CHANGE: the act or instance of making or becoming different
The definition says it all! Every day of our lives change is something we cannot stop! Change can be uncomfortable and at times frightening. Change is something that we HAVE to embrace… something that we HAVE to grow with! Savanna as a “community” HAS to change. The question is how?? Help me by starting change with you and with each other at home, work, school, and play. Get involved! Participate! I urge each of you to go to a school board meeting, a city council meeting, a park district meeting – find out what is going on around you. Join a board, join a civic club, or join a church – branch out. Just be present! I want to be a part of the change in Savanna! I am present and shouting from the roof tops – HELP ME – HELP US!!
Dem Senators on Responsibility for ObamaCare: Who, Us!?
Did you hear about the recent Senate hearing where Gary Cohen, a top Obama administration health care official and head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee, its chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA)?
No, you say? Well, we could hardly blame you if you haven’t. As the always entertaining James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal points out, the hearing seems only to have received any media coverage in two specialized publications: The Hill and Kaiser Health News.
But, as Taranto highlights, at this hearing the aforementioned Senators (all of whom voted for ObamaCare) “tore into [Cohen].” Why, you ask?
[Washington Sen.] Cantwell, the Hill reports, “criticized the administration for delaying implementation of the Basic Health Program—an option for states to provide cost-efficient health coverage outside of Medicaid and the law’s new insurance exchanges.” It was supposed to start next year but the administration is delaying it until 2015. Cantwell asked Cohen: “Are you artificially raising the cost to all taxpayers by trying to lure them onto the exchange?” (Cohen said no, the Basic Health Plan, in the Hill’s paraphrase, “simply had to take a backseat to other priorities.”)
You’d think if the Obama administration was attempting to compel people into ObamaCare’s exchanges, it might merit a little news coverage? But wait, there’s more:
“Wyden pressed Cohen to help find ways to resolve a glitch in the law which may result in the denial of federal assistance to millions of Americans of modest means who could be priced out of family health coverage at work,” according to Kaiser. At issue is an IRS ruling limiting federal subsidies for such plans. Said Wyden: “We’ve got millions of people—working-class, middle-class people—who are going to be pushed into a regulatory health coverage no man’s land.” So much for President Obama’s promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it.
This is hardly the first instance where the President’s promise that if you like your coverage you can keep it has been proven false. But, needless to say, the Senators who voted for this legislative monstrosity are stepping up to take responsibility for it. Or not:
“Democrats are getting nervous and consequently are trying to put some distance between themselves and the ACA,” [blogger Walter Russell] Mead observes, ... “We don’t blame them for trying, but it may be a futile effort. For better or worse, their fates are now tied to that of Obamacare.”
Indeed there isn’t much point in blaming them for trying. But they deserve the blame for imposing this monstrosity on the country. To quote Bill Nelson: “I want somebody to be accountable for this, and if it was a mistake, for somebody to own up to it.
If you really want to find someone to blame, Sen. Nelson, we recommend you go seek out a mirror.
Throughout history, 4-H has produced strong youth leaders for our communities. Through 4-H programs, our youth develop strong communication skills and a concern for their community. 4-Hers learn about citizenship, build positive peer relationships, and realize their own potential by strengthening their talents and exploring new interests.
I am increasingly concerned with the financial struggles of our state and therefore the struggles of organizations like 4-H. I’ve joined a group of community leaders to create the Carroll County 4-H Foundation. During our last meeting, we created a short survey to ask community members for their input as we develop our mission, values and strategic plan.
Visit this website: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WVRS3HC or call the Extension office to request a paper copy of the survey. Please let us know what you value about 4-H! The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and your input is greatly appreciated. Complete your online survey or mail your paper copy no later than Saturday, March 9th.
I spent the bulk of my childhood and years as an early adult involved in 4-H. As a member of the Chadwick Country Cuzins 4-H Club and County 4-H Ambassador, I learned many skills that carried me through high school, college and into my career. Through talks and demonstrations, county fair, community service projects and more, 4-H has taught me leadership, compassion and communication skills that I use every day.
I currently volunteer as a leader for both the 4-H Jr. Ambassadors and County 4-H Federation. I see firsthand the exciting opportunities these young people have in front of them and want to make sure their aspirations of a great community can be fulfilled.
When I have children someday, I don’t want to tell them what a great organization 4-H WAS. I want them to be involved in a 4-H Club, participate in community service projects, and learn each day how great this organization IS.
Visit the “University of Illinois Extension-Carroll County 4-H” Facebook page too, for a link to the survey or request a copy from the Extension office by calling 815-244-9444. Thanks in advance for your support!
Heidi Weber, 4-H Alum
Marti for Mayor
My decision to become a candidate for Mayor of Morrison came with my persistence to make Morrison more open to its residents. Over the past four years (two of those years I have been an alderman for Ward four) I have written countless letters to the editor. Though it is not required of aldermen, I attend the Morrison Business Advisory Group meetings and the Historic Preservation Commission meetings regularly to get feedback from those entities. I felt that the residents/taxpayers need to know what is going on in the city from another taxpayer.
By voting “Marti for Mayor”, I will continue to work hard for the City of Morrison. These are my goals: I would like to see us budget our balance not balance our budget; to review and put a cap on city government overspending; help research projects BEFORE they become a burden on taxpayers; and take care of community necessities first, like water and streets. I believe in M.O.R.E. C.U.T.S. meaning Managing Our Resources Efficiently Citizens United To Save.
Not many people know that I was the “First Woman Jaycee” in Carroll County, when women were allowed to become Jaycees. The Jaycees is a “young peoples’ leadership training organization”. As a Jaycee I was a regular member and also held leadership roles as Local Director, Secretary and President. I was listed in the 1987 Outstanding Young Women of America publication.
Presently, I am the American Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator for Blood Services at the Gateway Chapter in Clinton, IA. I am also a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team. We respond to fires and other disasters.
I know in the next four years, many things will change. We will see a new Mayor and possibly four new aldermen. I would like to see an orientation for the incoming aldermen and mayor. If we do not give the proper tools to our workers, how can they do their jobs?
The city has always worked toward promotion of growth of new businesses. Morrison Chamber of Commerce and Morrison Area Development Corporation (MADC) does whatever it takes to promote our industrial park and attract new business to our city. The Morrison Business Advisory Group (MBAG) continues to discuss ways to revitalize our downtown and to better serve our businesses on the outskirts of town. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has tried to preserve Morrison’s past by encouraging residents to refurbish their buildings rather than replace them. The Planning/Zoning Board works with the residents and the county to make sure we are following the zoning laws for our city. Our Library Board works hard to keep our Library current and accessible to all residents.
Morrison is becoming a “resident friendly” city. We will, as a community, strive to have honest, open communication with our residents. We want to make Morrison an attractive place for people of all ages to live, work and play.
If you have any questions or comments, I welcome them. You may contact me at 815-590-2378 anytime. Thank you for your support. Meet the candidates on March 21, 2013 at the O’Dell Library Community Room at 6:00 pm. Hope to see you there.
Marti (Martha) Wood
Immigration Reform: Considering the Guest Worker Program
By Helen E. Krieble
Suddenly, everyone in Washington seems to agree on the need for immigration reform, and they may even agree on most of the details. That’s because nobody has said yet what the exact details are. A “gang of eight” senators has proposed legislation, several House members have proposals, and a leaked White House immigration plan reveals that the president now has very similar designs, so it seems that agreement must be forthcoming.
But only in Washington do leaders first vote for the bill so they can later find out what’s in it. In the current immigration debate, what’s in it matters a great deal. Success or failure depends on the details.
Almost every plan for immigration reform includes enhanced border security, better employment verification, a path to some form of legal status for people already here illegally, and lastly—almost an afterthought—a new guest worker program.
As to a guest worker program … such a program cannot be an afterthought, and it cannot wait for the details to be added later. It ought to be the cornerstone of the entire effort.
A simple work-permit system can solve the problem for future workers and those already here without authorization. Such a program doesn’t need to blur the line between legal worker status and citizenship. Nor does it need to treat different groups differently, as would limited proposals like the DREAM Act, an agricultural jobs bill, or plans to grant green cards only to students with certain college degrees or those who serve in the military. Strong arguments can be made for all those approaches, but none of them solves more than a fraction of the problem, and they’re all contrary to the basic American principle of equal treatment under law. Rather, any successful program must guarantee three essential elements—opportunity, protection and fairness—for employers, for new workers coming in, for those already here illegally, and for Americans worried about border security.
Opportunity, protection, and fairness are in the eye of the beholder. That’s why so much discussion centers on a market-driven plan called the Red Card Guest Worker Permit—a quick and simple process whereby private employment firms would be authorized to set up offices anywhere in the world, run criminal background checks on prospective workers, and issue guest worker permits to specific workers for specific jobs. These firms would utilize the most modern technology, always readily employed first in the private sector, but often coming to government bureaucracies ever so slowly.
Private employment firms operate databases on which employers post available jobs and workers post qualifications, each paying their own fees for the service, which offers an already-understood process for matching foreign workers with American employers who need them. This proposal would simply allow these companies to do what they do best: match workers and jobs, and issue guest worker permits with smart-card technology that allows tracking, changing, upgrading, renewing, or cancelling as needed. That provides answers for people on both sides of the politics.
For conservatives, that means opportunity: for businesses to get the workers they need, for workers to find legal jobs and earn good money, for the economy to grow and prosper. It means protection: from mass amnesty and from a porous border. And it means fairness: in keeping families together and treating all equally—no special deals are needed for special groups. In fact, under this plan, there would be no further need for the alphabet-soup of complex visa classifications that add to the bureaucratic nightmare currently faced by employers and employees alike.
For liberals, the same program means opportunity: by giving workers upward mobility, portability, and renewal as long as they stay employed and productive. If they wish, they can apply for citizenship while working legally, a completely separate process. It means protection: against abusive employers, freedom from exploitation, and the ability for workers to enter through a gate rather than risking their lives sneaking across borders or paying exorbitant fees to smugglers and coyotes. And it means fairness: in bringing families together (both sides care about that), and equal treatment for all—a chance for the undocumented to come out of the shadows and be treated like all other workers.
Any plan that appeals to people on all sides of this debate will inevitably attract attention. This one is already being considered carefully by a wide range of policy makers and congressional leaders in both Houses. A market-based guest worker component must be part of any immigration reform that has a chance to work, but it is more than just one part—it is the cornerstone.
— Helen Krieble is president of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation and chairs the Center for Opportunity, Protection and Fairness. The author of “Two Paths to Safety: A Private Sector Initiative to Break the Illegal Immigration Deadlock,” she is a contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College and will be participating in the Center’s upcoming conference: “Citizenship and the American Cause.”
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
“Obama Care”, officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has become a household term. Following Chief Justice Roberts, considered by many as a conservative and appointed by President Bush, casting the deciding Supreme Court vote, it is now the law of the land.
I’m not its biggest fan, but the law is the law and I sit on the committee formulating its inception in Illinois. I need to get my arms around it which is no easy task. The rules are constantly changing and getting straight answers is a real challenge.
My effort here is to help you understand the basics. The ACA requires states to develop health insurance exchanges where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase affordable private health insurance at competitive prices which meet minimum requirements established by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Many compare these exchanges to online travel websites such as Orbitz or Expedia. ALLEGEDLY, customers will be able to comparison shop for a plan that best fits their needs.
Our federal government will operate the exchange website for online enrollment and call centers will be offered for telephone enrollment and customer support as well as the “Navigator” program to offer “in person” enrollment assistance. I’m trying not to be cynical but I can hear it now, “Your call is important to us, your wait time will be 46 minutes.” (I so hope I’m wrong.)
The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) will oversee consumer assistance and plan management, as well as recommendations to the Federal Government as to which commercial health insurance plans to make available through the exchange.
ALLEGEDLY, we in Illinois have already received $38.2 million in federal grants to establish exchange related activities. Six states including Illinois are participating in this partnership exchange.
There are two other exchange models: state based and federally facilitated.
The state based system has the state managing all the major exchange functions including contracting with health plans and building the necessary IT infrastructure. States can use federal services to determine eligibility for tax credit and cost sharing and operate risk adjustment and reimbursement programs. Eighteen states and Washington, DC are state participants.
The federal facilitated exchange has HHS responsible for operating the exchange and coordination with state agencies on numerous different functions. They will adopt a clearinghouse model and contract with health plans that meet all the standards. Seventeen states are participating. These are mainly states with Republican Governors who refused to set up state plans. Nine states are still deliberating which exchange is best for them.
For Illinois, March 1, 2013 HHS will begin that operational process. On October 1, 2013 our open enrollment begins. If Illinois expects to operate a state exchange in 2015 we must file that intent with the federal government by November 16, 2013. On January 1, 2014 our partnership exchange will be operational.
If your eyes haven’t glazed over, try reading the entire bill, they will.