Saturday, December 12, 2009

Keys to job skills: WorkKeys could give key economic tool for Northwest Illinois


WorkKeys is a program that measures “real-world” skills by testing potential employees. The program aims to help educators by identifying gaps between student skills and employment needs and markets itself as a key

would cost no more than $30,000 to get WorkKeys off the ground. The main start-up costs are linked to software installation and obtaining the proper license to use the WorkKeys application.

Click on the following for more details on this story from the Journal-Standard:  Keys to job skills: WorkKeys could give key economic tool for Northwest Illinois - Freeport, IL - The Journal-Standard

WorkKeys is a proprietary product of ACT, a non-profit corporation known for its college testing services.  For more information on WorkKeys go to:  This program is available to students at McHenry County College and Elgin Community College.

Negotiations continue in response to Stephenson County Sheriff’s layoffs

An estimated 27 layoffs within the County Sheriff’s Office were approved,

now engaged in “impact bargaining” with the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Labor Committee (PBPA), which is the union that represents most of the employees in the sheriff’s office. These required negotiations are designed to address the impact of layoffs on both the employees that have been let go and those that remain, said County Board Chairman John Blum.

Doug Block, labor representative for the PBPA, said the union had initially hoped to avoid layoffs, and had offered to institute a pay freeze for sheriff’s office employees. However, freezing salaries would only have saved one or two jobs and the union decided against this course of action,

the jail’s capacity will be reduced from 216 beds to roughly 96.

Click on the following for more details:  Negotiations continue in response to sheriff’s layoffs - Freeport, IL - The Journal-Standard

Blog Count for the last 30 days: 1283 visits; 895 separate visitors.

The major increase was due to the NDK explosion,  There were 173 visits on Monday December 7, 2009, the date of the blast.
Since September 1, 2009:  2289 visits, 1303 separate visitors


Rates Are Low, but Banks Balk at Refinancing -


Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Mark Belvedere says his bank has refused to refinance his condo outside San Francisco, citing the property's lost value.


Published: December 12, 2009

Mortgage rates in the United States have dropped to their lowest levels since the 1940s, thanks to a trillion-dollar intervention by the federal government. Yet the banks that once handed out home loans freely are imposing such stringent requirements that many homeowners who might want to refinance are effectively locked out.

Some analysts believe rates could jump as high as 6 percent in the spring.

brokers’ group, proposed a federal program that would allow streamlined refinancings up to 175 percent of the median price in a local market. A quarter of the savings from the lowered payments would go into an escrow account to reduce the principal balance.

Click on the following to read this NY York Times article:  Rates Are Low, but Banks Balk at Refinancing -

Lake In The Hills Workers Agree to Give Back Raises

village's 33 Service Employees International members.  They had a 3 percent raise scheduled for the coming year but agreed to give it back last week.
"They understood what's happening to the community in this economy

Still unanswered is how the agreement may effect negotiations with the village's two locals of the Metropolitan Alliance of Police

Read more of the recession budget by clicking on the following:  FirstElectricNewspaper: LITH Workers Agree to Give Back Raises

Kane County jail wants inmates to pay health care fee


a request for the $10 fee to be added to each conviction or order of supervision for a criminal violation other than a petty or business offense.The measure is estimated to possibly collect up to $85,000 a year to help offset the more than $2 million annual costs for the county's medical care to defendants, Keaty said.

Click on the following for more details:  Kane jail wants inmates to pay health care fee :: Beacon News :: Local News

Letter to Editor: DeKalb spending suggestions

• Issue a moratorium on all land acquisition and start selling off land owned by the city

• Get rid of city employee magazine subscriptions, lunch allowances, uniforms for people in positions that are not public safety related, and other unnecessary extras.

• Slash car allowances for the city manager and all city administrators.

• Immediately eliminate the post-employment health care plan in its entirety,

• No more taxpayer-funded cell phones for city employees, with the exception of emergency personnel

• Discontinue taxpayer-funded health care for the mayor and aldermen. These are part-time jobs

Click on the following:  Letter: DeKalb spending suggestions | Daily Chronicle

Daily Chronicle Editorial: Fairness in redistricting

Collect 500,000 signatures of registered voters by May 2, 2010. The reason: Give the people an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to reform Illinois’ redistricting process.

Supporters include the Illinois League of Women Voters, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, Better Government Association and other reform groups.

Click on the following  for more details:  Our View: Fairness in redistricting | Daily Chronicle

Sycamore District 427 reimbursed for cybertheft


District 427 has been reimbursed by its insurance company after officials discovered about $300,000 missing from district coffers following unauthorized wire transfers earlier this year.

This summer, District 47 officials reported about $425,000 missing. However, some of the money was recovered and the unauthorized transfers were halted.

Click on the following for more details:  Sycamore District 427 reimbursed for cybertheft | Daily Chronicle

NDK’s official Response to the explosion and the business interruption

The following is taken from their web site at:


Explosion at a manufacturing plant of our affiliated company in U.S.
  - Report on the present situation on December 10, 2009 (local time) -

Dec 11,2009

   An explosion occurred at NDK Crystal Inc., our affiliated company in Illinois, U.S.A., at approximately 2:30 p.m., December 7, 2009 (local time). We report on the outline of the accident confirmed on December 10 (local time) and the expected impact on our future operations.

   We express our heartfelt condolences to the victim and sincere sympathy to the bereaved family. We are investigating the causes of this accident and will inform you of the conclusion of the investigation as soon as it is reached.

Outline of the accident and the situation of damage

(1) Date
Around 2:30 p.m., December 7, 2009 (local time)

(2) Site
Premise of NDK Crystal Inc.

(3) Situation of damage
An explosion at NDK Crystal Inc. destroyed parts of the production facilities at the plant and killed a man in a nearby area. Local officials have not confirmed any other injuries. No plant employees were injured.
NDK Crystal Inc. leases office space to an affiliate, NDK America, Inc., which sells NDK Group products. The office area of NDK America, Inc. is not badly damaged.

(4) Causes
Under investigation

(5) Amount of damage
We expect that the damage to NDK Crystal Inc.'s production facilities and plant building will have a negligible impact on our financial results for the year ended March 2010 because such facilities and plant building have almost been fully depreciated. At this time, we are unable to determine at this time the amount of damage to the physical structures.
We are unable to determine what claims may arise from the explosion. We are investigating all of the possible damages and losses.
The sum of the book value of NDK Crystal, Inc.'s inventory assets and that of the in-use fixed assets is about 50 million yen (as of the end of October).

(6) Resumption of production
To be announced


   The main product of NDK Crystal Inc. is synthetic quartz crystal. We believe we can maintain a stable supply of such products because we have sufficient stock and the volume of synthetic quartz crystal production at our Sayama plant (a plant in Japan) accounts for a large share of the total production by the NDK Group.

Dec 09,2009

   NDK Crystal Inc. and its family of companies wish to express their sorrow at the tragedy that occurred in Belvidere, Illinois at our plant on December 7. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim during this difficult time.

   We are thankful that there were no other serious injuries, including no injuries to our plant employees.

   Representatives of our company are working with officials to investigate the circumstances of this tragedy and we are thankful for the swift action and continued cooperation of area emergency teams and law enforcement. We are fully cooperating with all parties to assure that all the facts about the situation are known and appropriate action is taken.

   Our company's primary commitment is to safety and quality, and we will bring all our resources to bear to assure the nature of this incident is fully understood.

ACLU asks to block hiked lobbying fees collection


Jan. 1, the annual fee that most lobbyists must pay the secretary of state's office when they register, as required by law, jumps from $350 to $1,000.

the increase represents an unconstitutional tax on speech. The lawsuit asks U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall to block the state from collecting the additional amount from nonprofit organizations…..ACLU considers any amount above the cost of administering the act requiring lobbyists to register to be an unconstitutional tax on speech.

Click on the following for more details:  Daily Herald | ACLU asks to block hiked lobbying fees collection

Insurance covers Crystal Lake Elementary D-47 fraud loss


CRYSTAL LAKE – District 47 officials are expressing relief now that almost a half million dollars in missing funds has been replenished.

The district was reimbursed by its insurance company after discovering about $350,000 was missing this summer as a result of unauthorized wire transfers.

Cynthia Yates, a spokeswoman for the Chicago office of the FBI, confirmed in September that District 47 and Sycamore School District 427 were are part of a cybertheft investigation that the agency was undertaking.

That investigation is ongoing, she said Friday

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | Insurance covers D-47 fraud loss