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Quad City Daily News

Rauner Signs Legislation

CHICAGO – Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 238 today, which further reinforces Illinois as a leader in early childhood education. This is amplified by the recent historic increase to the early childhood education block grant in the stopgap bridge.

 

“Early childhood education is an area that everyone can be proud of in Illinois,” Governor Bruce Rauner said. “Today provides us the chance to celebrate the role early childhood education plays in Illinois and the role Illinois plays in early childhood education across the nation.”

 

Illinois was the first state in the country to ensure a portion of early childhood education block grant went directly to programs for infants and toddlers up to age three. SB 238 clarifies the original intent of the law and ensures that eventually 20 percent of the early childhood block grant will be spent on programs that support children from birth to age three. This is done by allocating 25 percent of any additional early childhood block grant funds each year for the infant-toddler set aside.

 

“Research shows that emotional, cognitive and physical capacities are developed by experiences in the first five years of life, and those first three years are especially critical,” First Lady and President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund Diana Rauner said. “We know that children thrive in responsive, stimulating environments, and that supporting families in their children’s early years promotes healthy development. This bill will prioritize funding for our youngest learners to provide children access to high-quality programs and other supports.”

 

It is truly a bipartisan bill and received unanimous support from the General Assembly.

 

"Educating our children requires us to invest the proper resources to ensure their success," State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) said. "We have made great efforts in improving developmental education over the last ten years.  This legislation helps us to continue that work and move toward closing under achievement gaps without taking away from other valuable early childhood education programs."

 

"As policy makers we have an obligation to support our children, and that begins with making education a priority,” said State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee). “Ensuring Illinois children have the academic support they need to flourish not only sets them up for success, but will translate into a better future for the entire state."

 

As part of the stopgap bridge, the early childhood education block grant will receive an additional $75 million. This is a record investment for the state’s youngest learners.

 

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Rauner Urges Vote on Term Limits

On the heels of a Cook County Judge ruling against putting a popular measure on the ballot that would create independently drawn legislative maps, Governor Bruce Rauner today reiterated his push for good government reforms including a call for the Illinois General Assembly to vote on a term limits constitutional amendment in the fall veto session.

Following his speech in Chicago, Governor Rauner will take his message directly to the people of Illinois on a two-day swing from Rockford to Mt. Vernon.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Over the past two years, the people of Illinois, Democrats and Republicans alike, have demanded reform. In 2014 the entrenched politicians holding power in Springfield ignored those demands. They used the Illinois court system to stop proposals for term limits and fair maps that could have led to the reforms the people want.

Term limits and fair maps would give the people of Illinois more control over our broken political system.

But the politicians holding power said no.

Last week they said no again. A lower court threw out this year’s Fair Maps proposal that has the support of nearly 600,000 Illinois citizens, support from both Democrats and Republicans.

We cannot let this stand. The only way to overcome entrenched political power is for the people of Illinois to never give up, to keep pushing forward for reform. That’s why we’re here today.

Term limits is an issue I believe in deeply. And so do the people of Illinois. Term limits is supported by 80% of the people I talk to, and it seems like 80% of the politicians are opposed.  Our people want term limits now more than ever, and that’s why I’m so committed to continue the fight to make it happen.

You know, I’ve been Governor of Illinois for a year and a half now.  We’ve gotten some important things done.  But I’m as frustrated as everyone else that we haven’t been able to tackle the biggest challenges facing our state.  These past 18 months have been a humbling experience - I’ve learned just how entrenched the politicians holding power are.  They don’t want to change. They are focused on their own power, rather than empowering people.  But I have also learned that you want me to keep working to fix our broken political system. That is just what I plan to do.

 

But I need your help to get it done.

As I’ve travelled the state, I’ve learned the most from talking to people, not politicians.  I’ve talked to people in factory break rooms, in coffee shops, in milking barns, in office buildings and at kitchen tables.  After you spend enough time in Springfield, it’s inspiring to talk with people facing real challenges every day and seeing how hard they work to get ahead. It makes me want to work that much harder for all the people of Illinois.

Our people want action on the challenges we face.  People want us to fix the broken system that has put our state deep in the hole.  But in Springfield, too many career politicians holding power have been happy to kick the can down the road and do nothing about our biggest problems.

That is how we ended up with a $100 billion unfunded pension liability. Even with our massive tax bills, our government spends a dollar-thirty for every dollar it takes in.  It simply defies common sense. The people I talk to every day balance their budgets, and they expect us to balance the State’s. To do that, we need new people with their new ideas in Springfield.

 

People in business are successful by making things happen.  In politics, career politicians don’t have to make anything happen to get re-elected.  If they play their cards right, they’ve got a lifetime job. We’ve got politicians in Springfield who’ve been there for twenty, thirty, forty years!  And look what’s happened to our state in that time. 

 

It’s time for change.  Two years ago, 600,000 thousand people in Illinois signed petitions calling for term limits on elected officials.  The politicians long in power ignored the petitions.  They won’t even debate the issue. That’s crazy!

We desperately need new faces and new ideas in Illinois politics. We need to make serving in government more about public service, and less about power and a government pension.  That should be obvious!

We need it in the Republican Party, in the Democratic Party, and throughout the political spectrum.  New faces need to believe they have an even chance of winning in a truly democratic election.  

 

Look at the numbers:

 

This year over 88% of candidates for our legislature faced no opposition in their primary.

Even more amazing, two-thirds have no opposition in the general election.  That’s not democracy. That’s a rigged system.

The system has given so many advantages to incumbents in the legislature that it’s very hard to vote them out -- even if they’re not doing a good job.

That’s just wrong.

But we can change that.  And we must change that. 

 

That’s why I’m calling on the General Assembly to vote on a term limits constitutional amendment when members return for the fall veto session.

It’s certainly true that getting term limits won’t fix every problem we face.  We’ve still got to wipe out corruption, conflicts of interest, and repair our broken pension system.  We’ve got to balance our budget without balancing it on the backs of the most needy.  We’ve got to get our property taxes moving down, not up. All of this will help create the environment we need to attract good jobs back to Illinois. 

 

We can overcome our challenges.  We can do it together.  First, we’ve got to fix Illinois’ broken political system.  And when we fix the system, we can take on any challenge Illinois faces.

 

Term limits will go a long way toward fixing the system by changing the culture back to public service, not personal gain, by forcing the lifetime politicians to find new jobs, and by bringing new faces and new ideas to Springfield.

All of the changes we need won’t happen right away.  This will take time. But now we’ll be moving in the right direction.

 

Instead of gridlock and inaction, we’ll be moving forward. 

 

And every day we’ll get closer to the future we, our kids and our grandkids deserve. Illinois can be the economic engine of the Midwest again.  We can be a magnet for the best companies from all over the world and the best jobs, just as it used to be. From our rich farmland to busy factory floors to tech start-ups, Illinois will be going and growing again.

 

Now, cynics will say this is an impossible dream to get term limits voted on by this legislature. But that dream can become a reality if the people of Illinois demand it.

And we are not stopping with term limits. We’ll keep pressing every day to lower our property taxes, to protect all our taxpayers, to protect and grow our jobs, and to ensure every child has a chance at a great education. We can do this – if we work together for the reforms our state needs.

We’re facing tough challenges, but we can meet those challenges if we work together for reform.  One step at a time.  Starting right now.  It starts with term limits.

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President Signs Grassley Measure


WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today issued the following statement after President Obama signed the Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act into law.

 

“Our brave men and women of law enforcement put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep us safe, as we’ve seen in their valiant response to recent terrorist attacks and ambushes on their own colleagues.  We need to do all we can to ensure our law enforcement and first responders are equipped with the necessary tools and training to safely and swiftly resolve these dangerous situations.  The POLICE Act boosts active shooter training for police and other first responders who are quick to run toward a crisis when others are running away,” Grassley said.

 

The Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act, which Grassley led out the Judiciary Committee in May, allows law enforcement and medical personnel across the country to use existing federal grant funds for active shooter response training.  Under the bill, the grant funds can also be used for training civilians on the appropriate response when confronted with an active shooter. 

 

President Obama signed the POLICE Act into law today. It is the 12th bill reported out of the Judiciary Committee under Grassley’s leadership to become law. In the previous Congress, only five bills reported out of the committee were signed into law.

 

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Scott Area Recycling Center to Celebrate Grand Reopening July 28

It’s GO time! Waste Commission of Scott County will celebrate the launch of its new recycling program, GO All In, on Thursday, July 28. The Grand Reopening from 1 to 3 p.m. will feature a ribbon cutting with the Quad Cities Chamber at 2 p.m. at the newly renovated Scott Area Recycling Center, 5640 Carey Ave., Davenport. The media is invited to attend. A community open house will follow from 4 to 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and tours of the facility will be provided.

“We are thrilled to open our doors and showcase the new facility and recycling program with our partners,” said Kathy Morris, Director of the Commission.

The Commission owns and operates the Scott Area Recycling Center, which has been closed since October 2015 for construction to allow for recycling program changes. The nearly $11 million project includes $4.6 million for facility updates, $3.1 million for recycling processing equipment, and $2.7 million for new recycling carts for Davenport and Bettendorf residents.

The GO All In recycling program starts Aug. 1. Residents now can place all their recyclables in their new carts, which were delivered in June and July. Sorting of recyclables is no longer required, but recycling and garbage are still separate. The new recycling carts will be collected on a resident’s first recycling day falling on or after Aug. 1.

The new recycling program includes more materials: more plastics, gable-top cartons (such as those for milk and juice), and canisters that hold foods such as chips and nuts (e.g. Pringles cans). All containers should be empty and rinsed, and boxes should be flattened. Garbage, yard waste and plastic bags do not go into the new recycling carts. Davenport and Bettendorf residents should look at the graphic on the lids of their carts or visit goallinqc.org to find out what’s recyclable.

The Commission is an inter-governmental agency whose mission is to provide environmentally sound and economically feasible solid waste management. For more information about the Commission, please call (563) 381-1300 or visit www.wastecom.com. For more information about recycling, residents may call (563) 388-1450 or visit goallinqc.org.

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DISNEY LIVE! MICKEY AND MINNIE'S DOORWAY TO MAGIC TICKETS ON SALE AUGUST 2 IN MOLINE

Open the door to reveal mesmerizing worlds of unforgettable Disney moments and grand illusions when Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie's Doorway to Magic visits Moline on November 4, 2016 at iWireless Center. Tickets go on sale August 2, 2016.

Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the comical duo of Donald and Goofy as 25 of your favorite characters surprise and captivate at every turn of the knob! See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella's rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the Toy Story gang defy the dimensions of Andy's toy box with the help of the green army men; and the spectacular stage debut of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider as they rise into the sky amidst the floating lanterns. With special appearances by Snow White, Tinker Bell and Aladdin's Genie, you never know what to expect or who might join in the fun. In Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie's Doorway to Magic, you hold the ultimate key to unlocking your imagination.

MOLINE, IL
iWireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline, IL 61265)
Show Date & Time:   Friday, November 4, 2016   4:00PM & 7:00PM               
Ticket Prices:           Ticket start at $15.00
To order tickets by phone:   800-745-3000
Online:                    www.ticketmaster.com         www.disneylive.com

To learn more about Disney Live!, go to DisneyLive.com, visit us on Facebook and YouTube and follow us on Twitter @Disney Live!

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Deere Layoffs Coming to Harvester Works

Deere & Company announcing on Friday that approximately 120 production employees at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline will be placed on indefinite layoff. The move is effective Sept. 6. The factory’s workforce currently includes approximately 1,050 production employees. Deere says the company continues to adjust the size of its production workforce to market demand for products manufactured at each of its factories. In previous announcements, Deere said it expects sales of agricultural equipment to decrease for the 2016 fiscal year.

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Grassley:Afghanistan


 

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is pressing the Defense Department to clarify and respond to potentially misleading statements about the true cost of a compressed natural gas station in Afghanistan.  In a four-page-plus letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Grassley outlined questionable statements by a top defense official, who asserted that the gas station cost $5.1 million rather than $43 million, and the authenticity of new information on the cost that needs clarification.

 

Various Defense Department-approved analyses have shown the best possible estimate for the gas station cost is $43 million and suggested that no documentation exists that will support an exact cost, including the much lower cost of $5.1 million cited by Acting Under Secretary Brian McKeon during testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee.  Analysis was provided by Vestige Consulting, Williams Adley and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

 

“The assessments by the Vestige CEO and the DSCA Comptroller square with what the Williams Adley firm discovered, and what I know about the department’s shoddy bookkeeping practices,” Grassley wrote.  “For these reasons, the real cost of the CNG filling station will remain elusive -- unless Secretary McKeon is able to produce a complete set of documents that support his $5.1 million cost estimate.”

 

Grassley asked a series of questions seeking clarification on why the Defense Department pushed the lower cost estimate without documentation to back up the claim.

 

“If Secretary McKeon still stands behind his $5.1 million figure, I ask him to provide a complete set of underlying records to back it up,” Grassley wrote.  “I also ask that these be verified as accurate and complete by a certified public accountant.”

 

The compressed natural gas station was among several projects overseen by the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, after documenting numerous instances of excessive spending by the now-defunct task force and a shoddy record of projects, is now conducting two formal audits of the task force at Grassley’s request.

 

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Heat Could Lead to Buckling Pavement

 

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is urging motorists to be on the alert for the possibility of pavement buckling on roads throughout the state in the next few days due to the recent rainfall and extreme heat in the forecast.

 

The combination of very high temperatures and precipitation can lead to pavement expanding and ultimately buckling or blowing out, causing uneven driving surfaces in some areas. As long as the heat and humidity persists, IDOT will be monitoring the situation, with crews available to make repairs as quickly as possible if they are needed.

 

Motorists should be aware of slowing traffic and be prepared to move over for maintenance workers and other emergency personnel.

 

In addition, with the extreme heat, you are encouraged to carry drinking water with you when you travel. Getting stranded could be dangerous and dehydration can happen quickly in these conditions without proper hydration.

540**16

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IL Delegate: Superdelegate System Fails Voters

Ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia today the party took a small step that could limit the role of convention superdelegates. 

Some Illinois delegates say more changes are sorely needed. 

Illinois has 26 superdelegates who are appointed by party leaders and vote for whichever candidate they choose, regardless of who wins the state presidential primary. 

Critics have long said the process can favor a candidate who is actually unpopular with voters. 

Jan Rodolfo, an Illinois delegate for Bernie Sanders, backed a plan to eliminate superdelegates altogether, but that idea was shot down.

"I'm a supporter of one person, one vote," she states. "And I think that superdelegates are really a class of party members who have undue weight, in terms of the way that their votes work. It really reinforces the status quo."

On Saturday, the DNC's Rules Committee agreed to set up a commission to meet after the November election. The group will consider changes to the party's nominating process, including getting rid of up to two-thirds of superdelegates.

If the last round of primaries and caucuses had not included superdelegates, Rodolfo says Bernie Sanders would likely have become the Democratic nominee, which could have brought about changes to the party's platform.

"If that were the case, then the situation going to the Democratic Platform Committee would've been very different," she points out. "Instead of a platform that, for example, completely failed to address the need for single-payer Medicare for all, which is something that the majority of Democrats support, that wouldn't have happened."

Still, even if the commission does support eliminating some superdelegates, the idea would still need approval from the DNC committee, which has squashed similar moves in the past.

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Bettendorf Police Release Advisory for Pokemon Go Players

Bettendorf Police took the remarkable step on Friday to put out a press release regarding the popular game Pokemon Go. The release, aimed at young children and teenage players of the popular game app, aimed to remind players about the laws that still apply even to those searching for their favorite Pokemon characters. The release reminds players not to attempt to capture Pokemon while driving, something that led a player in Maryland, captured in a recent viral video, to crash his car into a parked police vehicle. The reminder also pointed out that private property is still private property no matter whether you are chasing Pokemon characters, you're still trespassing. And finally, the release reaffirmed the local curfew which requires people ages 17 and under to be off the streets by 11 Pm Sunday through Thursday and by Midnight on Friday and Saturday, no exemptions for Pokemon hunters. You can read the complete press release on the Bettendorf Police Department Facebook page. 

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Mid Morning at the Movies with Sean Patrick and Linda Cook

On this week's Mid Morning at the Movies myself and Linda Cook talk about this week's new movies including Star Trek Beyond, Lights Out and Ice Age Collision Course. 

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GED, adult ed classes begin Aug. 9 at BHC

Black Hawk College offers GED, adult education, adult literacy and high school completion classes at no cost to students at a variety of locations.

A new session will begin Tuesday, Aug. 9.

For more information, visit www.bhc.edu/adulted or call or visit one of these learning sites:

Black Hawk College Community Education Center
404 E. Third St., Kewanee
309-854-1875

Black Hawk College Outreach Center
301 Avenue of the Cities, East Moline
309-796-8216

Black Hawk College Adult Learning Center
4610 Black Hawk Commons Drive, Rock Island
309-794-1072

High Roads Advantage
2004 SE Third St., Aledo
309-582-8181

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John Deere Historic Site Hosts Hammer In 2016 on August 6-7

 The company John Deere founded has a presence around the world, but it all started in Grand Detour, Illinois, where Deere forged the first commercially successful self-polishing steel plow back in 1837.  To celebrate the blacksmith’s history and trade, the John Deere Historic Site is hosting Hammer In 2016 on August 6-7. Dozens of blacksmiths from the Midwest will fill the grounds of the John Deere Historic Site to provide demonstrations, sell their work, and introduce the public to one of the oldest trades in the world.
         In addition to blacksmithing, other trades will be exhibiting their skills and selling their wares including basket weavers, broom makers, trappers, wheelwrights, woodwrights and more.
         From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will see how blacksmiths and other tradesmen mold and craft their wares into works of art and household goods. Many of the products for sale during the event will be made on location.
         This year’s event is themed “Come to the other side of the anvil” because attendees will have an opportunity to get hands on experience as a blacksmith. This is a unique opportunity for all attendees ages 12 and older to actually try hammering and forging to make their own piece of iron work. Members of the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association (UMBA) will provide training tents and will work with guests to let them experience the working side of the anvil.
 
         On Saturday, at noon, guests will be treated to the sound of dozens of blacksmiths hammering in unison during an official “Anvil Ring.”  A food vendor will be on site and a charity auction will also take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6. Proceeds from the auction will be divided between the Upper Midwest Blacksmith and Illinois Valley Blacksmith Associations, both event sponsors, for their scholarship programs.
         “We are very excited to bring another Hammer In event to Grand Detour because it provides an unique opportunity to learn about the historical significance of blacksmithing and to see how the trade lives on as demonstrated by dozens of skilled professionals still practicing the trade today,” said Kristen Veto, Manager of the John Deere Historic Site.
         The John Deere Historic Site held its first Hammer In event in 2004, with 75 blacksmiths, attracting thousands from around the country. Hammer In events have been hosted here every other year since in an effort to celebrate the trade as well as the history and legacy of the company’s founder.
         Admission is $5.00 for 12 years and older, children under 12 are free. For more information, please contact the John Deere Historic Site at 815-652-4551. The Site is located five miles north of Dixon on Hwy 2 (Between Dixon and Oregon).
About the John Deere Historic Site
The John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first commercially successful “self-polishing” steel plow. The Historic Site was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, and a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. The home Deere built still stands and is now accompanied by a replicated blacksmith shop, an exhibit of Deere’s original tools unearthed during an archeological dig, and a visitor center and gift shop. In the atmosphere of a friendly 19th century village, informed tour guides provide an entertaining and educational perspective of life on the prairie.  The John Deere Historic Site is open to the public May through October and is funded and managed by the John Deere Foundation. For more information, please call 815-652-4551 or visit www.VisitJohnDeere.com.

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American Red Cross Seeking AmeriCorps Team Members

MOLINE, IL, July 22, 2016 - The American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region is currently seeking individuals to serve as full-time AmeriCorps team members. Anyone looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the community while gaining new skills and experiences is encouraged to apply. AmeriCorps team members work with the Red Cross helping to empower residents to prepare and recover from disasters.
“AmeriCorps team members play a critical role in helping the Red Cross teach people about disaster preparedness and recovery,” said Alyssa Pollock, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois. “AmeriCorps team members gain valuable skills through the program and it is a rewarding experience because you are helping others.”
The American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region currently has AmeriCorps team member openings in Bloomington, Moline, Peoria, Quincy and Springfield. Team members will serve from August 22, 2016 to July 22, 2017.
BENEFITS:
Invaluable experience from a nationally and internationally-respected organization for school, a future job or new career
Extensive training
$5,775 AmeriCorps Education Award (upon successful completion of service term commitment and 1700 hours of service)
Living stipend paid bi-weekly
Basic Health Insurance for AmeriCorps member
Subsidized childcare
Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)
REQUIREMENTS:
Successfully serve in the position, serve 35 hours a week and meet the 1700 minimum requirement for a full term of service
Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
Must be 18 years of age at the start date of service
Have a valid Driver's License & clean driving record
Pass required criminal background checks
Members should also be comfortable working with a wide variety of people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and respect the American Red Cross fundamental principles.

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World's Longest, Largest, Oldest Bike Touring Event Remembers Lost Riders

An estimated 20,000 bicyclists will ride all or some of the week-long annual ride across Iowa, which starts Sunday. The route of the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, this year connects small towns that are often unseen and unappreciated. 

T.J. Juskiewicz, director of RAGBRAI, said for the 44th annual ride, cyclists will be observing one of those miles in silence.

"We've lost eight cyclists in the state of Iowa this year, due to accidents on the bike," he said. "And, we're going to remember the cyclists and other ones that couldn't be on RAGBRAI this year due to fatalities suffered on the bicycle."

Juskiewicz said the silent portion of the ride on the first day is to promote safer cycling for both drivers and riders.

He said mainly the ride is about having fun while biking and camping. And, for many riders, helping causes important to them.

"They're riding for, you know, to stop juvenile diabetes or an answer to Parkinson's or just so many different causes," he said. "They're riding to raise funds for a different charity, maybe in support of their aunt that passed away from a different disease."

Juskiewicz said of the 20,000 riders participating, around 65 percent of them come from outside of Iowa, making RAGBRAI the state's largest tourist attraction for out-of-state visitors. For those who make it to the ending point in Muscatine, they take part in a tradition started at the first ride in 1973.

"The climactic moment of RAGBRAI is when the riders reach the Mississippi River," he added. "After riding their bicycle seven days across the great state of Iowa, when the Mississippi River opens up in front of them they dip their tire in the Mississippi River and that signifies their conclusion to RAGBRAI."

Each day the riders pedal between 50 and 75 miles for a 420-mile total.

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New Data Shows Illinois Voters Favor State Workers in Contract Talks

Illinois voters like labor unions, but generally find Governor Bruce Rauner's approach to labor negotiations to be unfavorable, according to a new poll. This month the progressive political research group ALG took a survey of about 600 likely Illinois voters. The findings show that more than half trust the state's public employee unions more than the governor when it comes to labor disputes. 

Anders Lindall public affairs director with AFSCME Council 31, part of the state's largest employee union, said the poll comes as the union has been urging Rauner to return to bargaining a new contract. 

"The poll shows that voters reject Rauner's approach to try impose his unfair terms on workers, potentially forcing a strike," he said. "On the contrary, voters strongly support public service workers."

According to the poll, 54 percent of Illinois voters favor the unions in the negotiations, while only 30 percent support Rauner. However, in a statement to Capitol Fax, Rauner's office called the research a "fabricated poll." 

Earlier this year, Rauner's administration asked the state labor board to allow him to impose new terms in the state worker contract. The board denied that request two weeks ago. Lindall argues the poll suggests that Illinois voters want to see the governor and state employees come to an agreement. The talks between AFSCME and the governor have been stalled since January. 

"Not confrontation, but compromise," he added. "That's what AFSCME wants, clearly that's what the people of Illinois want. Bruce Rauner trying to force confrontation is out on an island with the support of a small minority of Illinoisans."

According to the union, Rauner's demands include a four-year wage freeze and doubling workers' costs for health care.

The full report can be read online here.

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New National Guard Policy

SPRINGFIELD, IL (07/21/2016)(readMedia)-- The Illinois Army National Guard has instituted a new policy designed to focus support for community events from Illinois Army National Guard units to the local communities where those units are based.

Beginning with requests received by the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office after July 22, 2016; most community relations requests including speakers, vehicle static displays, and parade support will either be supported by a unit within 50 miles of the event or will not be supported.

"The Illinois Army National Guard is a community-based organization and it is vital that we continue to communicate with and support the communities where our Soldiers live and work," said Brig. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, the Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard and Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard.

"At the same time, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to conserve training time and resources for both our state and federal missions. This policy focuses support from local units to local communities."

Color guards are expensive requiring a minimum of four Soldiers and additional training time and therefore are further restricted. Color guards in a paid status will be restricted to those in the unit commander's yearly training plan or to events of statewide or national impact.

In addition, Soldiers will be allowed to volunteer in a non-paid status for community relations support outside the 50-mile radius as long as the support falls within U.S. Army regulations. Soldiers could wear a U.S. Army dress uniform when they volunteer, but they would be responsible for any transportation costs and could not operate any Army equipment.

The policy allows the Illinois Army National Guard Chief of Staff to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. There are more general exceptions to the policy. For example, the Illinois Army National Guard's 144th Army Band has a statewide community relations mission and therefore will continue to support events throughout the state.

"We have about 50 facilities scattered throughout the state, so the vast majority of Illinois communities fall within 50 miles of one of our units," said Lt. Col. Brad Leighton, the Illinois National Guard public affairs director. "What we want to avoid is having Soldiers driving half-way across the state to support events. There is a process to grant exceptions when such support is in the best interest of the Illinois Army National Guard."

Additional guidance within the policy addresses safety and liability concerns in supporting community events and sets administrative deadlines to allow full review of certain community relations requests.

For example, Army National Guard helicopter static displays are expensive and already require full review by Illinois Army National Guard leadership as well as the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. To get that review completed, the Illinois National Guard public affairs office needs to have the request at least 90 days before the event.

Requests for the 144th Army Band must also be submitted a minimum of 90 days before the event or the request will not be supported.

"All Department of Defense community relations events are supported by existing training dollars. There is no separate funding for support to community events," Leighton said.

"Supporting community relations events benefits both the Illinois Army National Guard and our communities. Our Soldiers derive training value from supporting community events and we are also able to develop and strengthen relationships with our communities by being active locally. However, most of our Soldiers only get limited training time per year. There needs to be a good balance between community relations support and other training requirements."

View Online: http://readme.readmedia.com/Illinois-Army-National-Guard-institutes-new-Community-Relations-Policy/13861210

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Genesis First To Use New Stent

DAVENPORT, Iowa – July 18, 2016 – Dr. Nicolas Shammas and a catheterization team at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street inserted a new vein stent for the first time in the United States on Thursday, July 14.

Before Thursday at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Shammas said he would have used a stent designed for heart procedures and adapted it for use to open blood flow in the leg vein. Instead he became the first cardiologist in the U.S. to use the Bard Venovo venous stent specifically designed for leg veins.

Shammas was the third cardiologist in the world to use the Venova scaffolding in a clinical trial.

Julie Huffer, 43, of Bettendorf was the first patient.

She explained that she woke up on a morning last July with a left ankle "that looked like it had a doughnut around it.''

Several conditions were ruled out before Julie had an appointment with Dr. Shammas of Cardiovascular Medicine PC.  He told Julie he was almost certain he knew what the problem was. He diagnosed compression of a vein in her left leg and reduced blood flow, causing the pain and swelling.

Following the minimally invasive procedure on Thursday, Shammas said Julie should notice improvement in her symptoms.

"It was 95 percent restricted,'' Julie said of the vein’s blood flow a few hours after the procedure. "It already feels different to me. I was willing to do anything to get rid of the pain and swelling.  Dr. Shammas said I would be a good candidate for this

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2 – Genesis Team First In U.S. To Use New Stent

study and I wanted to do it. Studies like this are important for future patients.”

The past year has been a busy one for Julie. She and her husband, Frank, were married in October and have three children contributing to a hectic life. Because of the pain and swelling, Julie said she was sometimes challenged by routine day-to-day activities.

“I'm looking forward to getting back to feeling like myself again" said Julie.  

By Friday when she was discharged after one night from the hospital, Julie reported that her leg was feeling much better.

Shammas said the Venovo stent is the first designed specifically for opening leg veins. He said a range of sizes is available and the stent is flexible and should adhere well to leg veins.

"What we have been doing, using heart stents for leg veins, was not ideal. The procedure went perfectly,'' Shammas said.  "We're hopeful Julie will have a lot of relief from the swelling and pain.''

Reduced flow in leg veins can also cause ulcers and potentially dangerous clotting. Shammas said the condition is common.

Shammas has spent 25 years participating in research.  Innovation is a culture within Cardiovascular Medicine PC and the Genesis Heart Institute.  Genesis patients have access to a number of clinical trials and new techniques close to home.

Dr. Shammas has published more than 200 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters and presented at national and international meetings including the Middle East, Europe, and China. He has served as a reviewer and on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals. He has participated in more than 125 multi-center clinical trials.

Use of the Venovo stent is part of a research study.  Outcomes from use of the device are unproven and the device is not yet approved for general use in the United States. Some patients may not meet guidelines for use of the stent.  It is unknown whether patients will experience different or improved results compared to the use of devices and procedures now approved.

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RI Deer Applications Begin on Monday

 

 

Effective July 25, 2016 the City of Rock Island will begin accepting applications for the 2016/17 archery deer hunting season, as defined by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

 

Applications may be obtained from the front desk of the Police Department, Rock Island Parks and Recreation Office, or online at rigov.org. All potential hunters must return completed applications to the Police Department by 5pm, August 26, 2016, to be considered for a permit. With City approval, deer hunting will be permitted on a select number of sites.

 

Residents with questions regarding the Deer Management Program should contact Deputy Police Chief Jason Foy at (309) 732-2701.

 

All approved hunters will be required to attend a mandatory meeting scheduled for a later date. 

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BHC Students Car Order Textbooks Beginning Aug 25

 

 

Black Hawk College students can order their fall textbooks online beginning Monday, July 25.

 

For instructions or to order, go to www.bhc.edu/bookstore.

 

Students may use their financial aid in the bookstores Aug. 15 to Sept. 2 to purchase textbooks, school supplies, clothing, laptops/tablets, lunch vouchers and parking permits. Student parking permits cost $25 per semester and are required for all parking lots at both campuses.

 

 

Black Hawk College students can order their fall textbooks online beginning Monday, July 25.

 

For instructions or to order, go to www.bhc.edu/bookstore.

 

Students may use their financial aid in the bookstores Aug. 15 to Sept. 2 to purchase textbooks, school supplies, clothing, laptops/tablets, lunch vouchers and parking permits. Student parking permits cost $25 per semester and are required for all parking lots at both campuses.

 

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Excessive Heat Warning Remains In Effect

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF
DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL OCCUR.  THIS
COMBINATION WILL LEAD TO A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT
ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY.  DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS... STAY IN AN AIR-
CONDITIONED ROOM... STAY OUT OF THE SUN... AND CHECK ON RELATIVES
AND NEIGHBORS... ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE.  WHEN
POSSIBLE... RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING.  KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE.  WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND
HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS
IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS.  ANYONE OVERCOME BY
HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION.  HEAT STROKE
IS AN EMERGENCY... CALL 9 1 1.

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Illinois home sales, prices climb higher in June and first half of 2016

Homebuyer demand drove sales and prices higher in June and marked a strong first half of the year for the Illinois housing market, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in June 2016 totaled 18,593 homes sold, up 1.4 percent from 18,328 in June 2015. Year-to-date, home sales totaled 78,547 homes sold, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the first six months of 2015.

The statewide median price in June was $204,000 up 5.8 percent from June 2015 when the median price was $192,800. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The year-to-date median price was $183,174, a 7.3 percent gain.

“Sellers continue to reap the rewards of a summer market where buyers are choosing from a greatly diminished pool of properties,” said Mike Drews, GRI, president of Illinois REALTORS® and broker-associate with Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora. “The market dynamics we have experienced throughout the spring and early summer persist as the number of homes for sale struggle to keep pace with buyer demand.”

The time it took to sell a home in June averaged 55 days, down from 62 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 64,724 homes for sale, a 15.1 percent decline from June 2015 when there were 76,207 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.57 percent in June 2016, a decline from the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In June 2015 it averaged 3.98 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in June 2016 totaled 13,620 homes sold, up 2.1 percent from June 2015 sales of 13,342 homes. The median price in June 2016 was $242,500 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 4.6 percent from $231,900 in June 2015. Year-to-date home sales totaled 56,678, a 6.3 percent increase while the median price for the first half of the year averaged $222,500, a 6.0 percent increase.

“Another month of modest gains in both sales and prices,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “The outlook for the next three months suggests annual growth but the month-to-month changes in sales point to some potential declines in sales, but not prices.”

According to the data, forty-two (42) Illinois counties reported sales gains for June 2016 over previous-year numbers, including Tazewell County, up 26.1 percent with 227 units sold; McHenry County, up 16 percent with 680 units sold; and Cook County, up 0.1 percent with 7,137 units sold. Forty-eight (48) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Will County, up 7.4 percent to $210,000; Madison County, up 6.1 percent to $132,500; DuPage County, up 4.2 percent to $273,000, and Sangamon County, up 8.4 percent to $149,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 0.2 percent year-over-year home sales increase in June 2016 with 3,210 sales, up from 3,202 in June 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in June 2016 was $300,000, up 4.1 percent compared to June 2015 when it was $288,250. Year to date home sales totaled 13,953, a 4.1 percent increase compared to last year and the median price averaged $275,000, a 3.5 percent gain.

“Chicago homebuyers are having to work harder to find properties which meet their criteria and budget,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations at the Oakbrook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. “A combination of low mortgage rates and a limited number of properties on the market is pushing median prices higher, a continuation of a trend we have seen for much of the warm-weather selling season.”

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of July 7, 2016 for the period June 1 through June 30, 2016. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 44,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.  

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More Illinoisans Leave Labor Force

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate in June decreased 0.2 percentage points to 6.2 percent and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -2,200 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and IDES. The decrease in Illinois’ unemployment rate is largely due to a decline in the labor force. Job growth is still below the national average, with Illinois -51,500 jobs short of its peak employment level reached in September 2000.

“In June, Illinois experienced yet another exodus and over-the-year job growth is still at half the national rate,” Director Jeff Mays said. “As we do our part in expanding services that help jobseekers find work more quickly, structural reforms are necessary to get the state’s economy back on track.”

“We’ve lost more than 9,000 manufacturing jobs over the last year, and replacing those middle class jobs has been an uphill battle due to the high costs facing Illinois businesses,” Illinois Department of Commerce Acting Director Sean McCarthy said. “Manufacturing has been a critical part of our state’s economy, providing stable, good paying jobs for Illinois families. We need action on structural reforms to Illinois’ dysfunctional worker’s compensation, regulation, and tax systems to make our state competitive and bring solid middle class jobs back to Illinois.”

In June, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+3,000); Financial Activities (+1,700); and Other Services (+1,500). The two industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Educational and Health Services (-7,300) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-1,000).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +41,300 jobs with the largest gains in Leisure and Hospitality (+19,100); and Professional and Business Services (+16,700). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines in June include: Manufacturing (-9,100) and Information Services (-2,700). The 0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is less than the 1.7 percent gain posted by the nation in June.

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for June 2016, which increased to 4.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate stood 0.4 percentage points above the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 5.8 percent.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -4.1 percent from the prior month to 409,300, up +8.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force grew by +1.9 percent in June over the prior year, but decreased 0.5 percent over-the-month. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL). IJL recently showed that 55,995 resumes were posted and 173,330 help-wanted ads were available.

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Mid Morning in the Cities Lt. General Michael Flynn on Donald Trump and his new book

Lt General Michael Flynn made headlines on Monday with his speech touting Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. General Flynn is also a New York Times Bestselling author as his new book "The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War on Terror entered the bestseller list this week. General Flynn was my guest on Mid Morning in the Cities to talk about why he supports Donald Trumop for President and his thoughts on battling extremism in the Middle East. 

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Summertime Jobs and Income Taxes

Summertime jobs are a good thing for young people in particular and just about anyone in general.

For many young people, those summertime jobs are some of the very first real employment in their lives and that also means that just like everyone else, they will be required to file an income tax return and pay their share of taxes.

Michael Devine with the IRS in St Louis says accurate record keeping is essential as always…

Devine also says if anyone should receive an envelope from the IRS, don’t over think the situation, simply open the envelope and see what’s inside…

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IDOT In Motion


SPRINGFIELD – With construction season in full swing this summer, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) encourages you to sign up for the “IDOT in Motion” email subscription service to stay informed about projects in your area.

 

“We are constantly striving to better connect with you, our customers, to tell you about the work we are doing to improve Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “IDOT in Motion is a great way to keep up to date on projects happening in your community. It’s easy, it’s convenient and there is no charge to subscribe and receive regular updates through email.”

 

You can click here to subscribe to IDOT in Motion. Once you are on the IDOT in Motion page, select the email list for the IDOT highway district nearest you to receive the latest on upcoming and ongoing projects in your area.

 

In addition to construction alerts, you can receive updates on other IDOT programs and initiatives, including information on motorcycle safety, passenger rail and more. Approximately 8,000 people currently subscribe to IDOT in Motion.

529**16

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Hot Weather Tips

Springfield – As the summer continues to heat up across the state, it is important that community members continue to check on older persons who may be unable or unwilling to seek assistance. Heat-related illness can be life threatening, and health problems and isolation are factors that make older adults particularly susceptible to heat stress.

Older adults have a reduced capacity to perspire and are therefore more vulnerable to heat. As a result, people who do not perspire are not helped by fans; they must have air conditioning to recover from the accumulating effect of the heat. A few hours a day in air conditioning is extremely important to protect health and life.

“It’s important that we take care of each other within our communities. Excessive heat can be extremely dangerous for many people, especially older adults,” says Jean Bohnhoff, Director of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA). “I encourage people across the state to take the time to check in on the older adults in and around your community. Fifteen minutes out of your day could help save an older adult from serious effects of heat-related illness,” she continued.

Below are several facts and tips for dealing with excessive heat; these Hot Tips and other resources can also be found on theIDoA website:

 

WHAT IS A HEAT WAVE?

 

· Generally, a heat wave is three straight days of 90 degree temperatures or more with high humidity.

· Heat waves are the second leading cause of death among weather-related events.

 

WHAT IS A HEAT INDEX?

 

· High temperatures and high relative humidity determine the heat index.

· In summer, humidity makes it feel hotter. If the temperature is 90 degrees and the relative humidity is 80 percent, it will feel like it is 113 degrees. Your body will react to the 113 degree temperature.

 

 

 WHAT CAN BE DONE TO BEAT THE HEAT?

 

Some common sense tips for handling the heat include the following:

 

· Drink lots of water and natural juices (avoid alcoholic beverages, coffees and colas)

· Avoid going out into blazing heat whenever possible

 

· Avoid or minimize physical exertion

 

· Keep shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open

 

· Do not place tin foil over your windows as the room temperature will rise

 

· Keep electric lights off or turned down

 

· Take frequent cool baths or showers and use cool towels

 

· Remain in air conditioning either at home or at a cooling center (1-2 hours in air conditioning can prevent a person from becoming ill)

 

· Wear loose clothing

 

· Do not eat heavy meals (eat small meals and eat more often)

 

· Avoid using cooking ovens

 

· Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician

 

· If you are taking medications, check with your pharmacist or your doctor on any side effects that heat may contribute to

 

· Check on family members, friends and neighbors

 

· Take the heat seriously; do not ignore danger signs like nausea, dizziness and fatigue

 

 

If you or anyone you know needs medical attention, call 911 or the local Police Department immediately.

 

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Redistricting Proposal Booted Off Ballot

Opponents of a voter referendum that would change the way Illinois builds its political boundaries win a round on the ongoing tug of war. Cook County Judge Diane Larsen ruled the November referendum is unconstitutional and booted it from the ballot. The Independent Map Amendment is expected to appeal the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court. The Independent Map Amendment has called for creation of an 11-member commission to oversee drawing of political boundaries. Governor Rauner expressed his disappointment in a statement.
“Today's ruling is a harsh reminder that the political system in Illinois is in need of major reforms. I hope the decision to deny voters the chance to consider the Independent Map redistricting referendum is appealed and reversed.
“Independent redistricting is badly needed in our state. A stunning two-thirds of incumbents will be running unopposed in November. That’s certainly not because the politicians in charge are doing such a good job in Springfield. It means the system is broken.
“Legislators in power could have placed the Independent Maps referendum directly on the ballot and avoided this court decision. Instead, they chose to play politics in an effort to protect their own power.
“That is wrong.
“We have it backwards in Illinois. Voters should be able to choose their elected officials through an independently-drawn map that ensures competitive elections. Instead, we have politicians choosing their voters, putting politics ahead of people.
“Independent Maps has strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. It has strong support from non-partisan good government groups. So this ruling is a definitely a setback for the people of Illinois.
“If this decision remains in place, it will prove that we need to put political reform at the top of our legislative agenda. We need to fix our broken political system to ensure taxpayers win instead of the insiders.”

 

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IEMA Issues Grants


Grants will help 120 cities, counties prepare for emergencies

 

SPRINGFIELD – Grants totaling $4 million awarded by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will help 120 accredited city and county emergency management agencies throughout Illinois support local disaster preparedness and response efforts.

 

“Every emergency begins and ends at the local level, and local emergency management agencies are key components of that response and recovery,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “These grants will allow them to continue efforts to ensure the safety of the residents in the communities and counties they serve.”

 

The Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) are funded through a grant IEMA receives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The grants, which are awarded annually, can be used for day-to-day operations of local emergency preparedness and response programs. Award amounts were determined by a base amount plus population-based formula prescribed by administrative rule. 

 

County and municipal emergency management agencies receiving the grants include:

 

EMA

FFY 16 Allocation

 

EMA

FFY 16 Allocation

Adams County

27,550.17

 

Clay County

14,840.00

Alexander County

11,610.00

 

Clinton County

21,767.43

Aurora, City of

53,328.46

 

Coles County

18,168.75

Bond County

2,317.23

 

Cook County

447,235.69

Boone County

25,000.24

 

Crawford County

7,244.66

Bureau County

21,218.73

 

Cumberland County

8,891.00

Calhoun County

4,739.62

 

De Kalb County

35,050.74

Carbondale, City of

19,429.97

 

Des Plaines, City of

25,827.82

Carroll County

17,357.59

 

De Witt County

17,588.98

Centralia, City of

5,493.41

 

Douglas County

18,262.82

Champaign County

53,955.57

 

Du Page County

157,969.75

Chicago, City of

545,594.03

 

Du Quoin, City of

15,529.02

Christian County

18,157.72

 

East St. Louis, City of

19,647.54

Clark County

17,544.42

 

Edgar County

17,986.11

Effingham, City of

16,754.70

 

Mc Lean County

47,745.54

Effingham County

18,643.97

 

Menard County

16,829.00

Elmhurst, City of

20,227.36

 

Mercer County

17,563.94

Evanston, City of

29,005.26

 

Metropolis, City of

15,613.37

Fairview Heights, City of

8,457.83

 

Monroe County

20,820.43

Fayette County

18,688.51

 

Montgomery County

20,258.12

Flora, City of

7,568.32

 

Morgan County

21,330.88

Ford County

7,289.40

 

Moultrie County

17,250.97

Franklin County

22,121.97

 

Mt. Vernon, City of

17,335.90

Fulton County

20,590.63

     
 

...

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Genesis Health System "Most Wired" For 13th Straight Year

For the 13th consecutive year, Genesis Health System has been named Most Wired by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine based on the use of information technology to accomplish key goals, including safety, quality and efficiency.

In addition, Genesis was one of only 19 providers nationally earning Most Wired Advanced recognition. Genesis met criteria for Most Wired Advanced in all areas of the Most Wired Survey.

Genesis Health System is the only Iowa hospital or health system to be recognized as Most Wired 13 consecutive years.

Genesis has consistently adopted innovative technologies to accomplish key goals of safety, patient outcomes and quality of care.

According to the 18th Annual Health Care’s Most Wired survey, Most Wired hospitals are using telehealth to fill gaps in care; provide services 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week; and expand access to medical specialists.

Rob Frieden, Genesis vice president of information services, said many of the information technology enhancements of the past year were more visible internally than externally, but with the opening of the expansion and renovation project in the next year; new technologies will be more visible to patients.

2 – Genesis Is Most Wired For 13th Consecutive Year

“One of the advancements patients will notice is ‘smart rooms’ that combine technologies that in the past were disparate systems that weren’t coordinated,’’ Frieden said.  “Patients, for example, will be able to see on a smart screen that a healthcare provider is entering their room and what the credentials of that provider are.

“They will be able to order movies, meals and entertainment in their rooms.

“Pump integration will allow physicians to write orders for pumps and safely control the drug and flow of that drug remotely to add another level of patient safety and create efficiencies.’’

Frieden said Genesis continues to expand its use of telemedicine.  Patients can be at one location and have an appointment with a physician remotely. Genesis is using telemedicine in with behavioral health patients and patients of Genesis VNA.

Most Wired hospitals are also using technology to build patient engagement with the individual’s lifestyle in mind, which includes electronic access to their care team.

Genesis has continued to expand the reach of MyGenesis, a patient portal allowing patients to have convenient access to their health records through a secured website.  No matter where a Genesis patient may be, they can have access to their health records, including medication records and records from previous physician appointments and hospitalizations.

The MyGenesis portal for access to the physicians of Genesis Health Group is connected with 20,625 patients.  The MyGenesis portal for access to Genesis hospitals has a reach of 11,864 patients.

Genesis also has aligned with the Iowa Health Information Network, making patient records and information available wherever a patient seeks treatment in Iowa. Hospitals and health systems participate by making the records accessible in a secured database.

Health Care’s Most Wired Survey asked hospitals and health systems
nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives.  Respondents completed 680 surveys, representing more than 2,146 hospitals, or more than 34 percent of U.S. Hospitals.

“We continue to move toward a seamless and secure approach to medical records, which makes health care safer, more convenient and less stressful for patients,’’ Frieden said.


3 – Genesis Is Most Wired For 13th Consecutive Year

The nation’s Most Wired hospitals and health systems demonstrate better outcomes in patient safety, risk-adjusted mortality rates and other key quality measures through the use of information technology, according to analysis.

"Our focus is always patient safety and quality of care,'' Frieden said.  "Will the new technology make our patients safer? Will it provide them with a
better patient experience?

"And finally, will the new technology also create efficiencies for our caregivers and staff?''

The Most Wired winners are featured in the July edition of Hospitals and Health Networks (H&HN) magazine, the publication of the American Hospital Association.

About Genesis Health System
Genesis Health System, its affiliates and partners offer a full continuum of health care services in a 12-county region of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Our affiliates include: acute and tertiary hospital care at Genesis Medical Centers in Davenport, DeWitt, Iowa, Silvis, Ill., and Aledo, Ill.; home health and hospice services through Genesis VNA and Hospice; Genesis Workplace Services, including occupational health, employee assistance program and wellness services for employers and their employees; the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House; senior living communities offering rehabilitation and long-term care; Genesis Health Group, with more than 170 primary care physicians and specialists; the Genesis Quad Cities Family Medicine Residency Program; Genesis Psychology Associates; three Convenient Care clinics; and Genesis Home Medical Equipment.  Partners include the Genesis Medical Park, Crow Valley and Spring Street Surgical Center, Davenport. Genesis Health System also manages Jackson County Regional Health Center, Maquoketa, Iowa.  For more information, visit our Web site at www.genesishealth.com.
 

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Beating The Heat: Tips From Genesis

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Each year in the United States, as many as 400 deaths are attributed to excessive natural heat.  Many of the deaths are preventable.

Genesis Medical Center emergency physician David Dierks, D.O., offers these tips to avoid being a victim of the heat:

• Stay out of the heat when possible. The young and old are particularly vulnerable. People with other chronic conditions, for example, heart disease, mental health conditions, asthma and high blood pressure are at higher risk for heat illnesses.

• If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, visit friends or relatives, go to a cool public place like a shopping area or the library. You are welcome to visit the Genesis Medical Center campuses for relief. 

• Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently.

• Check on elderly and sick friends, neighbors and relatives several times a day during a hot spell. Invite them to your home if you are concerned about their safety.

• Drink plenty of water, particularly when exercising or working outdoors. One guideline is 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of outdoor activity.

• When possible, complete outdoor work either early in the day or late in the day.

• If you go out to walk, job or bike, take a "buddy" so that if you get into trouble, help is close by.

• Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks. Both act as diuretics and speed up the loss of fluid.

• Make sure children take breaks from outdoor activity.  Take a break from outside activity during the hottest part of the day to play games, or watch a movie together inside.

• Take care of your skin if you are outdoors.  Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat.  Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you are swimming.

• Seek shade or air conditioning if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous.

• Seek medical treatment immediately if you are disoriented, have a high body temperature, are vomiting, or have stopped perspiring.

• Make certain you don’t leave small children or pets in a vehicle.  Temperatures can rise quickly to fatal ranges. One tip is to put something vital to your day in the back seat with a child, including a phone, a shoe or work materials.

What to Watch For

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal, or is likely to be rising.

Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing.  Body temperature can be  105 degrees F or higher.  If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.
 

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BHC receives $12,000 adult literacy grant from Dollar General


Black Hawk College’s Adult Education & Literacy Department recently received a $12,000 adult literacy grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The grant is part of more than $7.1 million awarded to 900 schools, nonprofits and organizations in the 43 states that Dollar General serves.

Black Hawk College Adult Education & Literacy classes provide students with basic academic skills that assist them in transitioning to employment, training and post-secondary education.

“The grant will greatly enhance the opportunity for adult education and literacy students to advance both professionally and academically,” said Bianca Perkins, director of adult education at Black Hawk College.

“We are honored to have been chosen as one of this year’s grant recipients,” Perkins said.

Black Hawk College Adult Education & Literacy classes are offered at no cost to students and are conducted in a variety of locations in Kewanee, Aledo and the Quad Cities. A new session will begin Tuesday, Aug. 9.

For more information, call 309-796-8216 or visit www.bhc.edu/adulted.

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Veteran's Identifier


(Springfield, IL)... Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive "Veteran" on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized," said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

At the 98th Annual American Legion Department of Illinois Convention in Springfield last Friday (7/15/2016), Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license.

In order to receive that designation, veterans of the Guard and Reserve are required to present a copy of their certificate of release or discharge from initial active duty, certified and stamped by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), to the Secretary of State. Prior to receiving this stamp they must provide documentation of satisfactorily completing the time for which they were contracted to attend monthly drills and annual training. Presentation of one of the following documents will be accepted as proof of service:

1. Army or Air National Guard NGB 22 Report of Separation and Record of Service

2. Army Reserve DARP FM 249-2E Chronological Statement of Retirement Points.

3. Navy Reserve NRPC 1070-124 Annual Retirement Point Record

4. Air Force Reserve AF 526 Point Summary Sheet

5. USMC Reserve NAVMC 798 Reserve Retirement Credit Report

6. Coast Guard CG 4175 Coast Guard Reserve Annual or Terminal Statement of Retirement Points.

Veterans are encouraged to contact or visit a local IDVA office for assistance obtaining any of the above documents. To find the closest Veteran Service Officer (VSO) go to www.illinois.gov/veterans or call 800-437-9824.

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IL Delegates, Protesters and the RNC

Illinois' 69 delegates are among the thousands of people in Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention. Protesters also will be on hand, voicing concerns over the Republican platform and the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. 

In light of the recent tensions involving police and communities around the country, experts say it's important that demonstrators know their rights and their obligations. According to Michael Benza, senior instructor of law at Ohio's Case Western University, all people have a First Amendment right to protest and march.

"Where the problems come in," Benza explained, "is when their exercise of their rights to protest start to either interfere with other people's ability to go about their daily lives, or start to impeded law enforcement's ability to control the situation and keep everybody safe."

A 1.7 mile event zone is set up downtown with security restrictions. It includes a designated speaker's area, a parade route for those with a permit, and two parks for protests and displays. About 2,500 police officers from other states will be joining Cleveland police in patrolling the city during the RNC.

Protesters are only obligated to answer a question from a police officer if they are suspected of a crime, Benza said, and only need to show a photo ID if driving a vehicle. Furthermore, police can only perform a search if a person gives consent or there is a search warrant or probable cause. Benza also emphasized that citizens have a right to record police.

"They cannot tell you, 'Turn off your recording.' They can't ask you, 'Why are you recording?' They can't ask who you are to do the recording," Benza said. "They are simply to allow you to do that recording."

Cleveland officials have developed plans to respond to the possibility of mass arrests including designated jail facilities and extended court hours.

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HUD Awards Grants

 

       WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $75 million to help families living in public housing and those participating in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Programconnect with services to further their education, find good jobs, and to set them on a path to self-sufficiency. Nearly $2.9 million was awarded to assist low income residents in Illinois receive job training and employment opportunities.  Read more about the local impact of the grants announced today.

       Funded through HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), these grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with social service agencies, community colleges, businesses, and other local partners to help public housing residents and individuals participating in HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program  advance their education or gain marketable skills that will help them get a job or advance in their current workplace. As of Fiscal Year 2015, recipients of Project-Based Rental Assistance are also eligible to participate in the program. 

       “Connecting folks to jobs is an important part of HUD's mission as the Department of Opportunity,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “By linking people to computer access, job training, childcare, and ultimately financial empowerment, these grants help people who are ready to compete and succeed in the workplace. HUD is proud to give them these tools for self-sufficiency.” 

       “This funding will help individuals and their families access empowering resources to reach their full-potential,” said Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator.

       HUD’s FSS Program helps local public housing authorities hire service coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. These Service Coordinators build relationships with the network of local service providers so as to more effectively serve the residents. The program encourages innovative strategies that link public housing and Housing Choice Voucher assistance with other resources. This broad spectrum of services will enable participating families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.

       Participants in the program sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the FSS family is receiving cash welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term. Families in the FSS program have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family's escrow account is based on increases in the family's earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including improving credit scores, paying educational expenses, or a down-payment on a home.

       The Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among participants. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research issued Evaluation of FSS Program: Prospective Study in 2011 that evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program. Conducted from 2005 to 2009, the study showed that financial benefits are substantial for participants who remain in and complete the program. An earlier study found that individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program. HUD is currently conducting a longitudinal study on the program, with the first set of results expected in 2018.

###

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at 
www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov

You can also connect with HUD on 
social media and follow Secretary Castro on 
Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.

ILLINOIS

AMOUNT

Housing Authority of the City of East St. Louis

$69,000

Chicago Housing Authority

$796,565

Peoria Housing Authority

$98,210

Springfield Housing Authority

$236,000

Housing Authority of Henry County

$91,977

Madison County Housing Authority

$69,000

Rock Island Housing Authority

$65,000

Rockford Housing Authority

$200,961

Housing Authority of Joliet

$63,898

Housing Authority of Cook County

$184,800

Waukegan Housing Authority

$50,819

Menard County Housing Authority

$29,160

Housing Authority of the City of Freeport

$69,000

St. Clair County Housing Authority

$34,500

Kankakee County Housing Authority

$43,280

Macoupin County Housing Authority

$42,616

Housing Authority of the City of Bloomington

$51,782

Housing Authority of the County of Lake

$222,561

Marion County Housing Authority

$44,747

Winnebago County Housing Authority

$132,936

Housing Authority of the City of Elgin

$136,000

DuPage Housing Authority

$114,114

 

$2,846,926

 

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Where Does Gov. Rauner Stand on Trump?

Some Illinois residents are wondering where Governor Bruce Rauner stands on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. As Trump prepares to speak to the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Illinois voters are asking whether the state's Republican governor supports the GOP front-runner. 

While Rauner has neither directly endorsed nor rejected Trump, Jake Lewis, campaign director with the liberal group Illinois Working Together, said the governor's recent track record speaks loudly.

"The governor has said that he would be supporting the Republican nominee," Lewis said. "He's also donated millions of dollars to the Illinois Republican Party, which is helping to support Trump delegates. He's made it clear in both his words and his actions that he is supporting Donald Trump for president."

Like several other Republican leaders from around the country, Rauner is skipping this week's GOP convention without saying why. The governor told reporters he would instead be traveling around Illinois to meet with "community leaders, business leaders and some legislators."

It matters who Rauner supports in the upcoming presidential election, Lewis argued, because Trump has run a divisive campaign that goes against the interests of immigrants and labor groups. Lewis said Rauner's support for the candidate should be a concern for Illinois voters.

"When it comes to such an important decision," he said, "the governor has a responsibility to be clear and direct with the people of Illinois and he simply has refused to do that."

Lewis' criticism comes on the heels of comments from the head of Illinois' Republican Party, Tim Schneider, who told a crowd of Illinois delegates on Monday that the state is unifying behind Trump.

More from Jake Lewis is available at illinoisworkingtogether.org.

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Sen Kirk Measure Seeks to Help Air Travelers


Hours-long wait times at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports this Spring demonstrated unacceptable performance by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and jeopardized the safe and efficient travel that American families rightfully expect. To address TSA’s shortcomings, this week, the Senate passed the bipartisan, H.R. 636, Federal Aviation Administration Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, in an overwhelming 89-4 vote, sending my priorities to optimize TSA to the President’s desk.

To optimize TSA screening checkpoints, the bill requires the use of canine explosive detection teams, all- trained personnel for passenger screening and document verification positions, and enhanced screening for any airport worker who has unescorted access to sensitive areas of airports. The enhanced screening includes vetting applicants against the terrorist database. These improvements build on the work I did earlier this year in the fiscal year 2017 Senate Homeland Security Appropriations bill to provide funding for 1,047 canine teams and direct them towards the busiest airports, like O’Hare and Midway.

In the wake of recent airport terrorist attacks abroad and identified weakness here at home, we must ensure the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the FAA, local airport authorities and the airlines do everything possible to provide air travel that is safe, secure, and efficient for all Americans.

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Iowa Heading Into Peak Blue-Green Algae Season

Toxic blue-green algae outbreaks that are harmful to humans and pets aren't limited to Florida where a state of emergency has been declared. 

It also can show up in Iowa's ponds, lakes, streams, rivers and other waterways. 

While this year may not reach 2015's record number of closings, so far algae warnings have been issued for about a half-dozen state ark beaches. 

"The latter part of the summer, when we don't have as much rainfall and when we tend to have higher temperatures, are when we see the greatest number of algae blooms," says Susan Heathcote, water program director for Iowa Environmental Council.

Heathcote says toxins in blue-green algae can cause rashes through skin contact, liver problems if swallowed, and respiratory problems if water droplets get into the lungs.

The algae looks like spilled green paint and can give off a nasty odor, which keeps most humans from swimming in or around it. 

But Heathcote points out often, dogs don't know any better.

"They're not repelled necessarily by the odor and the appearance of the water and dogs will jump in and swim and they often will ingest the water," she explains. "And so there are a lot of cases of dogs being poisoned by the cyanotoxins."

Heathcote says the best thing to do if dogs have been in contact with blue-green algae is to rinse them off with clean, fresh water.

The blooms are mostly caused by phosphorous from agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment around certain cities. 

Heathcote says while there are programs in place to reduce those compounds in runoff, the blooms can still happen.

"We have a nutrient reduction strategy in Iowa and we're trying to target practices in both our urban and agricultural areas to try to hold that phosphorus, keep it on the land and prevent it from running off with rainfall," she states.

To report possible cases of algae bloom, call the Iowa Department of Public Health at 800-972-2026.
 

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Tiny Wasps Helping Save Trees in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has introduced tiny, parasitic wasps to combat the invasive emerald ash borer as it continues to threaten the more than 50 million ash trees in the state. 

The emerald ash borer has appeared in one-third of the counties in Iowa this summer. Insecticides can kill them off, but according to Laura Jesse, director of the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic with Iowa State University, the wasps can attack emerald ash borers before they even hatch.

"The female wasp lays her eggs on it and then the larva hatches, moves in and feeds internally and then emerges," Jesse explained. "Kind of think of the movie 'Aliens' is how it works with parasitic insects."

Because they were just introduced this summer, the wasps won't get rid of emerald ash borers right away. But they are part of a long-term management program.

Jesse said the wasps could help reduce the use of insecticides in the future, which could be a benefit in many ways.

"Maybe, you know, in the future we can back off and we don't need to treat the trees as often," Jesse said, "you know, maybe every three, four, five years. So things like that are huge not only monetary savings but savings of putting the chemical out in the environment."

The wasps, which are the natural enemies of emerald ash borers, are not harmful to humans or the trees themselves. And, Jesse said, they'll most likely go unnoticed.

"The emerald ash borer adult is the size of a head of Lincoln on the penny," she said. "So, you can imagine that any wasps that feed inside of it - you could see them, but think more of like tiny, tiny ants with wings would be the size. Not something that you're going to readily see."

Several thousand of the sting-less, parasitic wasps were introduced near Fairfield this summer, the first release of the insects in Iowa.

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Stay Informed Through "IDOT in Motion"

With construction season in full swing this summer, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) encourages you to sign up for the “IDOT in Motion” email subscription service to stay informed about projects in your area.

“We are constantly striving to better connect with you, our customers, to tell you about the work we are doing to improve Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “IDOT in Motion is a great way to keep up to date on projects happening in your community. It’s easy, it’s convenient and there is no charge to subscribe and receive regular updates through email.”

You can click here to subscribe to IDOT in Motion. Once you are on the IDOT in Motion page, select the email list for the IDOT highway district nearest you to receive the latest on upcoming and ongoing projects in your area.

In addition to construction alerts, you can receive updates on other IDOT programs and initiatives, including information on motorcycle safety, passenger rail and more. Approximately 8,000 people currently subscribe to IDOT in Motion.

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Six Red Cross Tips to Stay Safe When Temperatures Soar

Dangerously hot weather is predicted for our area, and the American Red Cross reminds everyone of the steps they should take to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

“The forecast over the next couple of days includes hot and humid conditions and dangerous heat index values,” said Lyn Hruska, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region. “Excessive heat and humidity is a dangerous combination and can quickly lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

The Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

o   Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.


o   Slow down, take frequent breaks and drink more water than usual – even if you’re not thirsty.


o   Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.


o   If working outdoors, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.


o   Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.


o   If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.


LEARN MORE
The free Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to expert heat safety tips. Users also have the option of receiving alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App has steps pet owners should take to help keep their furry friends safe during hot weather. People can find the apps in their app store by searching for American Red Cross and at redcross.org/apps.

People can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED or Advance Child Care Training course. A variety of online and in-class options are available. Course and registration information is available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

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Davenport Police Investigating Officer Involved Shooting

Davenport Police officers fired on a vehicle during a shots fired investigation late Monday night. According to Davenport Police, officers were dispatched to 1300 Ripley Street jusy after 11:30 Pm to investigate a shots fired call. At the scene officers identified a vehicle involved in the shooting and began pursuit. After stopping the suspect vehicle in the area of 1600 Rockingham Road, the suspect vehicle rammed the police car causing the officers. to discharge their weapons at the vehicle. Not long after the vehicle fled the scene, officers were called to Genesis Medical Center on a report of a suspect with a gunshot wound. The suspect was the driver of the vehicle in question who had suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The names of the suspects as well as the officers involved in the shooting are not being released at this time. Davenport Police are continuing to investigate the case. 

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Carb It Up Dinner

Genesis Health System and the Davenport RiverCenter are hosting "Carb It Up," a pasta dinner on the night before the Quad-City Times Bix 7.

Dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, July 29 in the upper concourse of the RiverCenter overlooking Quad-City Times Bix 7 race packet pickup.

Dinner price is $10 for adults and will include a pasta bar, two sauces, salad, breadsticks, drink and dessert.  Kids 10-and-under will receive macaroni and cheese, breadsticks, a dessert and drink for $5.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Genesis Heart Institute.

Reservations are not required.

For more information, call (563) 421-9267.

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Grassley Questions Paid Leave

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is insisting on answers from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General on why that office has employees who have been on paid administrative leave for significantly longer than any other agency, including nine employees on administrative leave for more than one year since fiscal year 2014, costing more than $2.1 million.  Two of these employees have been on administrative leave for more than 7,000 hours -- approximately three-and-a-half years. 

“Given OIG’s extensive use of administrative leave, including employees who have been on administrative leave for significantly longer than any other agency, it is imperative that OIG justify the use of such leave and provide information to the Committee on its policies regarding the use of such leave,” Grassley wrote to Inspector General John Roth.  “This is both an unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ dollars and unfair to these employees whose careers have been left in limbo without any recourse.”

Grassley has been battling the extensive use of paid administrative leave throughout the government, working to get details on why employees are on paid leave.  Some agencies have not been forthcoming with details, a source of frustration when public interest is at stake.  Grassley has found that some agencies use paid administrative leave to avoid making decisions on employment matters. Other times, agencies use paid administrative leave to sideline whistleblowers.  

Grassley is one of the authors of bipartisan legislation to better define the circumstances under which agencies may use paid administrative leave.  The legislation was approved by unanimous voice vote by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  “The goal is to make sure federal employees are working for taxpayers and not lingering on paid leave at taxpayer expense,” Grassley said. 

Grassley’s letter to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general is available here.  

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Mosquito Reduction Strategy


SPRINGFIELD  Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Director Alec Messina and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. today announced a plan to reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases in Illinois, like West Nile virus and Zika virus, by removing used tires from public and abandoned properties.

“Used tires threaten Illinois communities by increasing the risk of disease transmission,” said Illinois EPA Acting Director Alec Messina. “This collaborative effort between IEPA and IDPH will allow us to assist local governments most vulnerable to West Nile virus and the possible spread of Zika virus by removing prime breeding habitats for disease-carrying mosquitoes.”

Under the plan, Illinois EPA will remove used tires from certain locations across Illinois. The two agencies have divided the state into three priority zones for used tire removal. The zones are based on where Illinois would more likely see Zika virus, such as the southern counties that typically have hotter weather. Zone 1 is the highest priority area and is defined by a straight east-west line going through Effingham and areas south of that line. Zone 2 is the next highest priority area and is defined by a straight east-west line through Peoria south to the Effingham line. Zone 3 is the third highest priority area and is defined by the straight east-west line through Peoria north to the Wisconsin border.

Illinois EPA is identifying and initiating used tire removal actions for units of local government beginning in Zone 1. Illinois EPA will collect, transport, and properly dispose of used tires from public and abandoned properties. Additional activities planned by the Illinois EPA include close monitoring of regulated used tire sites located in Zone 1 and using larvicide to actively treat and mitigate known sources of improperly managed used tires.

In addition, the Illinois EPA and IDPH will enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement to allocate $750,000 from the Used Tire Management Fund. This funding will enable IDPH to enhance statewide mosquito control activities related to West Nile virus, Zika virus, and other mosquito-borne diseases through activities associated with the improper storage, handling, and disposal of tires. “Removing mosquito breeding sites is a core component of our mosquito abatement activities and a primary way to prevent the spread of diseases like West Nile and Zika viruses,” said IDPH Director Shah. “This plan is an excellent example of cooperation among state agencies that will protect Illinois and its communities.” 

Illinois EPA will announce collection locations and results at a later date. The Illinois EPA's Used Tire Program is funded by a $2.50 per tire fee that consumers pay when purchasing tires at retail. Illinois citizens produce more than 14 million used tires annually.

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