It is wonderful news for Carroll County that Highland Community College and the Tri-County Economic Development Alliance have partnered to cosponsor the first annual 2013 Carroll County Leadership Roundtable. This is an excellent opportunity for Carroll County to confront its economic challenges with increased resources.
The Roundtable will mimic the very successful Jo Daviess County Leadership Forum, which has been training and preparing leaders for over ten years. After an initial two day retreat during February, the Roundtable will meet for a half day each month concluding with a graduation ceremony during November. Each monthly session will take place in a different Carroll County community. A typical agenda will include speakers from the host community and discussion regarding how to apply the well known Kouzes-Posner leadership model. Participants will become very familiar with community and county issues and will learn how to approach those issues with the best chance of resolving them.
It is not necessary that Roundtable participants hold a current position of leadership. Any Carroll County resident who is interested in learning about and helping to resolve local issues is encouraged to register. Organizations and businesses are encouraged to sponsor participants.
The fee for the year long program is $1184. $684 goes to HCC as tuition for which Roundtable graduates receive three semester hours of college credit. The cost of books and materials is $500. For 2013 only, a USDA grant will pay the $500 portion for the first 15 registrants.
Most of us know all too well that Carroll County is experiencing difficult economic times. The Leadership Roundtable is an excellent opportunity for those who wish to go the extra mile to gain increased knowledge of the issues and acquire the tools to do something about them. For more information or to register please visit www.nwilbrc.com or call Jo-Carroll Energy at 815-858-2207, ext. 1210.
Director of Community Development
Thanksgiving Service in Mount Carroll
The United Methodist Church is the location of this year’s Mount Carroll Ministerial Association Thanksgiving service. The service is at 7 p.m. this Sunday, November 18.
We would like as many people as possible to attend in order that the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons begin by keeping Christ in our minds and hearts. This service opens our annual fund drive to help those in need during the next year. Donations may be given at the Thanksgiving service, in person or by mail though your local church, or by dropping coins and cash into the Mile of Coin jugs that are placed in numerous locations around town.
This Sunday also begins our efforts to provide Christmas gifts of clothing or toys for children that may not otherwise receive gifts. Gift tags will be available following the Thanksgiving service and on the Giving Trees placed around Mount Carroll. In addition, many of our seniors and families who have requested them will receive food baskets. This is accomplished by the donations of food by individuals and local organizations.
We hope to see the United Methodist church filled to overflowing for the Thanksgiving service. Thank you in advance for your support and may God bless each and everyone in and around Mt. Carroll.
Mount Carroll Ministerial Association:
Pastor Elizabeth Mascal, Rev. Teri Lafferty, Father Dennis Atto, Pastor Jack Smith, Pastor Vince Wilczynski, Clif Jacobs, Dana Keim, Harlan Brunner, Laura Smith, Mike Highland, Mike Risko, Kay Hartman, Howard Helms, Paul Figie, Richard Fortner
A Good Gloat
Republicans Lost?! Obama Won?! How could that possibly be? Many Republicans made it their No#1 priority to oppose everything Obama initiated and to ultimately remove him from office.
Republicans had the advantage in nearly every aspect of the seemingly endless campaign. They had the benefit of millions of Super-PAC funds. They had Fox News and dozens of conservative radio venues that pounded the opposition relentlessly. Democratic spokesmen had nowhere near the “rant-power” of Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter and Pobanz. Republicans had convinced evangelical Christians that they were the “Godly party” and had convinced Tea Party members that they were the only party that promoted liberty, freedom and constitutional purity.
Republicans had considerable success in painting Democrats as Romney’s free-loading 47%. (Out of a dozen Democrats, all but 2 of us have Masters or Doctoral degrees, and certainly none of us are sitting around waiting for a government handout.) Romney was the only “pure white” candidate, mirroring 75% of the electorate. Why then were Republicans so soundly defeated?
Political analysts have pointed to Republican failure to appeal to Blacks, Latinos, Asians, single parents, youth and women. I can think of a few more reasons:
Voters remembered the Bush years all too well and blamed Republicans for the huge increase in the national debt, the unregulated financial sector and the resulting Great Recession.
Tax breaks for wealthy investors and oil companies helped fill the Republican campaign coffers, but did little for the vote count.
While nearly everyone believes in the benefits of capitalism, “supply-side” Reaganomics”, with unregulated big business and tax breaks for the wealthy, has resulted in the greatest income disparity in the past 95 years. The wealthy have pocketed the money or given it to their overfed CEOs, while they’ve cut the average workers’ benefits and pay, and shipped their jobs overseas.
To those Right-Wing Republican congressmen who have held our government in gridlock for the past 4 years with a record number of filibusters and threats of filibuster, I would say the following: Ours is a democracy; it cannot function without some degree of compromise and cooperation. The American people have said, both in the voting booth and in exit polls, they want cooperation more than any partisan ideology. The majority has spoken.
4 More Years
Now that The One has won reelection, consider what you may look forward to:
The $2500 reduction in medical insurance costs for a family of four has morphed into a $3000 dollar increase after ObamaCare. Actuarial consulting firm Milliman was retained by the State of Ohio in August of 2011 to estimate the impact of Obamacare on the private insurance market. The 159-page report shows that Obamacare’s insurance mandates and regulations will dramatically increase the cost of individually-purchased insurance, by as much as 85%.
Senator James Imhofe (R-OK) was interviewed about what to expect in Obama’s second term. In his first budget, Obama destroyed the F-22, our only fifth generation fighter jet, and the C-17 providing lift capacity. The US plan to deflect missiles from Iran was also scuttled. Imhofe mentioned the federal agency regulations to go in place following the election, which Congress did not pass, including rules which will close the last coal-fired electric plant, increasing your energy costs by 50%. In a video, Imhofe speaks of the destruction of farming, fossil fuels and industry in America.
And finally, we have learned, due to an open mic, that The One plans to be more “flexible” in his dealings with Russia. We face dark times, but 2014 awaits. Come to the 11/15 Tea Party 6:30 meeting, 302 W. Main, Rockton.
Jane Carrell, Roscoe
Coordinator, Northern IL Tea Party
American Exceptionalism, Fact or Fiction?
Is the United States an exceptional country, or are we just one of many nations on the planet? If America is exceptional, why?
To start, what did the world look like before our founding? The nations of Europe were headed by monarchies. The “divine right of kings” was an established fact. The common people had virtually no rights. Among other things, there was no freedom of religion.
George Washington wrote in 1790 “The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.” Our form of government was something the world had never seen before. As Washington stated, it was a great experiment! It was indeed exceptional!
The French writer Tocqueville wrote about our nation in his 1831 work, Democracy in America. He noted that, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. Simply put, something or someone that is exceptional is uncommon. Not the norm.’
He also notes that it was the Puritans that established our democratic social state of equality. Upon them was built the foundation of religious and political liberty. This was unheard of in Europe.
We, the United States, would become the worlds great empire of liberty. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Trusted with the destinies of this solitary republic of the world, the only monument of human rights, and the sole depository of the sacred fire of freedom and self-government, from hence it is to be lighted up in other regions of the earth, if other regions of the earth shall ever become susceptible of its benign influence.”
Jefferson notes that our republic was solitary in all the world. That sounds uncommon to me. He also states that our nation was built with human rights in mind, and that as the sole depository of the sacred fire of freedom and self government, we would light this fire in other parts of the world, if they would have it. By referring to our freedom and self government as sacred, he is clearly giving the credit to God. This was also uncommon.
For this and many other reasons, the United States of America is an exceptional country. This is a fact. It is said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. We would do well to never forget how and why our country was founded. America is and needs to remain an exceptional country!
National Family Week
As we approach Thanksgiving and the annual celebration of National Family Week, November 18-24, it is important that all of us take time to measure the ways in which, during the past year, University of Illinois Extension has helped families make sustaining and enriching connections.
We should ask ourselves, “What have we done as a community, to connect families to the opportunities, networks, services, and sources of support that enable them to become self-sufficient?” As members of our community, we should take pride in the fact that we have over 550 youth that have joined in the “Revolution of Responsibility” through our 4H program and are learning valuable skills for a lifetime and making connections with caring adults. Over 300 adults generously donate their time to helping our youth in the 4H program each year. They do this without pay and because they are committed to our young people.
We have provided education to over 1800 parents, child care providers and family caregivers. They have learned how to help their children develop and grow, manage stress, take better care of their families, and engage in healthy social relationships.
We should thank our dedicated AmeriCorps volunteers that have helped to bring summer educational programming to youth in Carroll, Lee, and Whiteside Counties and who continue to engage in our youth in a robotics camp. Our devoted Master Gardener’s in Carroll, Lee, Whiteside counties provide thousands of volunteer hours to the community through educational seminars, community and youth gardens, and solving horticulture questions and problems. These volunteers share their expertise and passion for gardening, home horticulture and problem solving with our communities.
We have strengthened communities by helping them understand wind energy issues, cope with absentee landlords, and learn more about the election process and local government. We have helped people become better informed and equipped to manage and tackle tough issues.
We should all seize the opportunity presented to us each year by National Family Week to thank those whose efforts help strengthen families. Remember, National Family Week embraces the premise that children live better lives when their families are strong, and families are strong when they live in communities that connect them to economic opportunities, social networks, and services.
For more information about how you can join University of Illinois Extension as a volunteer or participant in our educational programs please call our main office at 815-835-2070.
Janice McCoy, Family Life Educator
University of Illinois Extension Carroll, Lee, Whiteside Unit
What a Win
Governor Romney and the rest of the Republican establishment were shell-shocked after the results of the recent election. They not only thought they had the election in the bag but during Election Day, they campaigned in Pennsylvania and Ohio trying to as they said “extends their win”. It was fortunate for us that reasonable people decided to vote even though voter suppression was at full force in some swing States controlled by them.
Based on the day to day State polls, President Obama was never trailing. The closest the Governor got was within a couple of points after the first debate when the President was totally unprepared for the Governor’s policy reversal to a moderate position. During the last few weeks before the election, the Republicans and their pundits in the Fox Propaganda channel kept telling us that the polls were skewed towards the President. Yes, a couple of polls like Gallop and Rasmussen had the Governor up a few points but the people in the know understood that these two pollsters have almost become irrelevant.
I never waste my time watching Fox but I must admit, I had to watch for a while to see their melt down on camera. It was great to see the biggest idiot in the Party, Karl Rove, tell the newscaster what to do. Think about it, here we have a very partisan Republican pundit telling a “news” channel what to do. Yea, Fox’s reporting is fair and balanced. In what planet!
It is amazing how far their lies and misinformation have reached in the Republican Party. They now believe their own nonsense. Well, at least I won’t have to listen to the Romney/Ryan lies. Maybe now with the re-election of President Obama, the Republicans in Congress will admit that the majority of the people have spoken and wants Government to work together to resolve the problems facing the country. Get to work! Get involved – make sure Congress gets to work.
Lake Carroll, IL
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
The anger and frustration from the unemployed, the underemployed, and employers of Northwest Illinois over the closing of the Freeport, Illinois IDES Office continues to swell.
Jay Rowell, the State Director, insists that this is an exaggeration. After all, he states, there have only be “a few” signers on the online petition to keep it open (well over 150). He states his recent trip to Freeport to talk with employers showed no significant concern. (I wasn’t invited.)
The meeting held at the Freeport Public Library on the evening of November 1, 2012 showed exactly the opposite. Mr. Rowell, you may be the Director, you may have your view from Chicago, but you absolutely have this one all wrong. I don’t want to believe what many do, that this is a political issue. Once again, the “forgotten frontier”, Northwest Illinois comes up short.
Here is a huge part of the frustration. Just go on line if you have computer skills, if not call my office. Take a look at this agency bloating at the top with new high five and six figure salaried agency positions. It makes one want to scream. Mr. Rowell argues these new administrative positions are necessary as they consolidate offices in order to get more efficiency. Really!! The Freeport office has lost over twenty five percent of their personnel since 2008 that were there to be of assistance to Northwest Illinois workers, want to be workers and employers. They efficiently help those in need as they look in their eyes. No, I do not accept Mr. Rowell’s argument that this is streamlining the IDES commitment across the state by fattening the larder with fourteen new positions of the forty directly subordinate to the director.
To his credit Mr. Rowell has answered my phone messages each time I’ve called him. To my frustration as I’ve stated in a recent article is his “line in the sand” and he refuses to budge.
This very morning, one day after the election, I specifically asked Mr. Rowell if the responses from the fifty two citizens that attended our meeting at the Freeport Public Library on November 1, 2012 have any bearing on his decision. The response was frustrating in that he inferred that the election reinforces it. I didn’t push that response I simply left it lay.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon lists her goals for rural affairs to “develop strategies that improve access and deployment of available rural programs/services”.
Northwest Illinois is not an urban area. We are an area that desperately needs the services of our local IDES office. Compared to Chicago we are very rural. To require folks from East Dubuque and Hanover to travel to Rockford for services is simply an embarrassment to our great state. No Mr. Rowell I will not roll over and play dead. My district deserves better.