Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Immigration Jail in Rockford?





Posted Apr 25, 2017 at 10:36 AM Updated Apr 25, 2017 at 11:38 PM

By Cristina Gloria

I would like to express disappointment about how the immigration detention forum was handled April 17 at the YWCA. After attending, I question whether this public forum was intended to be an opportunity to hear from the sheriff about renting space for civil immigration detention in our jail and to answer questions from the public. If so, it did not meet that goal and it did not reflect the mission of the YWCA as it did not “promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity” to the attendees or the citizens of this community.

The members of the AAA & Latino American Voices feel that the presence of so many sheriff’s deputies dressed in bulletproof vests and carrying weapons was unnecessary, as well as the way they treated the forum attendees.

I have worked with law enforcement and have great respect for the work they do. However, the way that the deputies talked to us was as if we were criminal suspects or prisoners who were being lined up for a count. I was waiting to be asked to put my hands against the wall to be searched.

The audience at the meeting was made up of professionals, business owners and a few publicly elected officials. There appeared to be some deputies dressed as civilians in the audience taking up the already limited seating.

I perceived all of this as a technique to intimidate the people who were attending the forum. Why was this allowed in a facility of an organization that is promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity? Personally, I did not feel dignified by the presence of so many deputies, the ineptitude of the ICE officer and the final comments from state Rep. John Cabello.

Mr. Cabello did not demonstrate empathy at all and clearly demonstrated his “white male privilege” when he said that immigrants “should be afraid” and that they should “get legal.” I hope that the YWCA will invite Mr. Cabello to one of its workshops so that he may understand that his comments were completely inappropriate and reflected his lack of understanding of immigration issues.

As if they have any other option under the law or that only undocumented immigrants are deported. I know the YWCA does not have control over what he said, but the YWCA has the obligation to offer assistance to Mr. Cabello to understand how to speak thoughtfully to all people.

The responses that the sheriff provided insulted the intelligence of the attendees at the meeting. He presented the ICE detention center as something that he would have total control over, telling ICE whom he will take and whom he will not.

The ICE officer was unable to say if the sheriff had this authority or not. The sheriff did not clarify how the functions of law enforcement to fight crime would be affected even as he heard how the immigrant community’s trust of police will be broken if ICE has a presence in our jail. It is unclear if he understands that federal civil detention is different from criminal custody.

In conclusion, at the end of the forum we left with more questions, more distrust of the sheriff’s decision-making process and disappointment toward how we were treated at the YWCA, which is supposed to be a safe place for the community.

Cristina Gloria, MA, LPC. is a community liaison and board member for AAA & Latino American Voices.

Above is from:

Universal Basic Income



Canada Is Launching a Major Test of Universal Basic Income



  • Finland, The Netherlands, and San Francisco, California have already shown their interest in giving people a regular monthly allowance — a system known as basic income.

    Now Ontario, Canada, is planning its own basic income trial as well.

    Related: Universal Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Should Never Come

    On April 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne outlined new details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP), which is slated to begin later this spring and last for three years.

    A total of 4,000 people in three regions in the province will begin receiving additional income based on each individual's current salary.

    A single person in the trial can receive up to $16,989 per year, though the equivalent of 50% of any additional earned income will be subtracted from that total. So a person who makes $10,000 a year at their job, for example, would receive $11,989 in basic income, for a total income of $21,989.

    Eligible recipients, who must be considered low-income and be between 18 and 64 years old, will be chosen through a randomized selection process

    In her announcement, Premier Wynne said one goal of the pilot is to reassure people that their government supports them.

    "It says to them, government is with you. Ontario is with you," she said.

    Related: Could a Universal Basic Income Really Work?

    The premise of basic income is straightforward: People get monthly checks to cover living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, and utilities — no questions asked.

    Along with Canada, a number of countries are conducting their own basic income trials.

    Finland's government launched its pilot on January 1, and is giving 2,000 unemployed Finns $590 a month. In various cities throughout the Netherlands, 250 people will soon receive an extra $1,100 per month for two years. And in Kenya, the charity GiveDirectly has launched a trial version of a 12-year study that seeks to gather the first longitudinal data on basic income.

    The concept of basic income has been around since the 1960s. In the decades since the radical idea was proposed, various researchers and government officials have given basic income experiments a try, with mixed results.

    In general, however, the data seem to tilt in basic income's favor. One study, published in late 2016, found people who received unconditional cash transfers used vices like drugs and alcoholless frequently than people who didn't receive the money. And though it's easy to assume free money would make people lazy, research suggests the opposite is true. People in one 2013 study actually worked 17% longer hours and received 38% higher earnings when getting a basic income.

    Skeptics, meanwhile, argue that because many basic income trials have been conducted in small villages in the developing world, the findings don't necessarily translate to developed countries.

    Ontario's trial will begin in the regions of Hamilton, including Brantford and Brant County, and in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. The third pilot will launch in Lindsay in the fall.

    "Everyone should benefit from Ontario's economic growth," Wynne said in a statement. "A basic income will support people in our province who are reaching for a better life."

    This article originally appeared on Business Insider[JS1] . Read more from Business Insider

    Above is from:

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Morning Spin: Rauner's improbable fundraising pitch: Balanced budget without tax hike



    Morning Spin: Rauner's improbable fundraising pitch: Balanced budget without tax hike


    The speculation at the Capitol held that if the state’s budget impasse continues through next year’s election, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will campaign on the fact that he blocked Democrats from hiking taxes.
    End the speculation. Cue the campaign.
    In a fundraising letter sent to Republican supporters from the governor’s campaign, Rauner says: “Speaker Mike Madigan and the Springfield Democrats REFUSE TO FIX our state. Illinois taxpayers deserve a balanced budget WITHOUT any tax increases.”
    That’s a sharp contrast to what the governor previously has said, including his acknowledgment that the state needs more revenue as well as spending cuts to achieve a balanced budget. (He's not alone in that view — leading Democrats have said the same. The shortfall is just too big.)
    Of course, Rauner has made as a precondition for approving a tax hike his list of “structural reforms” (previously known as his “turnaround agenda”), which include a property tax freeze, changes to workers' compensation, term limits for politicians and a plan to take much of the politics out of the drawing of legislative districts. Those demands have met with opposition from Madigan and the Democratic-controlled legislature, leading to the stalemate.
    “In the midst of the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield, I don’t normally have time to write personal letters like this but I urgently need to hear back from you ASAP,” Rauner said in the form letter addressed to “Dear Fellow Taxpayer” and marked “Personal & Confidential, Urgent Reply Requested, Please Respond in 7 Days.”
    In the letter, Rauner calls himself “the only leader in Springfield standing between Illinois and more job-killing, taxpayer-crushing policies!!”
    “I’ve fought tooth and nail to bring back Illinois because I’m sick and tired of career politicians who are more concerned with taking care of their special interest allies than families like yours,” he wrote.
    While most fundraising appeals start at the low-dollar end to generate at least a few bucks, Rauner — a wealthy former private equity investor who put $50 million into his re-election campaign in December — isn’t shy.
    “Now, facing what could be the most expensive governor’s race in Illinois history, I urgently need you to consider partnering with my campaign with your most generous PLEDGE OF SUPPORT of $2,000, $1,000, $500 or $250 today,” Rauner wrote.
    “Make no mistake: Illinois has come too far to allow Mike Madigan to install yet another liberal puppet in the Governor’s Mansion he can pull the strings on,” he wrote.
    Rauner contended that “every tax-and-spend liberal in Springfield and nearly every liberal newspaper have called on me to capitulate to Mike Madigan’s demands, raise taxes on you and your family with no reforms to show for it, and pass yet another un-balanced budget.”
    “I refuse to pass the buck to the next generation,” the governor wrote, adding that “after doing my level best not to fundraise for the last two years, I’m reaching out to request your immediate support.”
    Rauner, who spent nearly $28 million of his own money in defeating then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014, added a P.S. to his letter: “I won my first campaign for governor of Illinois on the promise to Shake Up Springfield — and delivered.”
    By the way, don’t expect those ads featuring Rauner and a roll of duct tape to stop anytime soon. A report on cable TV ad buys shows the commercials running through at least the end of April. The ads are being paid for by an affiliate of the Republican Governors Association. (Rick Pearson)

    Above is from:

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    Controversy over trustee appointment/ouster of Chief at District 2 Fire District


    The Rhubarb

    10 hrs ·

    Posted by Boone County Board member Cathy Ward on April 21, 2017.

    "BOONE COUNTY BOARD AND DISTRICT 2 FIREFIGHTERS - Standing room crowd at our Wednesday night board meeting. Still learning more details every day, but we learned that the three-member Board of District 2 trustees ousted former chief Brad Bartell recently and many volunteers stood united at the meeting to protest that ousting. They want us (the county board) to change the board of trustees. One member, Jack Ryan, was up for reappointment and the majority of the board approved that appointment. Ryan spoke briefly and said there were reasons for the trustees' decision. He did not elaborate. This did not make the volunteers there happy. One volunteer, Brent Bryan, spoke at length explaining why many, many of the volunteers are not happy with the actions of the trustees. Bryan said they planned to get a referendum to voters very soon and ask that trustees be elected, not appointed by the county board. The three trustees are Ryan, Kevin Stark and Jim Marrs. All had been recommended for appointment by former chair Bob Walberg. The trustees next meeting is set for Monday, May 1, at the Fire District offices located near the Belvidere Post Office and Boone County Council on Aging at 7 p.m. Volunteers are hoping many will attend this open meeting to hear of their concerns. More to come, I'm sure. Standing room crowds are relatively rare."

    Above is from:





    SEE You-Tube proceedings of the Boone County Board regarding the appointment and public comment regarding it:

    10 minute thru 16 minutes for the public comment

    26 minute thru 30 minutes for discussion on vote on appointments.

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    WI & NY Dairy Farmers in trade war with Canada?


    Trump's latest target: Canada?

    Rick Newman


    Yahoo FinanceApril 21, 2017

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) is greeted by U.S. President Donald Trump prior to holdiing talks at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) is greeted by U.S. President Donald Trump prior to holdiing talks at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    If you thought our neighbors to the north were all chill and chummy, think again.

    President Trump, fresh from a visit to Wisconsin, told reporters on Thursday that certain Canadian trade practices are a “disgrace.” Canada, it turns out, recently lowered prices for a particular class of domestically produced dairy products, making them cheaper than imports from states such as Wisconsin and New York. That, in turn has led to the cancellation of some big contracts with family farmers in those states, and others. An industry group estimates the spat could cost American farmers $150 million, and force some of them to sell their cows.

    “What happened to our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and New York State – we’re not going to let it happen,” Trump said. “The fact is, NAFTA, whether it’s Mexico or Canada, is a disaster for our country. It’s a disaster. It’s a trading disaster.”

    Some people forget that the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has blamed for lost jobs, falling incomes and a bunch of other problems, involves not just Mexico, which Trump railed against while campaigning last year, but Canada, as well. Although it’s a free-trade deal, NAFTA still allows some tariffs and other types of protections on various categories of products, which is stipulated in the agreement. And products that were developed after NAFTA went into effect in 1994 sometimes fall into a grey zone where they’re not subject to tariffs that apply to other, similar products that did exist at the time.

    That appears to be what happened with a dairy product called ultrafiltered milk, which contains protein and fat products used to make cheese. Ultrafiltered milk was developed after NAFTA went into effect, and American product has been flowing into Canada for several years, subject to none of the tariffs that apply to other dairy products. Several Canadian provinces recently lowered the price of domestically produced UF milk, making it cheaper than the American version. Those changes are due to go national in Canada soon. Canada also subsidizes its milk industry, which helps keep farmers in business.

    The US dairy industry claims the recent price moves by Canada represent an illegal trade protection, similar to a tariff. On April 12, the entire Congressional delegation from Wisconsin signed a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others in the Trump administration urging them“to take immediate action to address this dire situation where apparent unfair trade practices are putting Wisconsin dairy farmers’ livelihoods at risk.” In response, Trump has lumped the dastardly Canadians with other countries, namely Mexico and China, that he feels are cheating on trade deals and hustling American workers out of their jobs.

    Worth knowing: Canada sees it differently.

    “It’s not Canada that’s the challenge here,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said recently, pointing out that Washington subsidizes agriculture just as Ottawa does, and that the United States has a $400 million trade surplus in agriculture with Canada. “Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture,” Trudeau said, meaning that just about every developed nation protects farmers viewed as indispensable pillars of national identity. Other Canadian politicians have argued that unfiltered milk from America has been getting a free ride in Canada, since it has been exempt from tariffs meant to apply to all dairy imports. Some also argue that American dairy farmers simply produce more milk that consumers demand, and it’s not Canada’s job to sop up the excess.

    For the farmers on either side of the border, this dairy skirmish is a big deal that directly affects their livelihood. But there’s a broader point, as Trump continues to promise that his grand effort to revamp NAFTA is coming soon, and will be terrific. Trump has bitten off a gigantic piece of gristle with his promise to revamp NAFTA or withdraw from the deal, and he can’t tweet-bash Canada—or even Mexico, for that matter—and expect rapid acquiescence. NAFTA covers thousands of products, and the whole point of more-or-less-free trade is to eliminate petty, one-by-one disputes over import tariffs on every single thing that crosses a border. (Anybody who wants to check for themselves can read the whole text of NAFTA here.)

    If Trump wants to fight with Canada over ultrafiltured milk, then why not fight over powdered buttermilk (tariff item 0403.90.10), egg albumin (tariff item 3502.10.10), or whey powder and modified whey powder (tariff item 0404.10.10)? And those are just a few items in the dairy category. There are dozens more, and dozens of other categories. For every producer in America who feels he’s getting a raw deal on a given product, there’s one in Canada and Mexico who feels the same way about a different product. Litigious trade spitballers could spend many lifetimes fighting over tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, product-by-product, while the movement of goods atrophied and producers waited for waited desperately for litigation to end so somebody might buy their stuff.

    Trump earned a few nominal victories at the start of his presidency when he tweet-blasted companies such as Carrier, Ford and General Motors, criticizing them for conduction operations in Mexico. Most companies targeted by Trump ginned up announcements touting investments that create jobs in America, even if those “announcements” were rehashed news of plans already on the books. Trump, typically, tweet his approval and claimed credit for the new jobs, with the whole kabuki seeming to do no real harm.

    Canada is unlikely to play that game. Like Republican members of Congress Trump has struggled to corral, Trudeau and other Canadian politicians don’t answer to Trump. They answer to their own constituents in Canada, and that includes farmers happy with the new rules on ultrafiltered milk imports from America. Canada has voters too, and Trump will never be on the ballot there.

    Above is from:

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Married Catholic Priest?


    New Notre Dame priest coming with wife and children

    The Rev. David Medow won't be coming alone when he transfers in June to Notre Dame Catholic Church from Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield.

    Medow is one of an estimated 150 to 200 married Roman Catholic priests nationwide, he said. The 59-year-old Chicago native also has two grown children.

    "My role is to be a priest, not a married priest," Medow said. "I'm moving into a new community, and people may have some questions. Some of my stories are different because I am married and have children, but it's not really different, in terms of my role."

    He has been married to Jane for 38 years. The couple's two children are Nikolai, 29, and Hannah, 25.


    Medow and the Rev. Patrick M. Mulcahy, the current pastor at Notre Dame, are switching parishes.

    Mulcahy began serving Notre Dame in December 2010 as an administrator and was installed as pastor Sept. 1, 2012.

    Medow began work at the Plainfield parish in July 1998 and became the pastor in June 2005.

    Ed Reid, a Notre Dame parishioner for the past 18 years, said he is looking forward to Medow's June 21 arrival.

    "It's interesting for the parish to be one of the very few in the country that will have a married priest, and I would expect overwhelming support for him," Reid said. "Everyone I've spoken with about this has been very supportive."

    Reid said he doesn't expect the experience at Notre Dame to be markedly different once Medow is there.

    "He may be able to relate a little better to everyday Catholic problems because he has a wife and children," Reid said.

    He said he believes The Catholic Church should probably expand having married priests.

    "Married priests, and women, too," Reid said. "The church needs to increase its vocation and its appeal."

    Susan Kinsella, a Notre Dame parishioner since 2001, agreed.

    "I didn't know it was allowed, but I think it's a great opportunity for the church," she said. "It's no secret there's a shortage of priests."

    Kinsella said she believes Medow will be welcomed by parishioners.

    "I'm very excited about it and can see no downside," she said.

    Medow was raised a Lutheran in a family with a Jewish father and Lutheran mother.

    He was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1985, serving for nearly 12 years, and was received into the Roman Catholic Church Nov. 1, 1996.

    Medow's ordination was allowed because of a special process set up by the Vatican about 1980 for clergy who wanted to become Catholic priests.

    Notre Dame Parish serves about 1,400 households, with parishioners from Clarendon Hills, Darien, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Westmont, Willowbrook and other nearby communities.

    Twitter @chuckwriting

    Above is from:

    Boone County announces board vacancies


    Boone County announces board vacancies

    Posted Apr 18, 2017 at 1:43 PM Updated Apr 18, 2017 at 1:43 PM
    Stories from Headlines Network

    BOONE COUNTY — The Boone County government recently announced vacancies for various volunteer boards.

    The board of review has two two-year vacancies, the zoning board of appeals has one five-year vacancy, the conservation district has one five-year vacancy, the ethics commission has three one-year vacancies and the community building complex has one three-year vacancy.

    The application deadline is April 25. Interested parties should send a letter and/or resume expressing their interest and qualifications to Boone County Chairman Karl Johnson, Administration Campus, 1212 Logan Ave., Suite 102, Belvidere, IL 61008.

    Above is from:

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal



    MATTHEW LEE,Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the U.S. has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program.

    However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

    "Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods," Tillerson wrote. He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States."

    The certification of Iran's compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days, is the first issued by the Trump administration. The deadline for this certification was midnight.

    As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement. Tuesday's determination suggested that while Trump agreed with findings by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is keeping to its end of the bargain, he is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran.

    Despite the sanctions relief, Iran remains on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of anti-Israel groups and is still subject to non-nuclear sanctions, including for human rights abuses and for its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

    The nuclear deal was sealed in Vienna in July 2015 after 18 months of negotiations led by former Secretary of State John Kerry and diplomats from the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France and Russia — and Germany. Under its terms, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program, long suspected of being aimed at developing atomic weapons, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

    Opponents of the deal, including Israel, objected, saying it only delayed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and did not allow for the kind of inspections of its atomic sites that would guarantee it was not cheating. Obama, Kerry and others who negotiated the deal strenuously defended its terms and said the agreement made Israel, the Middle East and the world a safer place.

    Above is from:

    Sunday, April 16, 2017

    Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry no longer on probation


    Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry no longer on probation


    By Susan Vela
    Staff writer

    CAPRON — The Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry’s new policies and training helped end a probation period with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

    The food bank reinstated its ties with the agency on Tuesday. The pantry provides about 1,000 meals a month.

    The pantry did not receive food from the food bank for two weeks as part of its probation.

    “The pantry has been fully reinstated. The pantry has done everything we asked them in terms of compliance,” said Jennifer Nau, director of communications for the food bank. “We will continue to work with them to ensure all of their staff and volunteers are properly trained.”

    The end of probation is good news, said the Rev. Danice Loveridge, the pantry’s interim executive director.

    “I have a great group of people here,” Loveridge said. “We still have some work to do and we’re very committed to doing that work.”

    The probation resulted from alleged theft and inappropriate use of food for the needy. A Boone County Sheriff’s Department investigation is ongoing.

    Susan Vela: 815-987-1392;; @susanvela

    Above is from:

    10 reasons why Boone County public safety sales tax failed


    My View: 10 reasons why Boone County public safety sales tax failed


    By Cathy Ward

    Wonder why Boone voters defeated the public safety sales tax? Here’s my opinion as a longtime resident and board member. I think there are at least 10 major reasons that led to this defeat.

    But first let me say that I truly believe all of us want excellent public safety to be a priority. Second, I do not believe the defeat of the referendum is any reflection of the leadership of Sheriff Dave Ernest or newly elected board chair Karl Johnson. Third, I believe that some taxpayers will vote no on any tax increase. However, it’s not true that our voters always say no to tax hikes. Our people approved a tax hike for schools, our veterans and our animal shelter in the past few years.

    Here’s a summary of what I have seen our people find unacceptable and why they voted no on the public safety sales tax referendum on April 4.

    1) A majority of board members a few years ago erased the sunset date of the current public safety sales tax, which was supposed to end when the jail bonds were paid off in 2018. Now that tax, about $1.4 million a year, will continue forever. Many considered that a major broken promise.

    2) The majority of the board approved a huge property line setback that eliminated the chance of a multi-million dollar wind farm project that would have brought millions of new tax dollars to our people, schools, villages and townships.

    3) The majority of the board voted to break a longtime Belvidere/Boone planning department agreement. That meant taxpayers would pay more than twice as much for half the staff and further weaken city/county relationships. It’s no wonder why no city officials endorsed the sales tax proposal.

    4) The majority of the board worked really hard to ignore the pleas of hundreds of residents who asked us to help “Stop the Train.” Former chair Bob Walberg said the board would never even discuss it, but then he backed off that stance. It took weeks before the board would even pass a resolution opposing the train.

    5) The majority of the board fought tooth and nail to refuse to give our veterans any assistance. Finally our veteran leaders took it directly to the voters who approved the assistance with a referendum win.

    6) The majority of the board tried every trick in the book to ignore the requests of animal lovers who wanted to replace a deplorable animal shelter. That, too, went to referendum and our people approved it. It should have been built years ago when it would have been much cheaper, but we still hear those same board members who opposed it moaning about the cost.

    7) Many members keep saying we are “broke,” yet approved raises as high as 5 percent a year and a few years back did nothing to stop raises as high as 55 percent in the health department. Retirement bonuses of tens of thousands are still being given.

    8) Despite requests from hundreds who ask us for more stop signs and more reduced speed signs, many board members keep ignoring those requests and try to block them.

    9) The majority of our board members allowed former chair Walberg to replace on committees and board anyone who did not agree with his goals. He then appointed friends and relatives of friends to those boards.

    10) Finally, many board members refuse to sit in regular board seats so visitors can hear better.

    I don’t believe it was any one of these items that caused the defeat, but the cumulative effect was that dozens of our residents left our board room in the last few years under the leadership of Walberg with the opinion that they were being totally ignored. They saw lots of arrogance or indifference.

    Our voters had their chance in the ballot box to show their displeasure.

    Cathy Ward is a member of the Boone County Board.

    Above is from:

    Friday, April 14, 2017

    Boone County agrees to sell old animal services building



    Posted by RVPEditor / In Belvidere Daily Republican, Public Meetings

    By Bob Balgemann


    Now that the new animal services building on the north side of Squaw Prairie Road is finished, Boone County officials are ready to sell the old one at 1230 S. Appleton Road.

    After quite a bit of discussion, the county board voted 12-0 to open the process up to public bids, with no minimum dollar amount required. The board maintained the right to accept or refuse any and all offers.

    County Administrator Ken Terrinoni explained there were a number of avenues that could be pursued with regard to the sale. One would be a negotiated sale with an interested buyer and see what price can be agreed upon. The other would be the bid process.

    He said the roads and capital improvements committee, which considered that issue, was divided over the best way to get the most for taxpayers.

    “It was felt the [full county] board should weigh in on it,” he said.

    Committee Chairman Brad Stark said he was adamant at the committee level about putting the sale out to bid.

    “I think this is the most open way we can go about selling this surplus property,” Stark said.

    Board member Cathy Ward agreed, saying, “We should open it up to everyone in the county who might be interested.”

    Another board member, Sherry Giesecke, wondered about setting a minimum bid for the property.

    Board Chairman Karl Johnson said the committee did not like that approach.

    “There will be plenty out there who will try to buy something for nothing,” board member Jeff Carlisle said.

    Another viewpoint came from newly elected board member, Dr. Bernard O’Malley.

    “This is a special use type of property and a small number of people will be interested in it,” O’Malley said. “It needs a lot of work.”

    However, Stark countered the notion expressed earlier that this property would sell for $1 or $10, was “quite silly. Mr. O’Malley thinks the property needs work. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Somebody might like it just the way it is. Somebody might buy it for the land. We don’t know. As the seller, we shouldn’t be running down our piece of property. I think it’s quite beautiful, myself. It doesn’t eat, and we don’t have to clean up after it. So, if it takes a while to sell, so be it.”

    Committee Vice Chairman Denny Ellingson said there already had been some inquiries about the property.

    A motion to open the Appleton Road property to public bid was authored by board member Marshall Newhouse and seconded by Ward. It was approved, 10-2, in a voice vote.

    In related action, the board voted 12-0 to make a final payment of $87,426.30 to Rockford Structures Construction Company in Machesney Park, for general construction of the 3,300-square-foot animal services building.

    Overall, this was an estimated $1.040-million project financed by the sale of $800,000 in bonds that voters approved Nov. 4, 2014.

    The general fund will be reimbursed $251,781.93. It is supplying to make up the difference.

    Some of the big-ticket items shown in the contract breakdown were rough carpentry/lumber, $150,411.76; site work, $82,100; electrical, $76,064; overhead and profit, $68,359.30; $57,362; concrete/concrete systems, $62,794; HVAC, $57,362; gutters, downspouts, siding, $42,269.30; painting/epoxy, $29,419; doors, hardware, $27,880; drywall, $24,416; and roofing, $20,450.

    Former North Boone teacher, coach faces sex assault charges

    Former North Boone teacher, coach faces sex assault charges

    Posted Apr 13, 2017 at 12:36 PM Updated at 12:11 AM

    By Kristen Zambo
    Staff writer

    ROCKFORD — Two North Boone High School teachers have been jailed within seven days of each other after each was accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

    Scott M. Brady, 52, of Rockford, a former science teacher and soccer coach, appeared in court today after being charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of an underage girl in Rockford.

    Brady is held in the Winnebago County Jail on a $300,000 bond.

    A North Boone High School special education and math teacher, Sarah Myers, 40, of Garden Prairie, was charged last week in Boone County Circuit Court with criminal sexual assault of a student.

    “These two cases are not believed to be related,” Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said.

    North Boone Superintendent Michael Greenlee said in a written statement that the school has an extensive hiring process that includes thorough background checks and mandatory, continuing ethics training.

    “We have great, dedicated teachers and staff. Obviously, we are shocked and disappointed at the allegations in these past couple of weeks,” Greenlee said. “In both instances we acted immediately upon learning about the allegations, and we contacted law enforcement.”

    Brady resigned in December when school officials notified police of the allegations and an investigation was launched, Bruscato said this afternoon at a news conference. The alleged incidents occurred between December 2015 and December 2016, when the girl was 17 and 18 years old, according to a criminal complaint filed on Wednesday.

    “We expect our children to be safe at school. Everybody does,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said.

    The teen wasn’t a student in Brady’s science classes, Bruscato said, adding his office has “zero tolerance” for teachers who physically or sexually abuse students.

    O’Shea said Brady was charged in Winnebago County because Brady lives in Rockford and the alleged contact occurred there. Bruscato said “while we believe this situation is isolated,” the investigation continues.

    Rockford police arrested Brady at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

    In bond court, Judge Francis M. Martinez ordered Brady not to have any contact with children.

    Brady remains in the Winnebago County Jail and must post $30,000 to bail out. His next court date is May 5.

    The sexual assault charges are punishable by four to 15 years in prison and the sexual abuse counts are punishable by three to seven years.

    Myers, who faces two counts of criminal sexual assault, is due back in court April 21. According to Myers’ teacher page, she teaches special education at the high school, as well some math courses. She also is a freshman student adviser, her website states. The teen wasn’t a special education student, Sheriff Dave Ernest has said.

    Kristen Zambo: 815-987-1339;; @KristenZambo

    Above is from:

    Boone County Clerk, Recorder Mary Steurer to retire


    Boone County Clerk, Recorder Mary Steurer to retire

    Posted Apr 12, 2017 at 5:56 PM Updated Apr 12, 2017 at 11:23 PM

    By Susan Vela
    Staff writer

    BELVIDERE — Boone County Clerk and Recorder Mary Steurer is retiring after nearly 40 years of organizing election workers, helping people get married, documenting land transactions and doing much more.

    Steurer joined the office in 1979, worked her way up the ranks and was appointed to the job in 2011 when then-Clerk and Recorder Pam McCullough retired. Steurer was elected in November 2012 for a two-year term and was re-elected for a four-year term in November 2014. She’ll leave the job June 15 to spend more time with her husband, Dale.

    “I feel bad leaving before my term is up,” Steurer said. “I just feel the time is right. We would like to do a little traveling and I would like to just be home.”

    Steurer said she’s confident her office of five employees will be left in capable hands. County officials are seeking letters of interest and resumes from applicants who wish to be appointed to her job. The deadline to apply is April 28.

    Steurer’s replacement must be a Republican. He or she will receive a yearly salary of $81,708 and will oversee an annual budget of about $700,000, Steurer said.


    Boone County Board Chairman Karl Johnson will recommend a replacement at the May 17 County Board meeting. The nominee must be approved by the board. Johnson is looking for someone who has Steurer’s dedication.

    “I don’t think you can find a person who is more positive,” he said. “She’s nice. She’s pleasant. She’s willing to do whatever she can to help out. She truly cares about the county.”

    Steurer worked part time for the county treasurer’s office for about three years before joining the clerk and recorder’s office. She loved the office’s energetic pace and eventually became McCullough’s deputy clerk.

    “I never had thought of being clerk but I really enjoyed it,” she said.

    Steurer’s enthusiasm was apparent to former County Board Chairman Bob Walberg.

    “I’m kind of sad about (her retirement) because she’s done such a great job,” he said. “She was always on top of her facts and figures. She almost always knew the answer. If she didn’t, she knew how to get the answer. She’s done that job extremely well. She was just so helpful to the board and so meticulous with our minutes.”

    Anyone interested in replacing Steurer can send a letter expressing his or her interest and qualifications to Boone County Board Chairman Karl Johnson, Administration Campus, 1212 Logan Ave., Suite 102, Belvidere, IL 61008.

    Susan Vela: 815-987-1392;; @susanvela

    Above is from:



    County Clerk & Recorder


    Term Expires

    November 30, 2018

    Length of Term

    Remainder of Term

    Per Illinois law this candidate must be a registered Republican.

    Interested parties are asked to send a letter and/or resume expressing your interest and qualifications along with your contact information to Boone County Board Chairman Karl Johnson, Administration Campus, 1212 Logan Ave., Suite 102, Belvidere, IL 61008.  Please respond by April 28, 2017 to assure being considered.

    Above is from

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    No wonder Trump likes his steak well-done: Inspectors find 13 violations in Mar-a-Lago’s kitchen




    No wonder Trump likes his steak well-done: Inspectors find 13 violations in Mar-a-Lago’s kitchen

    Cook it well-done.

    Cook it my way. (Reuters/Jim Young)

    Written by
    Chase Purdy

    2 hours ago

    It might cost a whopping $200,000 just in initiation fees to get into Donald Trump’s private Palm Beach, Florida club Mar-a-Lago—but don’t assume the quality of the food matches the price.

    State food-safety inspectors visited the club for a routine check in January and found reasons to issue 13 violations. Some of the more troubling violations cited potentially dangerous raw fish and broken-down coolers for storing raw meats, according to the Miami Herald.

    “Bacteria multiply quickly when the temperature of food is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 60 degrees Celsius),” according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

    So just how bad was the situation at Mar-a-Lago? Bad. Here’s what inspectors found:

    • Chicken being stored at 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4 degrees Celsius).
    • Duck and raw beef at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
    • Ham at 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.8 degrees Celsius).
    • Fish, slated to be served raw or undercooked, not put through a proper process to remove parasites.

    That should give any club-goer pause, as meat stored improperly could become a breeding playground for a parade of pernicious, illness-causing bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, E. coli, Listeria, Vibrio, and Clostridium botulinum.

    Inspectors ordered the club to clear out and clean its coolers and start maintaining them properly.

    This isn’t the first time Trump has run into a bit of a mess on food issues. While he was on the campaign trail, he briefly made a vow to dismantle America’s federal food-safety and inspection service (it was deleted after being roundly mocked). Health advocates say that Trump’s proposed budget would gut important services from the Food and Drug Administration that ensure food safety.

    And earlier this week, the president caught criticism for an embarrassing flub he made during an interview with the Fox Business network. While crowing about the “most beautiful” slice of chocolate cake he ate during a meal with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the US president mentioned striking American ally Iraq with 59 Tomahawk missiles. It was a misspeak. He had actually struck Syria.

    Above is from:

    Oklahoma Congressman tells angry constituents the idea that they pay his salary is ‘bullcrap’



    Congressman tells angry constituents the idea that they pay his salary is ‘bullcrap’

    By Greg Hadley

    Mullin Resumes Town Halls After Canceling Due To Security Concerns

    KOTV - Tulsa, OK

    An Oklahoman congressman is under fire after he seemingly dismissed the notion that his constituents pay for him to go to Congress, calling the idea “bullcrap” in a viral video making the rounds on social media.

    Markwayne Mullin, speaking at a town hall Tuesday in Jay, Oklahoma, was responding to a question from the audience when he responded to a claim that constituents pay for him to work in Congress.

    “You say you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go,” said the 39-year-old Republican who represents Oklahoma’s second district, which covers much of the eastern part of the state.

    When several audience members pushed back against this claim, Mullin went on, “I’m just saying this is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living.”

    A spokesperson for Mullin later told the Tulsa World that he was referring to taxes he has paid as a private citizen and as a business owner. Mullin owns several plumbing companies, per the Tulsa World.

    “Like all business owners, Congressman Mullin pays his taxes, which contribute to congressional salaries,” the spokesperson said.

    In the Constitution, Congress is tasked with deciding its own members’ salaries, which is taken from the U.S. Treasury and paid for by taxpayers. In 2009, that pay was increased to a base of $174,000 per year plus benefits and has not changed since. However, members who reach leadership positions are eligible for higher salaries. Mullin holds no leadership positions.

    Mullin first joined Congress in 2012 and has won his past two elections with more than 70 percent of the vote. However, like many other members of Congress, he has faced a hostile reception back home at town halls.

    Mullin also announced Tuesday night that he was canceling another town hall, citing safety concerns.

    “Over the past few weeks, we have seen an escalation of protesters at congressional town halls across the nation. We have even seen them right here in the Second District. I have continued to hold town halls and answer questions from constituents across the district, including those who have been vocal in their disapproval of my positions,” Mullin said in a statement.

    “It is my intent to provide a safe environment for all attendees which is why we have established protocols at each of our town halls to ensure each person’s voice can be heard. Despite working with the venue for the Tahlequah town hall, we could not reach an agreement using our protocols that guaranteed the safety of everyone, so I chose to cancel the town hall after much consideration.”

    However, Mullin’s announcement came just a few hours before the event was scheduled to begin and after attendees had already entered the building. The Associated Press reports that when the cancellation was announced, the crowd booed. Mullin later hosted several town halls on Wednesday.

    According to federal filings, Mullin made at least $610,000 in 2015 and raised more than $600,000 in the 2015-2016 election cycle.

    Read more here:

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Former District 100 superintendent retiring






    D-303 grants superintendent financial swap

    Extended health insurance exchanged for vacation pay

    Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 10:49 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 3:42 p.m. C




    (Shaw Media file photo)


    ST. CHARLES – St. Charles School District 303 will cover the cost of health and dental insurance for three-and-a-half years for retiring Superintendent Don Schlomann in exchange for vacation pay it owes him.

    The school board voted 4-2 on April 10 to amend the superintendent's contract to reflect the exchange. Schlomann desired the exchange so that he would save in income tax he would owe for vacation pay, he said. 

    Schlomann will retire June 30 after 10 years as superintendent. His contract had stated that – upon his retirement – the district would pay out all his unused vacation time, which district officials expect will total 30 days.

    The superintendent's vacation pay would be $25,961. District officials calculated that health and dental insurance for Schlomann through Dec. 31, 2020, would cost $26,352, based on current insurance rates for employees.

    The contract amendment grants Schlomann the right to remain on the district’s health and dental insurance plan through the end of 2020, even if employee insurance rates increase.

    Board President Kathy Hewell said Schlomann deserved to have his request granted because he accepted the same annual salary of $225,000 for 10 years and never sought a raise.

    Hewell also said she is grateful that Schlomann will continue in his position through June 30 to help with contracts up for bid in mid-June related to Thompson and Wredling middle schools' renovation and expansion projects.

    “He will be taking us through June during a critical time for our district,” Hewell said. “I'm very happy he is willing to forgo vacation to stay with us during this time.”

    Two board members, Edward McNally and Lori Linkimer, opposed the contract amendment because it allowed for a financial exchange that was not guaranteed to be equal.

    “If we knew for certain it would be a dollar for dollar exchange, I would have voted for it,” McNally said after the meeting.

    Linkimer said she agreed and added, “There is no way we can know what insurance costs will be in the future.”

    Above is from:

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    White House to lift federal hiring freeze




    White House to lift federal hiring freeze

    By Jordan Fabian - 04/11/17 11:00 PM EDT

    The White House  will lift President Trump’s federal hiring freeze on Wednesday, following fire from critics who said it hampered the government from carrying out core functions. 

    The end of the freeze is part of guidance ordering federal departments and agencies to submit restructuring plans to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by the fall. 

    “It does not mean the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Tuesday. 

    “What we’re doing tomorrow is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze that was put in place on day one and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan.”

    Trump signed an executive order on his first full work day in the White House that temporarily halted all non-military federal hiring, an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and reduce the size of government. 

    But the freeze resulted in an increased backlog of benefits claims at the Veterans Affairs (VA) department, which Trump pledged to strengthen during the campaign. 

    It also created delays in the processing of Social Security checks, staff shortages at federal prisons, the closure of childcare facilities at military bases and fewer workers at the Food and Drug Administration to work on drug approvals.

    Mulvaney did not say how many vacancies in the federal government would be filled after the freeze is lifted. 

    The VA and Department of Defense, which would receive funding increases under Trump’s budget plan, could hire more workers, according to Mulvaney. Others, whose budgets would be cut such as the Environmental Protection Agency, likely would not be able to staff up. 

    The budget director denied that the move violates Trump’s promises of cutting and streamlining the federal government. 

    The memorandum requires all agencies to “begin taking immediate actions” to reduce the size of their workforces over the long term and achieve the savings called for in Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget. 

    Agency heads must develop a plan to “maximize employee performance” by June 30 and submit a final version of that plan to the White House budget office by September. 

    Mulvaney said that could involve the elimination or consolidation of duplicative offices and agencies. 

    Those changes would be adopted in Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget. 

    “This is a big part of draining the swamp,” the budget director said Tuesday. “Really, what you’re talking about doing is restructuring Washington, D.C. That is how you drain the swamp.”

    Above is from:

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold wins Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Trump’s charitable giving


    Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold wins Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Trump’s charitable giving

    Post reporter David Fahrenthold won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his pioneering work exposing the distance between image and reality in Donald Trump’s philanthropy.

    April 10, 2017

    Image of  National Reporting  winner:  David Fahrenthold

    National Reporting winner

    David Fahrenthold

    Shortly after the Iowa caucuses, David Fahrenthold set out to learn what had become of the $6 million Donald Trump said he’d raised for veterans, including $1 million of his own money. Fahrenthold soon discovered that the candidate had stopped distributing money, despite having given out just a fraction of what he raised. That was the start of a much longer reporting effort, one that eventually expanded to cover all of Trump’s charitable giving — and the illusions he’d created, over his lifetime, that made his philanthropy seem more impressive than it was. His work also included an article disclosing that Trump had made crude comments and bragged about groping women during an unaired portion of an interview on “Access Hollywood” in 2005.

    Pioneering a new form of investigative reporting, Fahrenthold invited his Twitter followers to help him report these stories, asking for help in tracking down details of Trump’s past giving — or items that Trump had bought, improperly, with his charity’s money. He posted photographs of his reporter’s notebook on Twitter, signaling the lengths he’d gone to and asking readers to suggest more charities to call. The run of coverage benefited greatly from the work of Post researcher Alice Crites and reporter Rosalind S. Helderman.

    Supplemental material

    Sunday, April 9, 2017

    Editorial on Great Lake Basis RR

    My View: Rail project would be destructive, disruptive

    Posted Apr 7, 2017 at 9:16 AM Updated Apr 7, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    By Dave Willis

    Have you ever heard the aphorism, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” We have a situation in northern Illinois that fits that adage to a tee. The Great Lakes Basin Railroad wants to run a track from Milton, Wisconsin, to northern Indiana.

    The proponents of this program are selling it as if it were going to be a great boon to everyone in the area through which it travels. What many don’t realize is the underlying and insidiously destructive and disruptive nature of this track.

    This track would run through a major portion of Winnebago County. The rail corridor will be 200 feet wide, and includes a 50-foot-wide area for future use for pipe lines, utility company use or other profit-generating means for the rail line investors.

    The length of the corridor has been quoted as being approximately 260 miles. Every mile represents 24.25 acres of land taken from current owners, or approximately 6,305 acres in total. That is land from which farm production will be obliterated.

    This plan means filling in wetlands near rivers and impounding water. To achieve the proposed 70-mile-per-hour speed, many roads will have to be terminated at the rail line. Some of our farmland floods frequently, and this will slow receding water and delay field work. Farm fields will be bisected, homes and buildings will have to be moved, and some fields will be too small for present-day equipment to farm.

    I understand that farm rail crossings will have to be insured yearly by the farm owner at rates of $2,500 to $5,000 per year, which is unjust and burdensome to the farm owners. The western route does not appear to be well researched, as it goes through so many wetlands.

    So far, we have addressed the rural problems as they apply to farmers. This is also important to those living in cities and villages. Any derailment of toxic chemicals has the propensity to cause evacuations and/or contamination of the water supply to thousands of citizens. Many people believe the preponderance of product in these trains will be crude oil, and each car contains 30,000 gallons.

    A derailment usually involves many more than one ruptured tank car and the remedy is to let the oil burn. Not only are there toxic fumes from this, but also a ground and/or a ground water contamination that lasts for many years. If chlorine gas is being transported and is involved in a derailment, evacuations of five to six miles are required. Even Rockford Memorial Hospital could potentially have to be evacuated. Large portions of Rockford and towns to the north also would be affected.

    By what justification can billionaire investors be granted approval by our federal government for this privately owned rail line that usurps land owned for generations of families, and creates financial and emotional hardship for them? As I understand eminent domain, it is to be used solely for creating public thoroughfares like roads, etc. It is not designed for, nor is it to be used, to promote the interests of private enterprise operations.

    There is a perception among many, that this rail project is dead because resolutions against it have been passed by various townships and the Winnebago County Board. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The authority having the final say on this project is the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, D.C. Property owners and concerned citizens need to provide written comments to this board. If you too are concerned about this pillaging of our land, please send your comments to, or mail to: Dave Navecky, Surface Transportation Board, Docket No. FD 35952, 395 E Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20423-0001. Please act quickly, as time is of the essence.

    Dave Willis is a Rockford

    Above is from:

    Saturday, April 8, 2017

    Trump sends Congress letter explaining Syria strike


    The Hill logoThe Hill

    The Hill

    Max Greenwood


    Trump sends Congress letter explaining Syria strike© Provided by The Hill Trump sends Congress letter explaining Syria strike

    President Trump on Saturday delivered his justification to Congress for ordering a missile strike on Syria this week, saying in a letter to congressional leaders that the U.S. was prepared to take further military action if necessary.

    "I acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive," Trump wrote.

    The letter was addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate president pro tempore.

    "The United States will take additional action, as necessary and appropriate, to further its important national interests," Trump wrote.

    Under the War Powers Resolution, the president is required to submit an explanation for the use of force within 48 hours after military action is taken. The deadline for Trump to do so would be Saturday night.

    Trump's letter echoed his comments delivered roughly an hour after the strikes on Thursday night, when he characterized the strikes as in the "vital national security interest" of the U.S.

    "It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons," Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    Above is from:

    Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry could have ties severed to Northern Illinois




    Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry could have ties severed to Northern Illinois Food Bank


    CAPRON — The new leader of the Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry is tasked with getting the organization back on track after accusations of theft and inappropriate use of food for the needy.

    The Rev. Danice Loveridge, a pantry board member for three years, was named interim executive director after the accusation. She said she’ll do her best to clear the pantry of a three-month probation handed down by the Northern Illinois Food Bank. She and her team have already made progress.

    “They’ve made so many great moves already that we see this (probation) ending pretty quickly,” said Jennifer Nau, director of communications for Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Our team has been out there to train their staff and their volunteers as well.”

    The pantry continues to serve people in need despite the probation. Probation means the pantry doesn’t receive food that had been donated to Northern Illinois Food Bank, but it still gets government commodities and other resources to serve the needy.

    “I was very saddened by allegations that the food pantry could be in any sort of violation,” Loveridge said. “Our goal is to have (the probation status) lifted. My goal is to have it lifted within a week.”

    Loveridge will serve as interim executive director for the next three months before deciding whether to formally apply for the job.

    The food bank placed the pantry on probation for inappropriate use and theft of food meant for the needy. If the pantry doesn’t document enough proof that it has done everything it can to stop the misconduct, the 13-county food bank will kick the pantry out of its membership.

    That means the pantry would lose support that includes almost 776,000 pounds of food a year. It also would lose the ability to apply for the food bank’s grants.

    The Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry serves approximately 800-1,000 people in need each month and operates on an annual budget of about $250,000.

    According to a March 28 letter the food bank sent to the pantry, the pantry violated Internal Revenue Service regulations by taking and reselling donated items. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

    Board members immediately asked former executive director Linda Clark to step down and voted to have Loveridge take her place. Loveridge will receive $3,600 a month for the next three months, said Owen Costanza, the pantry board’s president.

    Officials with both the food bank and pantry do not know how long the pantry was inappropriately making use of donated foods.

    Loveridge and Costanza said they immediately started putting in place new policies and demanding training of its less than 10 employees and approximately 30 volunteers. They went over the food bank’s policies, which clearly state how to avoid probation status. “Exchanging donated food or other products for money, property or services,” the policies state.

    Staff writer Kevin Haas contributed to this report.

    Susan Vela

    Above is from:

    Tuesday, April 4, 2017

    Election Results from significant local races









    U.S. coal companies ask Trump to stick with Paris climate deal


    Reuters logoReuters


    By Valerie Volcovici


    U.S. President Trump holds news conference at the White House in Washington© REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Trump holds news conference at the White House in Washington

    Some big American coal companies have advised President Donald Trump's administration to break his promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement – arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests.

    Remaining in the global deal to combat climate change will give U.S. negotiators a chance to advocate for coal in the future of the global energy mix, coal companies like Cloud Peak Energy Inc and Peabody Energy Corp told White House officials over the past few weeks, according to executives and a U.S. official familiar with the discussions.

    "The future is foreign markets, so the last thing you want to do if you are a coal company is to give up a U.S. seat in the international climate discussions and let the Europeans control the agenda," said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

    "They can’t afford for the most powerful advocate for fossil fuels to be away from the table," the official said.

    Cloud Peak and Peabody officials confirmed the discussions.

    In Cloud Peak's view, staying in the agreement and trying to encourage "a more balanced, reasonable and appropriate path forward" on fossil fuel technologies among signatories to the accord seems like a reasonable stance, said Cloud Peak's vice president of government affairs, Richard Reavey.

    The coal industry was interested in ensuring that the Paris deal provides a role for low-emission coal-fired power plants and financial support for carbon capture and storage technology, the officials said. They also want the pact to protect multilateral funding for international coal projects through bodies like the World Bank.

    The Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 countries in 2015, would seek to limit global warming by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from burning fossil fuels. As part of the deal, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

    During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed to pull the United States out of the pact, tapping into a well of concern among his fellow Republicans that the United States' energy habits would be policed by the United Nations.

    FILE PHOTO - Mining operations during a tour of Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle coal mine near Gillette© REUTERS/Kristina Barker/File Photo FILE PHOTO - Mining operations during a tour of Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle coal mine near Gillette

    But since being elected, he has been mostly quiet on the issue, and administration officials have recently been asking energy companies for advice.

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last week that the administration expected to make a decision on whether to remain a party to the deal by the time leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations meet in late May.

    The prospect of the United States remaining in the Paris deal has irritated some smaller miners, including Murray Energy Corp, whose chief executive, Robert Murray helped fund Trump’s presidential bid.

    Staying in the Paris accord could also face resistance from within Trump’s party. Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota has been circulating a letter among Republican lawmakers calling on the president to stay in the deal but has gathered only seven signatures so far.

    (Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Jonathan Oatis)

    Above is from

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Please consider these candidates on April 4





    Ken McBee

    Belvidere Township Highway Commissioner