Next Hearing Date is Tuesday, January 17 at 1:00PM at Belvidere Township Office.
ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on "The Greatest Show on Earth." The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.
The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.
"There isn't any one thing," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. "This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family."
The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami.
Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.
The circus, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and death-defying acrobats, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since the mid-1800s. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin. Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals.
By midcentury, the circus was routine, wholesome family entertainment. But as the 20th century went on, kids became less and less enthralled. Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds. The circus didn't have savvy product merchandising tie-ins or Saturday morning cartoons to shore up its image.
"The competitor in many ways is time," said Feld, adding that transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks — such as providing a traveling school for performers' children— are throwbacks to another era. "It's a different model that we can't see how it works in today's world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you've got all these things working against it."
The Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967. The show was just under 3 hours then. Today, the show is 2 hours and 7 minutes, with the longest segment — a tiger act — clocking in at 12 minutes.
"Try getting a 3- or 4-year-old today to sit for 12 minutes," he said.
Feld and his daughter Juliette Feld, who is the company's chief operating officer, acknowledged another reality that led to the closing, and it was the one thing that initially drew millions to the show: the animals. Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary.
In May of 2016, after a long and costly legal battle, the company removed the elephants from the shows and sent the animals to live on a conservation farm in Central Florida. The animals had been the symbol of the circus since Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882. In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year fight over allegations that circus employees mistreated elephants.
By the time the elephants were removed, public opinion had shifted somewhat. Los Angeles prohibited the use of bull-hooks by elephant trainers and handlers, as did Oakland, California. The city of Asheville, North Carolina nixed wild or exotic animals from performing in the municipally owned, 7,600-seat U.S. Cellular Center.
Attendance has been dropping for 10 years, said Juliette Feld, but when the elephants left, there was a "dramatic drop" in ticket sales. Paradoxically, while many said they didn't want big animals to perform in circuses, many others refused to attend a circus without them.
"We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants," she said. "We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role."
The Felds say their existing animals — lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes. Juliette Feld says the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.
Some 500 people perform and work on both touring shows. A handful will be placed in positions with the company's other, profitable shows — it owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, among other things — but most will be out of a job. Juliette Feld said the company will help employees with job placement and resumes. In some cases where a circus employee lives on the tour rail car (the circus travels by train), the company will also help with housing relocation.
Kenneth Feld became visibly emotional while discussing the decision with a reporter. He said over the next four months, fans will be able to say goodbye at the remaining shows.
In recent years, Ringling Bros. tried to remain relevant, hiring its first African American ringmaster, then its first female ringmaster, and also launching an interactive app. It added elements from its other, popular shows, such as motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. But it seemingly was no match for Pokemon Go and a generation of kids who desire familiar brands and YouTube celebrities.
"We tried all these different things to see what would work, and supported it with a lot of funding as well, and we weren't successful in finding the solution," said Kenneth Feld.
By Isaac Guerrero
ROCKFORD - Rockford would get a casino license, the state income tax would rise and dollars would flow to long-stalled capital projects at Rock Valley College and the city's airport if lawmakers approve a budget framework introduced in the Illinois Senate this week.
Legislators won't debate the plan, a package of 10 separate bills crafted by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, until the week after next.
There's hope, though, said Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, that the Senate deal has a legitimate chance of passage because it contains budget and government reforms sought by both Democrats and Republicans. It's also a package deal, Syverson said.
"Each bill has a poison pill in it," Syverson said. "So if one doesn't pass, none of them do. The reason for that is that there are things in these bills that everybody hates and things everybody likes. You're not going to get Democrats to support worker compensation reforms on its own and you're not going to get Republicans to support a tax hike on its own, but if you put all these things together, the hope is that you force a vote on all of it and we can move forward."
A stopgap budget bill would give the state authority to spend money through June 30. Another bill, if approved, would allow Illinois to sell $7 billion worth of bonds to pay down its $10 billion backlog of bills.
Additionally, the Senate proposals include an increase in the state income tax from 3 percent to 4.95 percent, minor pension reforms, school funding and worker compensation reforms, a phased-in minimum wage increase, a two-year property tax freeze and a bill that would make it easier for local governments to consolidate.
Another bill would ask voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution to establish term limits for legislative leaders but not rank-and-file lawmakers. Still other proposals would make it easier for state universities and community colleges to outsource work and streamline how they buy goods and services. A tax on sugary drinks may also end up in the proposals, Syverson said.
Here is how a few items in the Senate proposals would affect the Rockford area:
Syverson and Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee, are co-sponsors of a gaming expansion bill that is among the legislative proposals introduced in the Senate. Just like the perennial gaming expansion plans that are floated each year only to fall under their own weight, this one would give Rockford a casino license. Additionally, new casinos would be allowed in Danville, Lake County, Chicago and the south Chicago suburbs, and Illinois' horse racing tracks would be allowed to install slot machines.
The bill calls for five percent of revenue from a Rockford casino to be split among local governments as follows: 70 percent to Rockford; 20 percent to Winnebago County; 5 percent to Machesney Park; and 5 percent to Loves Park.
Rock Valley College
Expansion of gaming would provide funding for stalled capital projects, including millions of dollars Illinois owes Rock Valley College for improvements at its North Mulford Road campus. State aid is helping Rock Valley renovate and expand two classroom buildings, but Gov. Bruce Rauner froze capital funding July 1, 2015, as he and lawmakers could not agree on terms of a budget. The state owes Rock Valley $8.95 million in capital funding, said Beth Young, Rock Valley vice president and chief financial officer.
Budgetary woes also led the state to cut the level of operating cash it sends Rock Valley. The college is owed $9.4 million in state aid for fiscal 2016 and the current fiscal year. The series of bills introduced in the Senate this week, if approved, would resume the flow of operating cash and capital funding for higher education, Syverson said.
In 2014, then-Gov. Pat Quinn promised $16.5 million as the state's share of the $40 million jet repair and maintenance center at Chicago Rockford International Airport. Only about $1.5 million was paid to the airport. After Rauner froze the rest of the funding in 2015, several local banks stepped up to provide the airport with a bridge loan. The money ensured the project was finished on time, but the airport is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest every month. A budget deal is crucial to freeing up the state funding for the jet repair hub, Syverson said.
"Whether it's Rock Valley or at the airport, there are many important projects that have been held up," said Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford. "I expect any final budget resolution will allow these grants to be released so the state can fulfill its commitment."
John George Trump (August 21, 1907 – February 21, 1985) was an American electrical engineer, inventor, and physicist. He was a recipient of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's National Medal of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. John Trump was noted for developing rotational radiation therapy. Together with Robert J. Van de Graaff, he developed one of the first million-volt X-ray generators. He was the uncle of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
Following his father Friedrich's untimely death, John was financed through college, from bachelor to doctorate, by his brother Fred. He had joined their mother in real estate development and management while still in his teens (Elizabeth Trump & Son). Initially, the brothers tried working together building houses, but they had differing expectation. The brothers dissolved their partnership, and John pursued a career in electrical engineering.
Trump received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1929), his master's degree in physics from Columbia University, and his doctorate in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1933). He was a professor at MIT from 1936 until 1973.
During the war years, Trump switched from work on hospital X-ray machines to research into similar technologies with a more direct application to warfare, especially the development of radar. In 1940, he joined the newly formed National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), as technical aide to Karl Compton, President of MIT and the Chairman of the Radar Division.
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In 1942, Trump became Secretary of the Microwave Committee, a sub-committee of the NDRC. The head of the Microwave Committee was Alfred Lee Loomis, the millionaire physicist, who decided to create a laboratory. He selected a site for it, chose a suitably discreet and ambiguous title for it and funded the construction, until the Federal administration was set up. The new institution was the MIT Radiation Laboratory, or the "Rad Lab" to those in the know. The British were also working on radar, which they called Radio Direction Finder (RDF), and had started much earlier. Their Tizard Mission to the US showed how far ahead they were in some of the technologies, particularly the magnetron. The US decided to send a team to Britain to help coordinate the efforts of the two Allies. The unit was known as the "British Branch of the Radiation Laboratory" (BBRL) and operated as a department of Britain's Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern, in Worcestershire. From February 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, Trump was the Director of the BBRL. During this time, Trump also served in the Advisory Specialist Group on Radar, advising USAAF General Carl Spaatz on navigational radar, precision-bombing radar, and also defenses against the German radars found in their night-fighters and in their flak units. The systems included: Gee, Oboe, LORAN, H2X, MEW & SCR-584. Trump worked with all the leading British radar experts, including Sir Robert Watson-Watt, A.P. Rowe and Bernard Lovell. At the end of the war, Trump also had interviews with Germany's leading radar technicians. Trump received recognition for his war-work from both the United States and the United Kingdom.
John G. Trump married and he and his wife had three children: John Gordon Trump of Watertown, Massachusetts, Christine Philp of New London, New Hampshire, and Karen Ingraham of Los Alamos, New Mexico; and six grandchildren. His nephew Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016.
He returned to MIT to teach and lead research for three decades after the war. Trump died in Boston on February 21, 1985.
Trump received a number of awards including:
Above is from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Trump
By Alex Kotch
The Trump White House is going to be very, very Koch-y.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, billionaire industrialists and Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch made headlines by refusing to endorse a candidate. But ads in U.S. Senate races paid for by Koch-linked independent political groups hurt the image of Donald Trump's foe, Hillary Clinton, whom they criticized while associating Democratic Senate candidates with her. And the massive ground game of the Kochs' well-known political group, Americans for Prosperity, helped turn out thousands of Trump voters in battleground states.
From the time Trump picked his vice presidential running mate, Koch favorite Mike Pence, the brothers' influence on Trump World has grown ever stronger.
From transition team staffers to his cabinet, Trump has brought numerous Koch lieutenants and allies into his inner circle. His taunting of Marco Rubio for being a "puppet" of the Koch brothers is long gone. It's very likely that Trump is eager to work with Charles and David Koch, who represent exactly what Trump values most—wealth and power—which is also reflected in his potential Cabinet of billionaire executives. And though the Kochs may object to Trump's Islamophobia or other select viewpoints, they stand to add to their combined $88 billion through Trump's planned environmental deregulation, privatization, corporate tax cuts and other policies favoring the wealthy to be carried out by his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pick, who recently sued that agency; his secretary of state choice, the CEO of Exxon; his labor pick, a fast-food CEO who doesn't believe in the minimum wage; and others.
David Koch attended Trump's election night victory party. Then on Dec. 21, Trump had an informal chat with Koch at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida (where Koch is a member) about "preparations for his administration."
The Kochs' allies have been helping shape the Trump administration for some time. The liberal Center for American Progress's political arm found that one-third of Trump's transition team, which recommends Cabinet nominees, ambassadors and advisers to the president-elect, has ties to the Koch brothers. These transition team members include Trump mega-donors who are also part of the Koch political network, such as Rebekah Mercer, and employees of Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Institute for Energy Research.
Here's a look at some of the top Koch allies who'll be running the government very soon and what kinds of Koch-backed policies we can expect them to champion.
The Koch Brothers' Darling
The Kochs must have popped champagne when Trump announced that Mike Pence, the conservative governor of Indiana, would be his running mate. Pence is adored by the Kochs and their vast political donor network; Ken Vogel and Maggie Haberman described him in Politico as "among the best … messengers for this new Koch brand in a field of prospective [presidential] candidates who fit some portions of the brothers' political bent but not others." Pence has addressed a gathering of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs' most well-known political group that spends millions on elections each cycle opposing liberal policies and helping elect conservative Republicans. This year he planned to speak at one of the Kochs' donor seminars, where the brothers meet with uber-wealthy allies and pool their hundreds of millions of dollars for joint political spending, but canceled two weeks beforehand.
David Koch gave Pence's two gubernatorial campaigns $300,000. Americans for Prosperity ran ads supporting Pence, and the Republican Governors Association, to which Koch and Koch Industries have donated a combined $10.8 million since 2003, spent $4.2 million in 2012 and 2016 backing Pence.
Pence, who may be an even more powerful vice president than Dick Cheney, will be in prime position to advocate for the issues about which the Kochs care most, including corporate tax cuts, which he instituted in Indiana, and opposition to bailouts and market regulation. According to Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., Pence will be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy. And he'll preside over the U.S. Senate, over which Republicans have a narrow majority.
"Indiana is one big free market, [and] much like Koch Industries, Mike Pence … picks the right fights," said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster whose company has worked for Pence and for Americans for Prosperity. Conway became Trump's campaign manager last August and was recently named a "counselor to the president" who will help "effectively message and execute the Administration's legislative priorities and actions." Conway is also a board member of the Koch-aligned and Koch-funded Independent Women's Forum, which, The Nation reports, has pushed the Koch agenda.
Several of Pence's former staffers have gone on to work in the Koch political network, including Marc Short, who went from being Pence's chief of staff when Pence was a congressman to president of Freedom Partners, the Koch political operation's "central bank," which gives out enormous amounts of money to right-wing political spending groups. Short returned to advising Pence this summer when the governor joined Trump's campaign and will soon take a job in the West Wing, likely heading legislative affairs, according to the Washington Post.
Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Documents Subject to Public Disclosure
An exempt organization must make available for public inspection its exemption application. An exemption application includes the Form 1023 (for organizations recognized as exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)), Form 1024 (for organizations recognized as exempt under most other paragraphs of section 501(c)), or the letter submitted under the paragraphs for which no form is prescribed, together with supporting documents and any letter or document issued by the IRS concerning the application. A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for public inspection and copying its notice of status, Form 8871.
In addition, an exempt organization must make available for public inspection and copying its annual return. Such returns include Form 990 , Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-EZ , Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, Form 990-BL , Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons, and the Form 1065 , U.S. Partnership Return of Income.
A section 501(c)(3) organization must make available for public inspection and copying any Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, filed after August 17, 2006. Returns must be available for a three-year period beginning with the due date of the return (including any extension of time for filing). For this purpose, the return includes any schedules, attachments, or supporting documents that relate to the imposition of tax on the unrelated business income of the charity. See Public Inspection and Disclosure of Form 990-T for more information.
An exempt organization is not required to disclose Schedule K-1 of Form 1065 or Schedule A of Form 990-BL. With the exception of private foundations, an exempt organization is not required to disclose the name and address of any contributor to the organization.
A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for inspection and copying its report of contributions and expenditures on Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures. However, such organization is not required to make available its return on Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Nov-2016
Above is from: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/public-disclosure-and-availability-of-exempt-organizations-returns-and-applications-documents-subject-to-public-disclosure
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has agreed to provide disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion to veterans who had been exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The decision was quietly made public Thursday with a notice in the Federal Register, the government's official journal.
Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 days cumulative between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnosis and service information.
Outgoing VA Secretary Bob McDonald determined that there was "sufficient scientific and medical evidence" to establish a connection between exposure to the contaminated water and eight medical conditions for purposes of awarding disability compensation.
The estimated taxpayer cost is $2.2 billion over a five-year period. The VA estimates that as many as 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to the tainted water.
"This is good news," said retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, whose daughter Janey was born in 1976 while he was stationed at Lejeune. Janey died from leukemia at age 9. Ensminger now heads a veterans group, The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, which advocates for those seeking disability compensation.
"This has been a hard, long slog," said Ensminger, who says the government must go further in covering additional diseases. "This is not the end of the issue."
The new rule covers active duty, Reserve and National Guard members who developed one of eight diseases: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Parkinson's disease.
Documents uncovered by veterans groups over the years suggest Marine leaders were slow to respond when tests first found evidence of contaminated ground water at Camp Lejeune in the early 1980s. Some drinking water wells were closed in 1984 and 1985, after further testing confirmed contamination from leaking fuel tanks and an off-base dry cleaner. The Marine Corps has said the contamination was unintentional, occurring when federal law didn't limit toxins in drinking water.
Spurred by Ensminger's case, Congress in 2012 passed a bill signed into law by President Barack Obama extending free VA medical care to affected veterans and their families. But veterans were not automatically provided disability aid or survivor benefits. The issue has prompted lawsuits by veterans organizations, which note that military personnel in Camp Lejeune housing "drank, cooked and bathed" in contaminated water for years.
"Expanded coverage is making progress, but we also need to know whether the government may be purposefully leaving people out," said Rick Weidman, executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Affected veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune may now submit applications for benefits, once the rule is officially published Friday. Roughly 1,400 disability claims related to Lejeune are already pending, and will be reviewed immediately, according to the VA.