Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Candlewick Lake drinking water concerns

Residents say they want to be reimbursed for dirty water, damages to homes


By Emily Waldron |

Published 08/16 2016 10:28PM

Updated 08/17 2016 08:59AM



During a board meeting Tuesday night, Candlewick Lake residents demanded repayment for the damages caused to some of their homes by dirty water.

The community’s water provider – Aqua America – came to the meeting to try to provide answers to residents.

Over a dozen residents got up to speak, asking questions about why they never received notice from Aqua about the wells needing repairs. Aqua says they sent out automated phone calls, however that is a service residents need to sign up for.

Many also wanted to know if there would be any kind of reimbursements on their water bills, or some kind of repayment to fix appliances in their homes that were ruined by the dirty water. Aqua openly stated that they will not be offering any reimbursements.

Residents in attendance said they pay anywhere from $100-300 per month for Aqua's water.

"They're not looking at compensating us,” said resident Tina Hamilton. “In fact, they have informed us that no, the price is going to keep going up."

Another woman says the dirty water could have forced her husband – who has stage 4 kidney disease – onto dialysis.

"I heard tonight that they were adding some sort of chemical to the water to counteract Iron, and my concern is, is that safe for my husband to drink? We weren't notified of anything being added to our water,” said resident Linda Manliguis.

The Candlewick Board says they're now looking into creating a committee of some kind to oversee Aqua's operations within the community in the future. They have not said whether they will consider switching from Aqua to another water provider.

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Jarid Funderburg appoint to RVC board

Rock Valley College Board of Trustees Fills Vacancy

Posted: Monday, August 15, 2016

Media Contact: RVC Public Relations, 815-921-4510

The Rock Valley College Board of Trustees this evening announced the appointment of Jarid Funderburg to the seat vacated by Frank Haney’s resignation, which was accepted by the board at its July 27, 2016, meeting.

Mr. Funderburg is the Executive Director of Growth Dimensions, a Boone County and Belvidere, Illinois economic development corporation.

Mr. Funderburg was sworn it at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on August 15, 2016, to fill the unexpired term. The seat will be open for election along with two other expiring terms in April 2017.

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  • Jarid Funderburg named to Rock Valley College Board of Trustees

  • By Corina Curry
    Staff writer

    Rockford Register Star

    By Corina Curry
    Staff writer

    Posted Aug. 16, 2016 at 3:26 PM
    Updated Aug 17, 2016 at 2:38 PM

  • |



  • ROCKFORD — Jarid Funderburg has replaced Frank Haney on the Rock Valley College Board of Trustees.
    Haney resigned in July to focus on his campaign for Winnebago County Board chairman.
    Funderburg is the executive director of Growth Dimensions, a Boone County and Belvidere economic development corporation.
    Funderburg was sworn in to fill Haney's unexpired term at a special meeting of the board on Monday.
    Funderburg's seat, along with two others, will be up for election in April 2017.
    Corina Curry: 815-987-1371;; @corinacurry

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AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying


WASHINGTON — Donald Trump's campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.

The revelation, provided to The Associated Press by people directly knowledgeable about the effort, comes at a time when Trump has faced criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It also casts new light on the business practices of campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Trump shook up his campaign organization Wednesday, putting two new longtime Republican conservative strategists as chief executive officer and campaign manager. It was unclear what impact the shakeup would have on Manafort, but he retains his title as campaign chairman.

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump's campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine's then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates' work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president's political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych's party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych's government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

The lobbying firms continued the work until shortly after Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, during a popular revolt prompted in part by his government's crackdown on protesters and close ties to Russia.

Among those who described Manafort's and Gates's relationship with the nonprofit are current and former employees of the Podesta Group. Some of them spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details about the work and because they remain subject to non-disclosure agreements.

Gates told the AP that he and Manafort introduced the lobbying firms to the European Centre nonprofit and occasionally consulted with the firms on Ukrainian politics. He called the actions lawful, and said there was no attempt to circumvent the reporting requirements of the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The heads of both lobbying firms told AP they concluded there was no obligation to disclose their activities to the Justice Department. Manafort did not directly respond to AP's requests to discuss the work, but he was copied on the AP's questions and Gates said he spoke to Manafort before providing answers to them.

Political consultants are generally leery of registering under the foreign agents law, because their reputations can suffer once they are on record as accepting money to advocate the interests of foreign governments — especially if those interests conflict with America's.

Ironically, one of the lobbying firms Manafort and Gates worked with has strong Democratic ties.

The founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta, is the brother of longtime Democratic strategist John Podesta, who now is campaign chairman for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The head of Mercury, Vin Weber, is an influential Republican, former congressman and former special policy adviser to Mitt Romney. Weber announced earlier this month that he will not support Trump.

After being introduced to the lobbying firms, the European nonprofit paid the Podesta Group $1.13 million between June 2012 and April 2014 to lobby Congress, the White House National Security Council, the State Department and other federal agencies, according to U.S. lobbying records.

The nonprofit also paid $1.07 million over roughly the same period to Mercury to lobby Congress. Among other issues, Mercury opposed congressional efforts to pressure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych's political rivals from prison.

One former Podesta employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a non-disclosure agreement, said Gates described the nonprofit's role in an April, 2012 meeting as supplying a source of money that could not be traced to the Ukrainian politicians who were paying him and Manafort.

In separate interviews, three current and former Podesta employees said disagreements broke out within the firm over the arrangement, which at least one former employee considered obviously illegal. Podesta, who said the project was vetted by his firm's counsel, said he was unaware of any such disagreements.

A legal opinion drafted for the project for Mercury in May 2012, and obtained by AP, concluded that the European Centre qualified as a "foreign principal" under the Foreign Agents Registration Act but said disclosure to the Justice Department was not required. That determination was based on the nonprofit's assurances that none of its activities was directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized by Ukraine's government or any of the country's political parties.

The Podesta Group's CEO, Kimberley Fritts, said the two lobbying firms had coordinated on the legal conclusion that disclosure was not necessary to the Justice Department.

"If counsel had determined FARA was the way to go, we would have gladly registered under FARA," she said in a statement to the AP. She said the nonprofit provided a signed statement affirming its independence from Ukraine's government.

People involved in the lobbying project offered contradictory descriptions of how it came about.

Podesta told the AP his firm worked closely with the nonprofit and with Gates simultaneously. But Podesta said Gates was not working for Yanukovych's political party and said Manafort was not involved.

"I was never given any reason to believe Rick was a Party of Regions consultant," said John Ward Anderson, a current Podesta employee who attended the meeting, in a statement provided by his firm. "My assumption was that he was working for the Centre, as we were."

Gates, in contrast, told AP he was working with Manafort and that both he and Manafort were working for Yanukovych's party.

Pointing to Manafort's involvement, Weber told AP that Manafort discussed the project before it began in a conference call with Podesta and himself.

The director of the European Centre, Ina Kirsch, told the AP her group never worked with Manafort or Gates and said the group hired the Washington lobbyists on its own. She said she had met with Manafort twice but said neither Manafort nor Gates played a role in its lobbying activities.

The center has declined for years to reveal specific sources of its funding.

Prosecutions under the Foreign Agents Registration Act are generally rare, although a former U.S. congressman, Mark Siljander, R-Mich., pleaded guilty in July 2010 to illegal lobbying under the law and obstruction of justice for his work with a charity in Khartoum, Sudan, that prosecutors said was suspected of funding international terrorism. Siljander served one year in prison.

Lobbyists in general prefer not to register under the foreign agents law because its requirements are so much more demanding, making their activities more open to public scrutiny.

The Justice Department, for example, requires those who register as lobbyists on behalf of foreign governments or parties to detail the home addresses of lobbyists and descriptions of all receipts, payments, political contributions and details about any lectures, emails, pamphlets or press releases they create.

Lobbying records filed in the U.S. Senate, in contrast, such as the ones describing payments to the Podesta Group and Mercury by the European Centre, are far less detailed.

The Justice Department's own published guidelines describe foreign political parties as covered under the law.

Podesta's firm has previously registered its activities with the Justice Department over its work for Albania, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Maldives, Moldova, Morocco, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Vietnam and others. Mercury has disclosed to the Justice Department its work on behalf of government interests in the Cayman Islands, Nigeria, Qatar, Somalia, Turkey, one of the United Arab Emirates, Uganda and others.


Associated Press writers Ted Bridis and Maria Danilova contributed to this story.

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Mapping Referendum may not be on ballot

Rauner: Mapping ballot measure may suffer term limits' fate in high court

Local Government

Karen Kidd | Aug 16, 2016

Contributed photo

No one knows which way the state's Supreme Court will rule on the pending Independent Map Amendment ballot measure, but the litigation could face the same fate as previous rulings about term limits, Gov. Bruce Rauner recently told reporters.

"Where the Supreme Court comes out on it ultimately, I really don't know,"  Rauner told reporters at the kickoff of the 2016 Illinois State Fair last week in Springfield. "It's not a good sign that the first court to rule used the same basis to throw out fair maps that they used to throw out term limits two years ago, saying that if a change that impacts the legislature is going to be on a constitutional referendum, it has to be passed and put on the ballot by the legislature itself. That's basically the outcome of their ruling."

The State Supreme Court, in the summer of 2014, denied a petition that sought review of an appellate court's ruling that a term-limit ballot initiative was unconstitutional.

Now the state Supreme Court is considering an appeal concerning the latest Independent Map Amendment measure that supporters want on November's ballot. The measure calls for the creation of a multi-stage redistricting process that would create an 11-member commission to create a new district map for the state.

The ballot measure is similar to the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment, known as "Yes for Independent Maps," a 2014 effort that didn't reach that year's November ballot after a Cook County judge ruled it was unconstitutional.

A challenge to the latest proposed Independent Map Amendment was filed in May in Cook County Circuit Court soon after the Independent Maps group filed its petition with state election officials. The petition contained twice as many signatures required to place the amendment on the November ballot.

The challenge, filed by plaintiffs tied to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Dist. 22), alleged the ballot question violates the state's Constitution, including safeguard provisions in Article XIV. The challenge also alleges the ballot question usurps the authority of the democratically elected General Assembly and the governor to enact redistricting legislation.

In July, a Cook County judge blocked the amendment from being added to the November ballot, which prompted supporters to assert that, if allowed to stand, such a decision would eviscerate the right of Illinois residents to propose constitutional reforms.

Rauner told reporters that he is focusing on the term-limits court outcome, even as he considers what the state Supreme Court might do in the Independent Map Amendment case. The two proposals have had similar court outcomes so far. "That's what they said about term limits," Rauner said. "That's the reason we are asking voters, the people of Illinois, to ask their legislators to vote for term limits to get it on the ballot. The people deserve to vote on this themselves. They deserve the same thing with fair maps. I'm worried that the Supreme Court may come out the same door that the lower court did; we don't know. But we've just got to stay the course and advocate for it."

The Independent Map Amendment ballot measure is among several reforms that Rauner is advocating, especially in the upcoming legislative session and despite the announced resignation of a key ally in the Assembly, State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Dist. 27). The senator said in an open letter on his website that his resignation will be effective Sept. 15.

"I think he's been a great legislator," Rauner said. "He will be missed, no question. That said, we have strong advocates in the General Assembly for what we are recommending for reform. Frankly, we have strong advocates in the Republican Caucus. We've got some strong advocates in the Democratic Caucus. Some of them are more quiet about it that they might otherwise be, but we've got advocates on both sides of the aisle. And I'm optimistic we'll get some good reforms done for the people."

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