortgages than white borrowers and were more often sold riskier home loans despite qualifying for prime, or low-cost, loans."
none Roadside memorial sought for cows in crash
none""These proposed signs would also remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the thousands of animals they haul to their deaths every day," said Patton, 26, who lives in Arlington Heights. "It's a big enough tragedy that these animals end up in slaughterhouses, where they are kicked, shocked with electric prods and finally dragged off the trucks to their deaths. Sparing them from being tossed from a speeding truck and deprived of care afterward, sometimes for several hours, seems the least that we can do.""
Staging a protest — on a makeshift stage
"The action is set amid a protest, and last week it was seen by audience members who had just come from one. The premiere — a single outdoor performance Friday afternoon — was coordinated to begin at the end of a protest march that set out from LaSalle and Jackson... A radio play the cast recorded was to be broadcast at 10 a.m. Saturday on WCPT, 820 AM, during Marshall Stern's "Awakened America" program. A podcast of the show was scheduled to be posted soon at"
none 4 Illinois congressional districts feature key races
nonenone"Democrats may have an advantage with the new map, which cuts down the number of districts by one, preserves existing Democratic-leaning districts, creates new ones and pits several Republican incumbents against each other... Even federal judges who upheld the map’s legality acknowledged that it was a “blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats.”   Here’s a brief look at four critical races shaping up for the March 20 primary."
U. of Illinois says no to buying .xxx domain names
none"Their reasoning is it’s impossible to think of — and purchase — every name with a connection to the university.  Chief information security officer Mike Corn says the school will instead threaten cybersquatters with legal action. University lawyers will send cease-and-desist letters to anyone it feels is violating trademarks."
none Tax relief law also gives taxpayers new protest rights
none"The law calls for a so-called tax tribunal to be set up by 2013. Details are still to be worked out, but the idea is to give taxpayers, whether individuals or businesses, the chance to protest assessments to someone not answering to the Illinois Department of Revenue, which assesses taxes in the first place and currently has the last word on appeals."
none Take the Speed Matters Test - AFL-CIO
none"The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Speed Matters campaign will soon release its annual report on Internet speeds across the country to help paint a clear picture of U.S. Internet speeds and identify the areas that need immediate improvement.  You can help by clicking here to take the Speed Matters test to find out just how fast your Internet speed is."
none Nigerian Group Escalates Violence with Church Attacks - New York Times
"A series of Christmas Day church bombings rocked Nigeria on Sunday in what appeared to be a coordinated assault by a radical Islamist sect with suspected training links to Al Qaeda, raising the sect’s violent antigovernment struggle to a new and more dangerous level that the Nigerian authorities seem powerless to contain. At least 25 people were killed. "
none See Cost of Bush Tax Cuts (2001) Grow by the Second  - Coffee Party USA
none"noneThe 2000 Presidential campaign included a fight over what to do with the budget surplus — that's right surplus, not deficit, surplus, we had a surplus only 11 years ago... People who suddenly became angry about our federal deficit and our debt on Jan. 20, 2009 are either shameless partisans or consuming way too much 1 Percent Media."
Walker On The ‘Koch’ Call: ‘It Was Stupid’ - TPM
none"During that call with blogger Ian Murphy, Walker discussed his ideas for tricking the Democrats into coming back by pretending to negotiate, his ambition to to bust the public employee unions in the mold of President Reagan firing the PATCO air traffic controller union, and — when asked by “Koch” — stated that he had considered (but ruled out) planting troublemakers in the crowds of protesters.  Also during the call, Walker boasted of the surprising naturee of the legislation he was set to introduce — contradicting Republican assertions that Walker had campaigned on a platform of making the anti-union changes:"
24 Dec

Connecting People to Christ Jesus - Sharon Watson Lemon

  • none"Merry Christmas and God's Blessings and Peace to ALL.
  • Christmas Eve Worship 7pm English and 8:30 pm Spanish
  • Christmas Day Worship 10 am English and 11:30am Spanish
Merry Christmas - Bob
none Suburban red kettle donations down this year
none"According to numbers from the Salvation Army, as of Dec. 17 red kettle donations in St. Charles were down 33 percent from this time last year, down 39 percent in Norridge and Oakbrook Terrace, and down 29 percent in Aurora.  Other towns with smaller decreases include a 5 percent decrease in Crystal Lake, 11 percent in Dekalb, and 7 percent in Elgin."
none Alcohol-related deaths in crashes fall in Illinois
none"More than 200 police and sheriff departments plan to cooperate with the Illinois State Police in conducting nearly 100 roadside safety checks, 400 safety belt enforcement zones and hundreds of additional impaired driving and nighttime safety belt patrols."
none Walgreen, Safeway join stores pulling formula after infant death
"Officials at Supervalu Inc., Walgreen Co., Kroger Co. and Safeway said they have removed 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn with the lot number ZP1K7G from various stores across the country as a precaution until federal health officials complete tests on the formula.  Ten-day-old Avery Cornett died Sunday after getting sick several days earlier in the southern Missouri town of Lebanon."
[I just found 3 cans on our shelf. - Bob]
none Nearly 60,000 Illinoisans could lose unemployment benefits
"If Congress does not vote to continue long-term compensation, which is the 79th to 99th weeks of benefits, unemployment payments for 32,500 residents will come to a screeching halt on Jan. 7, said Greg Rivara, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security."
[And since not now, they face the same thing two months from now. - Bob]
Environmental summit to shed light on green energy
none"DuPage County’s ninth annual environmental summit will give participants information about harnessing limitless sources of energy and using them to heat, cool and power their homes. With its focus on small-scale renewable energy systems, the free Jan. 11 event will feature speakers empowering home and business owners to take ownership of their energy consumption."
none Benton Harbor: Pure Michigan, all Trotsky
none"So, with few resources to spend, the emergency manager nonedissolved the police, fire and building departments and formed one Department of Public Safety. He combined the trash and water bills so that people would have to pay both -- or have their water shut off.   Aside from the luxe greens on the golf course, it was a bleak picture in Benton Harbor.  And yet: Desperation does not justify bulldozing democracy."
none How Germany Builds Twice as Many Cars as the U.S. While Paying Its Workers Twice as Much - Forbes
"In 2010, Germany produced more than 5.5 million automobiles; the U.S produced 2.7 million. At the same time, the average auto worker in Germany made $67.14 per hour in salary in benefits; the average one in the U.S. made $33.77 per hour. Yet Germany’s big three car companies—BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), and Volkswagen—are very profitable."
none Cardinal under fire for comparing gay rights movement to Klan - Chicago Tribune
"When the cardinal was asked his views of a local pastor complaining that the annual gay pride parade would force the church to cancel its morning mass, George said he supported the pastor.  "You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism." George said."
Explosions Rip Through Churches in Nigeria - NY Times
"The militant sect Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Islamic law across the country, claimed responsibility for several of the bombings and was suspected in others.  Coming after several days of gun battles last week in which more than 60 people were killed and a wave of attacks in November that killed more than 100, the Christmas bombings were clearly intended to carry symbolic weight in a country whose population is about half Muslim and 40 percent Christian."
none I Am Sorry for the Role I Played in Fallujah - Common Dreams
none"I do not see any contradiction in feeling sympathy for the dead US Marines and soldiers and at the same time feeling sympathy for the Fallujans who fell to their guns. The contradiction lies in believing that we were liberators, when in fact we oppressed the freedoms and wishes of Fallujans. The contradiction lies in believing that we were heroes, when the definition of "hero" bares no relation to our actions in Fallujah."
Bank Of America Could End Up Paying $53 Billion For Countrywide Mess - Forbes
none"Without Countrywide, Bove estimates that the company’s tangible book value would be an estimated $3 per share higher, and that the price to tangible book would be closer to 100% than the current 40%. He adds, “Assuming a value of 100% times 16 ($12.97+$3.03), the stock would have a market capitalization approximately $100 billion higher than it has at present.”"
22 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 22 Dec 2011

  • "Special Services for Christmas 2011
  • West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Citizen’s Advisory Council
  • Referendum for a Community Center Building
  • Kirk Johnson - Op-Ed contributor in.December 16, 2011 issue of “New York Times”
none Time to Stop the Confusion about No-Bid Contractsssss
none"According to the current Board, all taxpayer dollars spent on these services must - by state law – be in the form of no-bid contracts.  The spirit of Act is to allow for fast action by governmental bodies when services are needed. But the Professional Services Act was never intended to absolve elected officials from their obligation to comparison shop when spending our tax dollars."
Basketball - West Chicago Police Department versus Winfield Police Department - FB, Mike Kwasman
none"The WeGo Wildcats Special Olympics Club at Cnoneommunity High School District 94 is hosting a fundraiser at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, January 5, 2012 in Bishop Gym, 326 Joliet Street. The competition is a basketball game between the West Chicago Police Department versus Winfield Police Department, each having one half the Special Olympics players on their respective teams."
Artist Lewis Achenbach - "Off the Golden Map" Exhibit
none"A free Opening Reception on Friday, January 6, 2012, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Gallery 200, will include light refreshments and an opportunity to meet the artist.  Musical performances by Mosaik at 6:30 p.m., followed by Youngest Son at 7:45 p.m., will take place in Gallery 200/STUDIO, accessed through the lower level entrance at 203 Turner Court."
none Photographer wants DuPage forest district to ease $200 daily permit fee
"Ultimately, Rutledge said she wants the district to revise the ordinance so it’s affordable for small businesses like hers. She hopes officials will consider a policy similar to the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which charges $100 a day for commercial photography, but only $50 more for an unlimited annual permit, according to the district’s website."
DuPage board hopeful removed from primary ballot
nonenone"Also on Wednesday, the electoral board rejected Gerald J. Marchese’s effort to have fellow Wayne resident Tom Sutton removed from the ballot. Sutton is seeking the GOP nomination for county board District 6 along with incumbents Jim Zay and Robert Larsen and newcomers David J. Sabathne of West Chicago and Kevin Wiley of West Chicago."
none Hultgren, Biggert vote against 2-month reduction in payroll tax
nonenone"If Congress doesn’t pass a bill by the end of the year, payroll taxes will go up for 160 million workers on Jan. 1. Almost 2 million people could lose unemployment benefits in January as well.  The House vote, 229-193, kicks the measure back to the Senate, where the bipartisan two-month measure passed on Saturday by an 89-10 vote... The House passed a full-year extension last week, but that bill, which both Hultgren and Biggert approved, contained many spending cuts opposed by Democrats."
[All this 2 month v. 1 year stuff is distraction.  The real issue is the cuts. - Bob]
none Caring educators feed hundreds of District 33 families
none"This is the second year that ETAWC and the SSA have purchased and distributed food trucks for District 33 families. In 2010, all three unions ETAWC, SSA, and the Custodian Union, collaborated in purchasing and manning the three food trucks for spring of 2011, which was well received by the families of our district."
Coffee with the West Chicago Park Board Commissioners
none"The West Chicago Park District's Board of Commissioners will hold Coffee with the Commissioners on Saturday mornings in the month of January. Locations and times will vary."
Local Girl Scouts Visit the West Chicago Public Library District
"Using bird seeds, peanut butter, bagels and other natural materials, in keeping with the Library's Green initiatives and recent Earth Flag Certification, the girls provided some lovely treats to keep nature's creatures warm this winter. Following their tree trimming, the girls warmed up in the Library's program room with hot chocolate and candy cane treats donated by the Library."
More science opportunities for District 303 students
none"The District 303 School Board recently approved the addition of four science electives – oceanography, astronomy, forensics, and anatomy and physiology – which will be offered for the 2012 fall semester. St. Charles East and North high school students begin signing up for next year’s classes in January."
Fluid Impulse to Play Christmas Show this Thursday at Hawthorne's Backyard
Young West Chicago Resident Experiences the Joy of Giving
none Alcohol-related deaths down 9% across Illinois
none"In 2010, there were 436 alcohol-related fatal accidents. In 2009, there were 480.  Also in 2010 during the Christmas weekend, there were eight crash fatalities statewide. One was alcohol-related. There also were 515 alcohol-related traffic injuries, which is about 17 percent of the 3,034 total vehicle crashes,"
none Business, labor seek long-term federal transportation bill - State Journal - Register
none"The group not only wants action, but wants it quickly. Coalition co-chairman Doug Whitley, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said the group has been working with the Illinois congressional delegation about passing a long-term transportation funding bill “early in the new calendar year.”  “This has been sitting on the back burner for way too long,” he said."
none Walter Reed accidentally bans Bibles - Washington Examiner
"The religious organization has now filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for copies of all communications regarding the making of the policy.  The policy was signed by Nathan's chief of staff, C.W. Callahan. But Dean said a "group of people" wrote the four-page memo and could not attribute the line on religious items to one person.  Dean said the policy's intent was to "preserve people's religious rights," but many have lambasted the wording, saying it was a far cry from that intent."
none Speaker Cuts Off C-SPAN Cameras When Dems Attempt To Bring Vote On Payroll Tax Cut - Think Progress
none"Hoyer continued talking undeterred, saying, “You’re walking away, just as so many Republicans have walked away from middle-class taxpayers [and] the unemployed.” none“We regret, Mr. Speaker, that you have walked off the platform without addressing this issue of critical importance to this country,” Hoyer added.  Moments later, the mic appeared to cut out. A few seconds after that, the video feed switched away from the House floor to a still image of the Capitol Dome. It appears someone in House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) office cut the feed, as C-SPAN tweeted afterwards: “C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras – the Speaker of the House does.”"
The Rising Number Of UAVs In American Skies - TPM
none"“Flying cameras are not a new thing. What’s new is doing it smaller and cheaper,” he [UAS Operations Manager at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office]added. “There probably are going to be some challenges in the future,” but for now there’s enough case law to keep law enforcement in check. “If we’re going to fly below 400 feet we’re going to get a search warrant,” Miller said.  Sgt. Andrew Cohen of the Miami-Dade Police Department says their two drones are still in testing and training, but would mostly be used to provide tactical air support to police units, such as in a hostage situation."
20 Dec  

Elementary School District 33 News Bites

  • noneUpdated Middle School Website
  • Educare Update
  • Winter Break

Special Holiday Edition of NewsBites

District 94 Board of Education  Meeting Agenda December 20, 2011

  • noneApproval of Financials
  • Adjustments to Current Insurance Plans and New Insurance Plans
  • Evaluation Committee Revisions
Young West Chicago Resident Experiences the Joy of Giving
nonenone"Chris explained that Tyler had recently celebrated his sixth birthday.  In keeping with a family tradition that began with his older siblings, guests that attended his birthday party were told, in advance, that their gifts would be donated to a particular charity.  Tyler’s choice was to donate toys to the Toys for Tots program."
none DuPage board members opt to keep their pensions
none"Aside from making $50,000 a year, the part-time board members qualify for health insurance and have the option to enroll in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, the state's second-largest pension fund with $25 billion in assets.  To qualify for the retirement benefit, the elected officials are expected to perform at least 1,000 hours of county-related work annually for eight years. But unlike other county employees, they don't have to prove they meet the requirement — their word is good enough. Neither the IMRF nor the county requires that they document their time."
COD board: Little to say or speaking with one voice?
none"Trustee Nancy Svoboda said sometimes board members disagree — and those discussions are often had during closed-session meetings — but if it’s known there will be a majority supporting an item, trustees don’t pull it off the consent agenda.  Carlin said the Illinois Community College Trustees Association encourages boards to have a unified voice. A pamphlet given to newly elected trustees across the state advises, “As decisions are made, you are expected to speak openly for your point of view. But once the decision is final, you should support the position of the board.”"
none Fermilab breaks ground on accelerator research center
nonenone"“Illinois has a history of recognizing the value of national laboratories to spur private sector development,” said state Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago, a former Fermilab scientist who now represents the 95th District. “This is the kind of project I always hoped to be able to point to when I got to the legislature.”"
Kirk endorses Romney for president
none"“Initially we thought that the primary would be over largely by the end of January or the beginning of February,” Kirk said. “Now, if you look at the numbers, I think the Republican contest will likely last at least through the first week of April, meaning that the March 20 Illinois primary will have a critical role in deciding who our nominee is and who our next president of the United States will be.”"
none Quinn signs budget deal to avert closings
none"The move also partially restores cuts made to grants for mental health services and alcohol and substance abuse treatment, as well as setting aside more money for homeless shelters and burial services for the poor. Scholarships for needy college students also get an influx of dollars."
Kirk to endorse Romney
none"In September of last year, Romney keynoted a fundraiser for Kirk, who was then a five-term congressman seeking the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC also gave $6,000 to Kirk’s winning Senate campaign against former Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, federal campaign disclosure reports showed.  The value of Kirk’s endorsement is debatable."
  Quinn OKs funding to keep facilities open
none"The bill provides $202 million to keep seven state facilities, including the Jacksonville Developmental Center and Logan Correctional Center, open through the end of this budget year.  The money will also allow the state to avoid laying off nearly 2,000 state workers."
Group calls for pulling the plug on FutureGen
none"He and others said the plant should be paid for with private, not government, investment. The federal government is providing $1 billion toward the project.  Plans call for a coal-fired power plant in Meredosia to be retrofitted for the project at a cost of about $1.1 billion. Another $550 million would be spent on a pipeline to carry carbon dioxide from the plant an underground storage area in Morgan County."
none GOP Inaction May Leave National Labor Relations Board Inoperable - Democacy Now
"Unless a solution is found, the NLRB would be frozen come January. Without the NLRB, workers would lose their legal recourse to defend their right to organize and to protect themselves against anti-union activity by employers."
none Interfaith Clergy To Present 200,000 Signatures At Lowe’s Headquarters - Think Progress
"Today, a group of interfaith clergy plan to deliver 200,000 signatures to Lowe’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, “asking the home-improvement retailer to apologize for pulling ads from a TV show about Muslim Americans.” ... The coalition behind the petition-gathering includes activist and faith-based groups “Faithful America,, CREDO, Sum of Us and Groundswell.”
none How America And The Mainstream Media Got Breitbarted On NDAA - PoliticusUSA
"An edited video of Carl Levin claiming that Obama wanted the language in the NDAA caused outrage among many Americans, but the full Levin video reveals the opposite... in the first 30 minutes of the debate Sen. Levin stated that the NDAA provisions do not apply to US citizens:"
Ethically-Challenged Justices Feted By Healthcare Law Challengers - Brad Blog
none"The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court."
17&18 Dec
The Weekend

This Week in West Chicago

Events in DuPage Forest Preserves: Dec. 26 – Jan. 1

none Plan for mosque near West Chicago starts over
"A Muslim group is making another attempt to get permission from DuPage County to transform an empty house near West Chicago into a mosque after “confusion” about the proposal forced the organization to withdraw an earlier application.  Islamic Center of Western Suburbs on Thursday night restarted the process of trying to get a conditional-use permit to have the house at 28W774 Army Trail Road declared a religious institution. Its new hearing before the county’s zoning board of appeals comes more than six months after the previous application was withdrawn."
State, feds come together for new Fermilab research center
nonenone"Fortner, a particle physicist who has worked on the DZero experiment at Fermilab, was beaming Friday.  He said he is often asked by nonscientists, “What good comes out of this stuff at Fermilab.” He tells them about the medical, energy and industrial applications that are a byproduct of the basic science research conducted there, such as proton beam therapy for cancer patients."
none Federal court approves Illinois congressional map
none"The three-judge panel agreed the map "was a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats," according to the ruling by U.S. District Court Judges ... But the court said Republicans failed to present a "a workable standard" to evaluate gerrymandering claims, particularly "given the unpredictable nature of Illinois voters' political preference.""
Foreclosure activity slips in much of Chicago area, nationwide
none"Foreclosure filings were reported on 224,394 properties across the U.S. last month, a 3 percent drop from October, RealtyTrac reported Thursday ... In DuPage County, the number of auction notices filed rose 41 percent."
none Illinois coal plants ahead of EPA mercury rule
none"Most Illinois utilities won't miss a beat when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires coal-fired power plants to control mercury emissions for the first time -- a decision environmental and health advocates say will reduce developmental problems in children but some industry groups complain is too restrictive.  In fact, the state already is way ahead.  The volume of mercury and mercury compounds emitted by Illinois' 23 power plants has fallen 44 percent, from 2008 through 2010 -- from a combined 4,482 pounds to 1,984 pounds, according to EPA data -- partly due to a state rule adopted four years ago."
Illinois ranks 3rd in teachers earning certification
none"Teachers must pass tests in the subject they teach and analyze their teaching strategies to get the credential. They build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments and videotapes. Certification typically takes one to three years to complete... This is the sixth consecutive year Illinois has ranked among the top 10 states for the number of teachers newly achieving the credential."
State to provide $15 million for affordable housing
none"Gov. Pat Quinn has announced $15 million in state funding for a Chicago-area program aimed at moving people with disabilities out of institutions and into homes of their own.  Home First Illinois will develop about 100 units of accessible affordable housing for 145 people over the next three years."
none $20M going to Fermilab for new accelerator
none"The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will provide $20 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan to design and build a part of the complex. The U.S. Department of Energy will contributed $13 Eveing that will be part of it.   The complex will help develop private industry partnerships for commercial and industrial application of accelerator technology."
none Court Upholds Fair Election Rule for Air and Rail Workers - AFL-CIO
none"For decades, the deck was stacked against workers covered under the Rail Labor Act (RLA) because every worker who did not cast a vote in a representation election was automatically counted as a “No” vote. The new NMB rule says that an election’s outcome will be decided by the majority of votes cast, just like every other election, from city council to the presidency."
none USCIRF reauthorized, but 7 must leave panel - Baptist Press
"The United States' watchdog for worldwide religious freedom gained reauthorization from Congress Friday on what could have been its final day of existence... The good news for religious liberty advocates did not come without some disappointments for many of their number. The bill limits commissioners to two, two-year terms. That restriction will require seven of the nine current commissioners to leave the panel in 90 days. In addition, USCIRF's yearly budget will drop from more than $4 million to $3 million."
none The 40 Best Protest Signs Of 2011 - BuzzFeed
[There are some very clever poeple walking around the protest sites around the world.  My favorite is this one. - Bob]
15 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 15 Dec 2011

  • Spirit of the Holiday Season
  • School Holiday Celebrations
  • Church Holiday Events
  • The book, “Turner Junction,”
none ONE DAY opportunity to get into ACT Prep course!!
"Attention Junior Parents!!!!  If you are still interested in registering your son or daughter for the ExcelEdge ACT review course, there has been an extension for ONE MORE DAY –deadlin e Friday, December 16th !!! ... In order to register, please have your son/daughter see Mrs. Ventimilla or Mrs. Holubetz in the Counseling Office with the appropriate registration form and payment for the course they are registering for.  Online registration is also available at  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Holubetz at 630-876-6315 or "


  • noneDecember 18, 2011 — 1:00 p.m.
  • Administration Conference Room — Entrance “H”
  • "RECOMMENDED MOTION TO MOVE TO CLOSED SESSION (Only if needed and with the understanding that possible action could be taken on matters discussed in closed session) That the Board of Education hold a Closed Session at [Time] for the purpose of reviewing collective negotiating matters."
Support Veterans through New Foundation
none"... Mayor Kwasman and other DuPage County leaders have formed a new organization, the DuPage Veterans Foundation, for the purpose of honoring and supporting the men and women of our country who have served so courageously in the United States military.  This 501c3 non-profit organization seeks to recognize special needs of DuPage veterans and provide fundraising efforts to acknowledge appreciation for all they have sacrificed for our freedom and safety."
noneRoadway Safety Efforts
"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... Campaign # 2 will begin on December 19, 2011 and run through January 1, 2012."
Illinois Family Business of the Year Award from Loyola University
none"St. Andrews won the award for medium sized businesses with 50-250 employees and is the first golf facility to receive this honor. The awards ceremony and banquet for Illinois Family Business of the Year took place November 29th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago."
none Kane County agrees to house DuPage juvenile offenders
"Despite protests Tuesday from some DuPage County officials, the Kane County Board agreed to house juvenile offenders from the neighboring county.  A DuPage County Board member, two residents, West Chicago police and the president of the DuPage County Chiefs of Police asked Kane County to delay the vote and further study the matter. The police officials said they hadn't been consulted during the planning of the agreement as to how it would affect their communities' operations and budgets."
[Recall the Tuesday article, Illinois youth prisons fail inmates, society, report says. - Bob]
DuPage candidate bets on own vote-getting power
none"Castillo argues the nominating paperwork is invalid because DeAngelis-Vesey made mistakes on her statement of candidacy. He said DeAngelis-Vesey failed to indicate on the form that she is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination in a primary.  “This is all a strategically loser move on his part,” DeAngelis-Vesey said. “He is trying to get me bumped on a technicality.”"
[I expect this kind of shennanigans from the Republicon Machine, but expect better from the Dinocrats. - Bob]
none Driver in fatal 2009 DUI crash facing more legal problems
none"Onofrio “Josh” Lorusso, of Wayne, is due back Thursday in the same Kane County courtroom where he was sentenced last year for reckless homicide and aggravated DUI in connection with the 2009 death of Cameron Godee, 17, of West Chicago."
Kline Creek Farm recaptures long-ago Christmas mood
none"During the holidays, Klein Creek Farm, a West Chicago living history farm that dates to the 1890s, will offer a glimpse at the ways Christmas was celebrated in the past. Modern visitors will recognize the more enduring traditions, while festivities will be unfamiliar, having faded with time."
none DuPage County tweaks rules for OK of bills
none"DuPage board members voted Tuesday morning to allow county bills to be paid with the endorsement of just one-third of their 18 members. Until now, payments have needed the go-ahead from a quorum of no fewer than 10 board representatives before the checks could be signed."
none Military, vets get home-buying help under state program
none"Gov. Pat Quinn today announced a program aimed at helping veterans and active duty military members purchase homes by providing $10,000 grants for down payment and closing costs.  Qualified applicants also will be able to lock in low-interest loans at 4 percent for a 30-year mortgage and receive an additional tax credit of up to $20,000 over that same time period."
I (Heart) Plants! New Bench Card Signs Available
none"To help build plant value, and acclaim the advantages of gardening, Ball Horticultural Company and America in Bloom® have collaborated to print some of these benefits on handy bench card signs. They are available for download at"
none House Republican leader proposes corporate tax repeal
none"Under the proposal, the corporate income tax would drop by 0.25 percent anytime Illinois’ unemployment rate increases by 0.3 percent in a four-month span."
[So they want to reward the businesses if they lay off more workers... there is something almost evil in the premise. - Bob]
Illinois rated low on benefits from business subsidies
none"Illinois and many other states get low marks in a report released Wednesday on ensuring that the tax breaks and other perks handed out to businesses generate good jobs.    The report from Good Jobs First, a Washington-based nonprofit group that researches economic development subsidies, gave Illinois a D for its efforts.  The report criticized Illinois in particular for failing to require that companies that receive incentives intended to create jobs or keep them in the state provide employees with health benefits."

WHAT’S NEW  Robert L. Park  Friday, 15 Dec 2011

none usa and union made promo
"Because we know it's important to you, we've arranged the most popular products by their USA and union status below.
For a complete listing of everything we offer in Made in USA promotions, which is one of the largest collections available anywhere, click here for our Product Index/Search page."
none In Santa Monica, battle over Christmas displays takes a new twist - Los Angeles Times
none"Atheist groups objected to churches' use of the public Palisades Park to espouse a religious message and applied to the city of Santa Monica for their own spaces.  To keep it fair and legal, officials in the famously liberal city turned to a lottery to dole out spots in the prime location along Ocean Avenue.  The atheists turned out to be the lucky ones: Of the 21 plots in the park open for displays, they won 18. A Jewish group that sets up a menorah won another."
none Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income - Detroit News
"About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure."
Poll: Most Americans want payroll tax extension - Yahoo News
none"What really galls him is the inequality: The same Congress hesitating to keep taxes low for working Americans also is hesitating to raise them on the wealthy. Congress this year ignored President Barack Obama's proposal to let expire tax cuts on the richest Americans and impose additional taxes on those who make more than $1 million, though polls showed most people supported those policies.
[What really galls me is that it's not the "same Congress" ... it is the Norquist and the Republican leadership that is preventing this getting done. - Bob]
13 Dec
Birth Announcement - FB, Stan Lemon
"Henry Tiberius Mac Lemon was born shortly after 4pm weighing 8lbs 6oz and measuring 19 1/2" long. Hank is doing well and mommy is in recovery. — at Butler Memorial Hospitall

Free Holiday Concerts
none"Come enjoy some music during the holiday season!  The music students of Community High School invite you to the Holiday Concerts this week for Band, Choir, Orchestra, and Guitar.

  • noneAll four of our student choirs, Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale, and Mixed Chorus, perform on Tuesday, December 13th.  
  • On Wednesday, December 14th, both the Symphonic and Concert Bands perform while the Orchestra and the brand new Guitar classes play for you on Thursday the 15th. 

All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium and are free to the public.

Al Murphy for Dupage Forest Preserve District 6. added a new photo.... - FB
Al Murphy"Thank you to my hosts of my fundraiser, Mayor of Carol Stream Frank Saverino, Mayor of West Chicago Mike Kwasman and Village of Hanover Park President Rodney Craig"
Marketplace Milestone St. Andrews Golf & Country Club
none"The Loyola University Family Business Center has selected St Andrews Golf & Country Club as winner of the 2011 Illinois Family Business of the Year Award."
Brilliance in Business Winners Receive Their Award 
none"It was a packed City Council meeting when representation from six outstanding West Chicago businesses approached the podium to receive their awards for excellence in one of six categories. For a photo gallery and information on their accomplishments, click here."
Frosty Fest Best Decorated Window
none"The City wishes to thank each and every one of the businesses for the time and investment it took to create the amazing window displays. St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, at 213 Main Street, was chosen by the public during Frosty Fest as their favorite window."
none Illinois youth prisons fail inmates, society, report says
none"Recent Daily Herald stories have focused on conditions at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, where the John Howard Association, a prison monitoring group, found crumbling buildings, filthy showers and overflowing garbage cans during a tour in May. “Safety beds” designed to minimize suicide risk had not yet been installed in all rooms, nearly two years after a 16-year-old boy killed himself using a bed railing and other materials."
County reminds residents of new garbage rules
none"“Unfortunately only 25 percent of electronics are recycled. The new electronics ban will ensure that people think twice before they throw an electronic away and hopefully they will seek other opportunities to either reuse the item or recycle it,” he said.  For  a complete list of companies and public drop-off sites for electronics, visit"
D303 approves levy with some protest
none"Officials also noted this year’s levy increase is less than the 2010 levy increase, which was 2.7 more than the 2009 levy. Cauffman said the district holds to the consumer price index in increasing its property tax levy.  Board President Kathleen Hewell said the district has been financially conscious, including salary freezes and other personnel cost-cutting measures."
St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store in Downtown West Chicago Chosen by Frosty Fest Attendees as the Best Decorated Window
none Tougher Chicago penalties for abuse of disabled placards
"State fines already in place for illegal use of placards range from $500 for a first offense to $1,000 for a third offense — and Emanuel’s new measure would match that same range. It also would impose a $200 fine on someone who allows their valid placard or plate to be used fraudulently."
Chicago-to-Moline passenger rail line gets OK
none"The Illinois Department of Transportation said today that it has reached an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration and partner railroads. Officials say the more than $220 million project will create 2,000 jobs and be finished by 2014. About $177 million in federal money and $45 million in state money will fund the rail line."
none Ill. House reconsiders closing pension loopholes
none"The lawmakers argued Sunday that reversing benefits after they’ve been earned, even by questionable means, is probably unconstitutional. Just two weeks after supporting legislation to take away those pension benefits, they began moving a new bill that closes several loopholes going forward but has no impact on people who have already taken advantage of them.  House Republicans objected to the new proposal. Senate Democrats said they believe the original measure will pass constitutional muster even though it would take away benefits that have already been awarded."
none Area school districts team up  with ILLINOIS concussion laws
"The number of athletic children going to hospitals with concussions is up 60 percent in the past decade, according to a study this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  And that has led about 20 states to pass youth concussion laws in 2011, according to data collected by Education Week. That includes Illinois, which passed the Protecting Our Student Athletes Act in July."
none Illinois House OKs tax relief for businesses, families
"“If we think that the companies in this state are not going to be down here talking to us on a regular basis, saying they are going to leave if we don’t get our act together, then we are sadly mistaken,” said House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego. “We’ve got to roll back our corporate tax. We’ve got to balance our budget.”   Some lawmakers, however, were dubious about responding to threats from businesses, and protesters in the House gallery unfurled a banner saying “Stop Corporate Extortion.”"
  • Check Out This Chart - AFL-CIO
    [This chart shows the recovery of the Auto Industry in almost undeniable form. - Bob]
  • Nurses Top Gallup’s Honesty, Ethics Poll - AFL-CIO
    "Who do you trust? When it comes to honesty and ethics, most of us trust nurses, according to the annual Gallup poll on how people view various professions. The survey found that 84 percent rate nurses “very high” or “high” on honesty and ethical standards. That’s the 12th time in 13 years nurses have been ranked first."
none Pastor's comments do Tebow a disservice - Yahoo
"Comments like these aren’t helping Tim Tebow. And they aren’t helping gain acceptance for the faith Tebow is willing to serve as public representative.  If anything, this is a moment when the pastor ought to take a lesson from his follower, who has consistently rejected such proclamations."
none ACLU Sues Scott Walker Over Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law - TPM
none"In making their case, the ACLU gathered 17 voters — from a 84-year-old woman without a certified birth certificate to a 52-year-old homeless Army veteran to a 20-year old without a Social Security card to a 19-year-old college student who doesn’t want to give up his California driver’s license — to demonstrate the effect the law could have."
‘Gentlemen, We Shot a Judge’ and Other Tales of Contractors’ Rampage Through Iraq - TPM
none"In Iraq, Blackwater’s “protective services” consisted in large part of preemptively shooting any car that drove near its convoys. Page after page of the reports feature drivers (and occasionally boat pilots) who were fired upon simply because they drove “aggressively,” attempted to pass, or didn’t heed warnings to keep their distance. There was no routine mechanism for following up with the drivers to determine if they were injured or were actually hostile."
10&11 Decc
The WeekEnd

 This Week in West Chicago


West Chicago Elementary School District 33 News Bites

  • Bundle Up! - December Health Tip
  • Citizens Advisory Council
  • WeGo to the North Pole
  • Orchestra Music Party
Christmas Choral Celebration Trinity Lutheran Church
none"Download PDF Flyer here December 17th at 5:00pm the Trinity’s choirs and instrumentalists will provide a special Christmas Choral Celebration. As we are getting ourselves ready for Christmas, we do so with music, inspirational readings, and fellowship. There is a put-luck dinner afterwards, that continues this celebration and fellowship."
Winter Reading Program: It’s Just Like Summer Reading… only cooler!
none"2012 Theme: Winter Snow Fun
January 3rd through February 25th
Winter’s no fun, unless you’re playing outdoors or curled up with a good book. Do both this year and participate in our annual Winter Reading program. For every five books read, participants receive an entry in our drawing to win fabulous winter-themed prizes!"
none Cantigny hosts annual Lego Train Show
none"Cost: Tickets for the party are $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 3 to 12. The train show is free with a $5 parking fee. Cantigny will waive the fee if an unwrapped, new toy is donated to the Marine Toy for Tots drop boxes inside the Visitors Center.
Info: or (630) 260-8162"
none How your lawmakers voted
     Randy Hultgren: Yes
     Richard Durbin: Yes ... Mark Kirk: No
     Durbin: No ... Kirk: No
none Joe Walsh backs away from Randy Hultgren duel, will run in 8th district
none"Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) decided to bypass a potentially tough GOP primary against Rep. Randy Hultgren and run instead in a more Democratic district where next November he will face either Tammy Duckworth or Raja Krishnamoorthi."
Forest district inquiry, PR bills top $109,000
none"Residents critical of DuPage County Forest Preserve District board decision making weighed in Tuesday morning, as the commissioners learned the contracted investigation of recent administrative mismanagement would cost them more than three times the original sum... The initial $18,000 accord became a $61,537 contract by a unanimous vote of the seven-member board."
none Rep. Joe Walsh to run in 8th, not 14th, Congressional District
none"Congressman Joe Walsh told supporters Thursday night that he plans to seek re-election in the 8th Congressional District, a change of heart from three months ago.  In September, Walsh said he would run in the new 14th Congressional District, which meant a tough primary against fellow conservative freshman Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield in DuPage County."
Fire Fighters Volunteer at Santa's Secret Shop
none"The shop was designed to enable students to select special holiday gifts for family and friends from a wide variety of items at an affordable price. This year was extra special since the fire fighters from the Winfield Fire Department volunteered to be personal shoppers to the students. The Indian Knoll PTO who organized the event felt it would be extra fun for the children shop with the help of a fire fighter."
none I-PASS glitch messes up some user accounts
none"“We are currently working to ensure that all I-PASS automatic replenishment accounts have been correctly refunded,” a tollway statement said.  “We are also working with our banks to ensure that customers do not incur overdraft fees as a result of this computer problem.”"
none Equipment upgrades next for high-speed rail project
none"Illinois is about to go shopping for a high-speed train set — 12 locomotives and 30 bi-level passenger cars at a potential cost of up to $233.8 million.  Throw in another $268.2 million to be shared with Iowa, Michigan and Missouri, and the total exceeds $500 million."
none These Corps Skirt Taxes, Cough Up Millions for Lobbyists - AFL-CIO
  • "Altogether, these companies spent nearly half a billion dollars ($476 million) over three years to lobby Congress—that’s about $400,000 each day, including weekends.
  • In the three-year period beginning in 2009 through most of 2011, these large firms spent more than $22 million altogether on federal campaigns.
  • These corporations also have spent lavishly on compensation for their top executives ($706 million altogether in 2010)."
none Poll shows Southern Baptists' reputation is suffering - The Tennesean
"Researchers discovered 62 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Methodists, while only 53 percent have a favorable view of Southern Baptists. About 40 percent of Americans have a negative impression of Southern Baptists, the lowest rating among traditional denominations.  The denomination is particularly unpopular among people who don’t go to church, young adults and Hispanics."
none The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah! - Forbes
none"That would be the provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers’ premium dollars they collect—85% for large group insurers—on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care."
The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises - Politifact
none"PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter.  We rate their status as Not Yet Rated, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken."
08 Dec

Around and About in West Chicago - 08 Dec 2011

  • Holiday Band and Choral Concerts
  • Letters to Santa
  • Clothing Closet at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ
  • Annual Tree of Memory Ecumenical Service2011
  • Historic Ornament
none West Chicago Public Library District Earns Earth Flag Certification
none"Ononen Monday, November 28, Administrative Librarian Melody E. Coleman accepted its Earth Flag Certification from Robert L. Larsen of the DuPage County Board Environmental Committee. The award, presented at a meeting of the Board of Library Trustees, recognizes the Library's efforts to "go green" through staff education, recycling, and community engagement to preserve natural resources."
D94 Students Help Teach Literacy to Dual Language First Graders
nonenone"As part of their English language development, the high school students studied folktales from a variety of countries, and then worked in teams to write and illustrate four different, original coloring books and word games based on the folktales they read. Each book featured language and characters appropriate for students in first grade."
Federal judges uphold Democratic map for General Assembly
none"A three-judge federal court panel today rejected the final arguments raised in a lawsuit by Republican leaders challenging the new Democratic-drawn map for Illinois General Assembly districts.  Democrats, who control both chambers in the state legislature, won the right to redraw political boundary lines on their own when Gov. Pat Quinn was elected last year, keeping the office in Democratic hands."
none Lincoln museum to receive restored 13th Amendment document
none"The almost 147-year-old document signifying the end of slavery is made of animal skin, which was creased and wrinkled, and some of the original ink had flaked away.  That made it too fragile to display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield."
COD police report first campus robberies in several years
none"In one, a 20-year-old woman was threatened by a man with a box-cutter as she entered her vehicle in the parking lot Fawell E around 4:50 p.m. Nov. 30. The man, wearing a black ski mask and dressed in black, demanded the woman’s cash and credit cards before running across Fawell Boulevard."
Report on waterway shipping decline fuels Asian carp debate
none"A federal report showing that cargo traffic on Chicago-area waterways has been flat or declining for 15 years was quickly embraced by those who support closing locks or installing barriers to keep invasive species like the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.  Michigan officials, who have joined other states in a lawsuit to have some Chicago-area locks closed, pointed to the findings as evidence that the Great Lakes shipping industry would not be dramatically affected if barriers were erected."
none Kane ready to vote on taking in DuPage's young offenders
"“There’s a 15-year track record of four counties doing business here,” said County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay.  Members of the board’s Executive Committee noted on Wednesday that the agreement is for a three-year term, and is reviewable each year. As of now, the deal includes DuPage paying Kane $110 per inmate per day."
none Reaction to the sentencing of Rod Blagojevich
none"A sampling of reactions from politicians, Illinois citizens and others on the 14-year prison sentence given to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday:"
The Fawell Affair
none"The family’s patriarch was Scott’s grandfather Walter Fawell, who served for six years as an alderman and four years as the mayor of West Chicago, a small community (population: 23,469) between Wheaton and St. Charles known for its gang problems and radioactive residue from a now-shuttered Kerr-McGee chemical plant site. West Chicago is the family’s home turf—a Fawell designed the city flag—and the place where Scott grew up."
none This lunar eclipse will include an 'impossible' sight - MSNBC
"The moon passes through the southern part of the Earth's shadow, with totality beginning at 6:06 a.m. PT and lasting 51 minutes.  For most places in the United States and Canada, there will be a chance to observe an unusual effect, one that celestial geometry seems to dictate can't happen. The little-used name for this effect is a "selenelion" (or "selenehelion") and occurs when both the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time."
none When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids - Washington Post
none"“I won’t beat around the bush,” he wrote in an email. “The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction."
GOP Propaganda Guru Scared to Death of Occupy -- 10 Ways He's Trying to Spin the Movement - AlterNet
none"Republicans have a long record of pretending to support entrepreneurship, but Luntz must have detected a derogatory connotation that wasn’t there previously... However, the GOP has been using “job creator” as a substitute for “rich,” so they will be forced to find a new label for the one-percent. How about “the One-Percent?”"
06 Dec

West Chicago Elementary School District 33 News Bites

  • noneFrosty Fest Essay Winners 
  • Parking Update at West Chicago Middle School
  • Holiday Band Concert - All District 33 Bands
21st Century Elementary Community Learning Center Grant Award
"West Chicago Elementary School District 33 was awarded a competitive federal grant of $450,000 for the next three years to establish a 21st Century Community Learning Center in three elementary school buildings; Currier, Gary and Pioneer."
City Approves Ordinance that Addresses Synthetic Marijuana
"The West Chicago City Council approved a new local ordinance on Monday, December 5, 2011 that addresses the legality of smokable herbal blends. It is now against City ordinance for anyone to sell, offer to sell or deliver, possess or use any synthetic marijuana product."
Keep Your Holidays Safe and Happy
none"The following tips from the West Chicago Police Department can help to keep your holidays safe and happy:..."
  • West Chicago makes a habit of coming back
    none"Kim Wallner might not enjoy the anxious moments, but her West Chicago team are the “comeback ‘Cats’ ” lately.  West Chicago rallied from down 5 with three minutes left to win at Glenbard North 53-46 Thursday, then came back from an 8-point deficit after three quarters to defeat Naperville North 66-61 in overtime on Saturday in Naperville."
  • West Chicago beats Naperville North in OT
    "Laura Panicali poured in 20 points with 12 rebounds and the Wildcats rallied from down 8 in the fourth quarter to win in overtime in Naperville. Claire Monroe chipped in 16 points and Allie Tapanes 10 for West Chicago (5-2, 2-0 DuPage Valley Conference)."
Olson leaving DuPage board; Democratic primary in one district
none"The other surprise Monday was that there will be a Democratic primary on March 20 to determine who will run in the fall for county board District 6.  Incumbent Dirk Enger — one of three Democrats on the county board — will be joined in the primary race by Terrell Barnes of Roselle and Bartlett residents Dave Barry and Lauren Nowak."
none Whooping cough outbreak felt statewide
none"Confirmed cases of the highly contagious bacterial infection have spiked in McHenry, Lake and DuPage counties, affecting close to 500 residents, the most in more than five years.  “People really need to take this seriously because it is not just about a cough, it’s a serious illness that affects the young and old,” said Debra Quackenbush, spokeswoman for the McHenry County Health Department."
Chicago universities preemptively buying up porn domains
"At Chicago State, which has registered and, spokeswoman Deborah Douglas called the purchase a "defensive maneuver." ... "I think you can look at the 'Girls Gone Wild' phenomenon and figure (adult websites) may aim at the college-aged demographic," she said. "We need to protect the integrity of our students and our brand. Porn and parasite, you can put those in the same sentence.""
Rep. Joe Walsh to decide today which district he'll seek re-election in
none"Walsh originally planned to seek re-election by challenging Hultgren in the March GOP primary.  In recent days, however, Walsh also has been exploring a possible run in the new 8th Congressional District, which Democrats drew to favor a Democratic candidate. No major Republican contender has emerged in the district while Tammy Duckworth, a former assistant secretary in the federal Veterans Affairs Department, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a former state deputy treasurer, are seeking the Democratic nomination."
none Aurora postal center on list to be cut
none"The list of processing centers to be closed released earlier this year includes the Fox Valley processing center on Aurora’s far East Side, as well as eight other facilities in Illinois — Bloomington, Carbondale, Centralia, Chicago, Effingham, Quincy, Rockford and Springfield."
none Time for lawmakers to stand up to those corporate bullies
none"What Sears is really saying is this: “Remember those temporary 1989 tax breaks you gave us to stay in Illinois? If you don’t make them permanent, we’re leaving Illinois.” Talk about chutzpah... The next time a company issues an unreasonable threat to leave, their local rep should pull up in a moving van and send ‘em packing."
none Dodge Dart name of new Chrysler car to be assembled in Belvidere
"The Dart is an extremely important new offering for Chrysler Group LLC, now run by Italy’s Fiat SpA. The Dart will be a compact sedan, the first for Chrysler dealers since the company discontinued the Dodge Neon in 2005.  The Giulietta has gotten rave reviews in Europe from publications such as AutoWeek, the Detroit Free Press and Car and Driver. Experts say there’s no question the Dart will improve on the weaknesses of the Caliber."
none State workers organize goodbye party in honor of Blagojevich sentencing
none"Lori Coonen and Joan Egizii say they organized a party Tuesday to celebrate disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentencing in order to “give Springfield a little closure” over his tumultuous reign."
none The Rich Don't Need a Free Ride - The Coffee Party
"And that may be true of entrepreneurs who start businesses, seek investors, and then sell off their creations and start all over again.  But I don't do any of those things, and there are millions of rich people like me who don't either. Like a lot of them, I inherited stock in big companies like IBM and General Electric. I support myself primarily by going to my mailbox, picking up dividend checks, and depositing them. Occasionally I sell some shares at a profit. And conservative tax reformers believe I should be rewarded for this great exertion by exempting me entirely from taxation."
none Islamic Rioters Attack Christian Shops in Northern Iraq - Compass Direct
"The rampage threatens the frail security of Iraq’s dwindling Christian population, sources said.  After mullah Mala Ismail Osman Sindi’s sermon claiming there was moral corruption in massage parlors in the northern town of Zakho on Friday (Dec. 2), a group of young men attacked and burned shops in the town, most of them Christian-owned. The businesses included liquor stores, hotels, a beauty salon and a massage parlor, according to Ankawa News."

Audit of the Federal Reserve Reveals 16 Trillion in Secret Bailouts -

  • none"Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
  • Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
  • Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
  • Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
  • Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)"
Bomb Buried in Obamacare Explodes - Hallelujah! - Reader Supported News
none"So, can private health insurance companies manage to make a profit when they actually have to spend premium receipts taking care of their customers' health needs as promised?  Not a chance - and they know it. Indeed, we are already seeing the parent companies who own these insurance operations fleeing into other types of investments. They know what we should all know - we are now on an inescapable path to a single-payer system for most Americans and thank goodness for it."
03 Dec

This Week in West Chicago

none West Chicago girl launches fundraiser for African clinic
"Grace Ramirez organized and performed in Kids for the Clinic, a concert fundraiser to benefit a medical facility in Sudan."
More details emerge on DuPage forest preserve probe
none"An invoice from JRM details that four employees spent nearly 125 hours between July 27 and Sept. 23 examining invoices and other records, as well as interviewing forest preserve district officials and information technology staff. The group spent nearly five hours more than its contract with the forest preserve district allowed, but did not bill the district the $150 per hour it was charging."
Suburbs offer holiday lights recycling
none"Several suburbs are partnering with Elgin Recycling to collect old lights and keep them out of landfills. Residents can recycle strands of incandescent, LED lights, and extension cords. They can be in any condition.  Elgin Recycling will collect the lights and recycle the copper and plastic parts.  There's no limit to the number of lights that can be recycled by any one person or business."
[I suspect this is the larger program mentioned in city news release, "Free Holiday Light Recycling in West Chicago", that listed drop off points. - Bob]
none Quinn: Sears help 'more than adequate'
none"Ohio is holding out $400 million in incentives to lure Sears’ corporate headquarters away from Illinois. In the meantime, Illinois lawmakers are struggling to pass a major package of tax breaks that includes $15 million a year for the next decade for Sears."
none Poverty up among school kids
none"Poverty rates among school-age children have increased in Kane, Kendall, DuPage and all of the collar counties since the start of the recession, according to U.S. Census data released this week.  Of all the counties in the Chicago area, Kane saw the biggest jump in poverty rates among children ages 5 to 17 — from 9.7 percent in 2007 to 15.4 percent in 2010."
none Rail strike that would have idled Metra averted
"The railroads announced tentative contract agreements with two rail unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association, which together represent about 26,500 employees in collective bargaining."
Frosty Fest Essay Contest Results in Original Works of Historical Fiction
none Crews douse small fire at west suburban hospital
"The fire began about 6:20 p.m. Fire crews were dispatched to the hospital, 300 Randall Road in the west suburb. The fire was out by 7 p.m., according to the Geneva Fire Department.  The fire was in an area that does not house patients, said Laura Jacobs, a spokeswoman for the hospital."
Proposed EPA ballast water regulations criticized
""It is not like this is a smokestack where you can scrub out 90 percent of the mercury or carbon dioxide and then feel pretty good about yourself," said Thom Cmar, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental advocacy organization based in New York. "Here you have a living pollutant that can breed and reproduce.""
none Boeing Decision on 737 Spurred by Union, Industry, State Effort - AFL-CIO
The Boeing Co. considered several other locations before it announced this week that it will build its new generation 737 MAX at its Renton, Wash., facilities where skilled members of the SPEEA/International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 2001 and Machinists (IAM) District 751 have produced high quality aircraft for decades."
none Swearing can beat pain: research - The Telegraph, UK
"Researchers at Keele University found that people who do not often swear in their everyday life could hold their hands in ice-cold water for longer when they did succumb to foul language than those who regularly pepper their conversations with curse words."
none The politics of the unemployment rate — in one chart! - Washington Post
none"But, for the average voter who doesn’t have the time (or the inclination) to dive too deeply into the numbers, the unemployment rate — or, more specifically, the trend line of the unemployment rate over time — is the key indication of whether things are getting better or worse with the economy.  And that’s why today’s November jobs report is such good news for President Obama."
Stop marketers from being able to call your cellphone! - Credo
none"A bill being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would end 20 years of consumer protection preventing marketers from endlessly calling your cell phone--and using up minutes that you pay for."
01 Dec
none Around and About in West Chicago - 30 Nov 2011
  • Frosty Fest
  • Wheaton Academy Advanced Drama Show
  • Fourth Annual Kooper’s Kandy Kane Mishap
  • West Chicago Public Library Open House
  • Wheaton Academy Christmas Concert
  • none BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS 11-30-11
  • Dr. John Yancey's 25th Year of Dental Practice
  • Dominick’s Cucina & Pizzeria's 35th Anniversary
  • Local Businesses Contributions to Our Community
  • none Reminder for Market Day Orders 
    none"Please help support our student organizations by placing orders nonewith Market Day.  December’s Market Day profits will benefit our Awesome Choir group.   The next Market Day pick up will be Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm. You must place your order by:  Monday, December 5th  at 11:00pm CST.  Pick up time is 5:00-5:45 pm in Commons... Click on the following website to access Market Day to place your order:  Our School is listed as Community High School Activities  - Account #6816.

    Frosty Fest Essay Contest

    • noneGrades 3 & 4: 
          Anna Fortelka - Turner School (4th grade)
    • Grades 5 & 6:
          Adamary Nuñez - Currier School (5th grade)
          Brianna DiCicco - Norton Creek School (5th grade)
    Toys for Tots Brings Hope to Less Fortunate
    none"On behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, the West Chicago Police Department will be collecting new, unwrapped toys now through December 23, 2011. These toys can be placed in the box in the front lobby of the police department located at 325 Spencer Street. Any questions about the program can be directed to Sgt. Mike Zepeda at (630) 293-2222."
    • Wonderful & Wearable
      "December's artist series features jewelry and accessory artisans in time for holiday shopping. Meet the artists at a free Opening Reception on Friday, December 2, 2011, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m."
    • noneFree Art Classes at Frosty Fest
      "Stop in to Gallery 200 during Frosty Fest, Saturday, December 3, 2011 and enjoy learning the art of stringing a pop top bracelet with artist Marge Hall at 5:00 p.m. and creating folded paper ornaments with artist Heide Morris at 6:00 p.m.! "
    • "A Gift Worthy of Giving" Returns to Gallery 200/STUDIO
      "Celebrating its first year anniversary, Gallery Theater will present "A Gift Worthy of Giving." There will be four performances: Saturdays, December 3 & 10, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, December 4 & 11, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. All performances will be at the Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court, West Chicago."
    none Duckworth, Krishnamoorthi don’t fear Walsh
    none"Democratic candidates in the 8th Congressional District race Wednesday said they were undaunted by the possibility of Republican incumbent Joe Walsh changing his mind and running for re-election in the redrawn district... “It’ll probably help me raise money,” Duckworth said with a laugh, adding that her campaign message is the same whomever she’s running against."
    COD board to vote on deannexation from Glen Ellyn
    none"The village has said it would still provide COD with water and sewer service “at the same unincorporated rates as the village's neighbors pay” if the two sides are able to put together an annexation agreement. If there's no agreement, the village could charge up to double the incorporated rate, according to the village's policy statement.  COD officials have said they could consider connecting the college's utility system to an outside provider, such as Illinois American Water."
    none COD board votes to de-annex from Glen Ellyn
    none"The two parties have been locked in a two-year long battle over replacing a 2007 intergovernmental agreement, with the core issue being whether the college was a part of a state education system and obligated to submit to Illinois Community College Board, or a separate unit of government that fell under village jurisdiction."
    Assembly votes to restore shelter funds
    none"“It was overwhelming,” Dowd said. “Shelters had already started scaling back the number of people they could take or the number of days they were open.”  The restoration of funding, which passed overwhelmingly, came just as some state shelters were on the verge of having to close, Dowd said."
    none Judson's Burke national player of the year
    none"On the eve of his team’s quarterfinal game in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association soccer tournament, Judson University senior Corey Burke was named the NCCAA player of the year.  Burke, of West Chicago, also was named a first team CoSIDA Academic All-America Tuesday by the NAIA sports information directors. He is the first Judson men’s soccer player to gain that recognition."
    Illinois court to mull '95 parental notification law - Tribune
    none"The law requires a physician to tell a parent, grandparent or legal guardian at least two days before someone younger than 18 gets an abortion. Waivers could be granted if notification were ruled against a female’s best interests, such as cases of sexual abuse.  The law left it to the state Supreme Court to draft rules to govern how minors could seek a waiver from a judge and appeal an adverse ruling."
    none Panel named to analyze Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Lincoln"
    none"Four local historians and a former journalist will make up the panel that will discuss "Killing Lincoln," Bill O'Reilly's (and co-author Martin Dugard's) book on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Some reviewers, including a historian at Ford's Theatre, have challenged a number of facts in "Killing Lincoln.""

    What's New Robert L. Park 01 Dec 2011

    none Who Is Behind Secret Phone Tracking Software ‘Carrier IQ’? - TPM
    none"Your smartphone is probably spying on you, unless you’re a Windows Phone customer.  That’s the unfortunate conclusion of a number of tech bloggers and security researchers over the past two weeks who have stumbled upon the whopper of all real-life tech conspiracies: That a piece of what appears to be remote, real-time tracking software called “Carrier IQ,” made by a company of the same name, is installed on upwards of 140 million handsets worldwide, including many popular Android, iOS, Nokia and BlackBerry devices in the U.S."
    none Crystal Sugar seeking temps - Star Tribune
    "Since the lockout began Aug. 1, Crystal's plants have been mostly manned by out-of-town replacements hired by an outside contractor, Strom Engineering of Minnetonka. Strom specializes in providing labor for companies experiencing strikes or lockouts.  Most of Strom's workers are paid per-diems for lodging and meals, expenses ultimately picked up by Crystal Sugar."
    Union leader objects to restrictions on collecting signatures on recall petition - Tribune
    none"Wisconsin State Employees Union director Marty Beil sent a letter of complaint Wednesday to the secretary of Walker's Department of Administration.  Beil takes issue with the Walker administration telling state employees they are forbidden from collecting signatures while on state property, or during work breaks or their lunch hours.  Beil says that is a violation of the workers' free speech rights and asked that the policies be rescinded."
    none Angry Over Unfair Mortgage Practices, Churches Pull Money From Wall Street Banks - Think Progress
    none"“In a way, the banks have divested from our communities, especially communities of color,” said the Rev. Ryan Bell, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Los Angeles. “So we’re basically telling Bank of America that we want them to invest in our communities, and until they do that we’re not going to give our money to them.”"
    none What Has Obama Done For Me Lately? - 538 Refugees
    none"Republicans don’t even say the words Obama administration without putting the word ‘failed’ in front of it. And it echoes a growing perception amongst Democrats and independents... The accomplishments of the first two years of the Obama Administration:..."
    Inside Job. The documentary. Online. For free. -The Other School of Economics
    "Charles Ferguson’s film – Inside Job – won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011. It narrates the conflicts of interest between the finance industry, politicians, academics and regulators, which eventually led to the trillion-dollar collapse of 2008. Narrated by Matt Damon."
    [Yes, this streams the entire hour and a half long Academy Award winning movie. - Bob]


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