Mother Nature’s clock is accurately ticking, however, with the correct times being spelled out in wildflowers emerging. Wild Phlox are flocking. Spring beauties have sprung. Rue Anemone rue the cold mornings. Wildflowers go by their strict time clock.
Do you enjoy the Melon Days festival in Thomson over Labor Day weekend? Would you be disappointed if the festival was brought to an end?
We need your help!! Melon Days is in search of volunteers willing to help with organizing and/or the festival. Over the last few years, the number of volunteers has dropped significantly. We will not be able to have the festival this year if more people do not volunteer their time. Currently, there are approximately four members trying to put this year’s festival together. That is nowhere near enough. We are volunteering our free time & taking time away from our families & some even from our jobs, to try and put this festival together. We can’t do this alone and need help.
We feel it’s a great festival for Thomson and the surrounding areas. It offers affordable and different activities for families & people of all ages. The festival has proven to be a good way to give back to the community by donating towards scholarships and other community needs. It also offers opportunities for organizations in the area.
If you would be interested in helping with Melon Days and want to see it continue, come to our next meeting & vote yes to keep Melon Days alive. The next meeting is Tuesday, May 25th at 7:00pm at the Sunrise Restaurant located on IL 84.
2010 Melon Days President
HCC Thanks Adult Ed Volunteers
As another year for Highland Community College’s Adult Education Volunteer Literacy Program ends, we pay tribute to our volunteer tutors who commit their time and talents to benefit our students and the entities that provide convenient tutoring space.
Dedicated tutors show compassion, patience and understanding while tutoring students. Volunteers become a teacher, a confidant, a role model, and a trusted friend. They accept their responsibility with dedication, and give precious time to help student’s goals become a reality.
Our volunteers make profound differences in the lives of students. Through their tutelage, students are enabled to pass the GED, improve basic math and reading skills, and improve English. We are grateful for the many citizens that have tutored and are currently tutoring. Volunteers within the Highland Community District have committed themselves in striving toward a more literate society.
We appreciate the tutoring sites where volunteers and students meet. Tutoring has occurred at the following sites in the last few years: public libraries (Freeport, Stockton, Lena, Forreston, Pecatonica, Mt. Morris, Mt. Carroll, Savanna, and Galena), churches (Faith United Methodist Church and St. John United Church of Christ in Freeport, Faith Community Church in Davis, and Savanna First United Methodist Church), US Bank in Rock City, FACC and FHA facilities in Freeport, Stockton Public School, Stephenson County Jail, Mt. Morris Senior Center, Carroll County Courthouse, HCC in Freeport and Elizabeth.
On behalf of our committed students, THANK YOU.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in the Adult Education Literacy Program, know of someone who could benefit from our services, or have space for tutoring, please call 815-599-3538.
HCC Adult Ed Volunteer Literacy Program
West Carroll PTO Efforts Appreciated
Often times in a community the focus is on the negative and the positive is pushed aside. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the members of the West Carroll PTO, President Teresa Duggan and the members of her extremely active board for their VERY positive actions. Though their efforts are not always publicized they are greatly appreciated by the parents, staff and students of the West Carroll School District.
Many are not aware that this group of parents and faculty support the Early Steps Preschool through the Middle School grades. In all they have raised more than $15,000 this year alone. This is a group that is working hard to provide for our students. Some of the ways that this money was raised include bulb sales, pizza sales, collecting more than $3000 in Box Tops for Education and a significant number of Campbell Soup labels. They held a Winter Carnival and put on an assembly for the primary school. Through their efforts they have provided money to all of these grade levels to help fund field trips, purchase the writing bags for the 1st grade students entering 2nd, purchase screens for the middle school classrooms, and many other initiatives that just no longer can be covered by the budget.
If you have supported the PTO in the past you should be very proud of what they are doing for our schools. Unfortunately some people would rather focus on the negative and try to bring this group down. As a parent and former president of this organization all I can say is stop. Your students are benefiting from this just as much as the child sitting in the next desk. Think of all the great things we could do for our schools if we all supported the PTO in a positive way. This summer why not start collecting your Box Tops and Campbell Soup labels. Watch the paper for the PTO meeting dates and become a part of the program. It can only survive if we all take an active role in our children’s educational future.
I also appreciate and understand the role that the Education Foundation has in our school as well. I think what they are able to do with the telethon is phenomenal. The PTO is a separate entity that works with the Education Foundation and together these two groups make for a more enriched environment for learning.
Consider joining the PTO. And if you can’t join, please support them. You can drop off Box Tops & Campbell Soup labels at the local grocery stores or any of the school offices. Watch for notices of upcoming meetings and attend! All ideas are welcome. If you’d like more information on PTO contact the school office near you and they can get you in touch with Teresa.
Keep up the good work!
Just Another Tax Increase
Reply to rep. Jim Sacia’s May 19 column . . .
Jim, I think you know I agree with you most of the time, but I disagree with your last weeks’ article on a few points about saving the (Illinois State) troopers jobs.
1- You say the argument is thrown out the window that money is lost from local government, because it saves troopers jobs. The fact is that money does leave the local government whether trooper jobs are lost or saved. Also, if they get a higher percentage of the fines, it will just give them more incentive to write more tickets when they need money.
2 - It appears that you are disappointed that the Supreme Court will not allow you to raise traffic fines above $75 to pay to keep the troopers on. That is just another tax increase, which would be sad. It appears that you are always ready to do most anything to help out the police. That is understandable, since you are a FBI (retired) agent. I want to encourage you to stay focused on the taxpayer more than keeping government jobs.
3 - Please read Jim Tobin’s letter and other info. from the Taxpayers United of Illinois (http://www.ntui.org) about the Trooper layoffs. It is outrageous that 35% make over $100,000 per year and, I assume, plus benefits. That is more than twice what my wife and I make together and we have no benefits. We pay for them all out of our own pocket. But that is the way it is for a private business man that pays all the taxes to support government jobs.
Jim, you have so many good ideas on how to cut spending and I wish you the best in getting some of them implemented. I have another idea. Tell me what is wrong with the idea of cutting salaries and pensions on all government employees who make over the median income until the budget is balanced? What an incentive that would be to cut out the waste, pork, fat or whatever you want to call it. Don’t forget us! God Bless you.
I had the pleasure of attending a Skateboard Park Committee meeting chaired by Jack Fosdick on Wednesday, April 19, 2010. In addition to Jack Fosdick were Committee Members Bill Grummitt, Lois Hunsaker and Paul Hartman. Kurt Dreger, Lars Colgan and yours truly were also present. The meeting was run in a professional and expeditious manner, getting a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. If all of the City Council and/or Committee meetings had been run in this manner, I wouldn’t have had to begin writing letters in the first place. Something was finally being done for the youth of Savanna and the members of the committee realized it. For the first time in a long time, there was no in-fighting, no one was admonishing someone for talking out of turn, telling them they were out or order or had no business talking in the first place. KUDOS to the Skateboard Park Committee!! Now, however, with the grand opening of the part approximately two weeks off, people are coming out of the woodwork wanting to be given some of kind of credit. Where were these people for the last four years?
I read in the Savanna Times Journal May 20, 2010 that Savanna has taken the first step for a new wastewater treatment plant. That’s fantastic news; I only hope it’s not too late. However this brings up another question. If the grant money has yet to be received, where is the $50,000.00 for Willett Hofmann and Associates’ engineering study coming from? Here we go again with another engineering study! Let me see now. That’s $50,000.00 for a treatment plant engineering study and $65,000.00 for the engineering study done for the albatross on Chicago Avenue. An engineering study by MSA Professional Services was done for a Sewer Treatment Facility Operation and Needs Review for Savanna back in 2008. Nothing was done with that study. How much did that cost or is that just more of Savanna Taxpayer’s money down the drain? That’s $120,000.00 for engineering studies plus whatever the 1980 study cost. It seems the engineering companies are making a lot of money and Savanna has nothing to show for it. At this rate, there won’t be money left to complete any projects.
There still has not been a satisfactory explanation on where the additional $500,000.00 for the albatross on Chicago Avenue is coming from. You know, the New Village Hall that the City needs more than it needs sewers, streets, and general over-all cleaning up. It seems we are always told that the bids haven’t come in yet, so we don’t know how much it’s going to cost. That building has just about been gutted by now. Even if the bids come in higher than anticipated, the City will have no choice but to go ahead with the project. No one will want to buy it in the condition it’s now in. The city shouldn’t have bought it in the condition it was in.
Why Preacher Lost His Job
In his May 12 Letter, Arthur Donart of Thomson said that because someone complained to the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church about his homily on the feast of the Holy Family last year (in which he claimed that “gay marriage is no threat to marriage and the family) he has not been asked to preach since. That, plus the fact that there is no St. Mary’s in Thomson, perplexed me, so I called him up to get some clarification.
Turns out St. Mary’s is in Dixon, not Thomson, and has since been demolished. Its parishioners, plus those of the former St. Irenaeus and former St. Pat’s, now attend a new parish, Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Sounds like some “consolidation” is going on.
And no wonder! Catholics in the Southeast quadrant of the Iowa in the diocese of Davenport get a “bottom up” sermon mocking the official teaching of the Church on the very feast day of the Holy Family. Congratulations to the “Chicken Little(s)” who protested. I hope more than one sheep noticed his poor timing and worse theology.
He said he was familiar with the Church’s official teaching on this subject as summarized, for example, in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 1996 statement, which reads, in part, “The Roman Catholic Church believes that marriage is a faithful, exclusive, and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love...
“The institution of marriage has a very important relationship to the continuation of the human race, to the total development of the human person, and to the dignity, stability, peace, and prosperity of the family and of society...
“Because the marital relationship offers benefits, unlike any other, to persons, to society, and to the church, we wish to make it clear that the institution of marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, must be preserved, protected, and promoted in both private and public realms. At a time when family life is under significant stress, the principled defense of marriage is an urgent necessity for the well-being of children and families, and for the common good of society.
“Thus, we oppose attempts to grant the legal status of marriage to a relationship between persons of the same sex. No same-sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship expresses. For this reason, our opposition to “same-sex marriage” is not an instance of unjust discrimination or animosity toward homosexual persons. In fact, the Catholic Church teaches emphatically that individuals and society must respect the basic human dignity of all persons, including those with a homosexual orientation. Homosexual persons have a right to and deserve our respect, compassion, understanding, and defense against prejudice, attacks and abuse.” Yet he failed to remind his audience of these facts.
Notice, the bishops said nothing about the sky falling in. Nothing about “civil rights” or “religious freedom.” Rather, it’s about “upholding the human dignity of every person and…the distinct and irreplaceable community of marriage.”
Notice, too, that the teaching is not based on interviews with couples, no matter how long they’ve been married. That’s not how doctrine is determined in Rome, and Deacon Donart knows that. Catholics in the pews have a right to the truth and freedom from the private opinions of homilists.
So why he is “appalled” that the Church supports a “Defense of Marriage” amendment is a mystery only he can explain.
Pearl City, IL
Saving Tax Dollars
Richard O’Connor (May 19) reports that Obama came to London with 500 staff members, but neglects to mention that George Bush, in his November 2003 trip to London, was accompanied by 700 staff members. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/nov/19/uk.iraq Perhaps Obama, in comparison, was trying to save the taxpayers some money.
The days when a president, such as Truman 60 years ago, could walk down Pennsylvania Ave. chatting with people are long over (and Truman was not “by himself,” the Secret Service accompanied him). Bush, Clinton, etc. did not do such a thing, why pick on Obama?
O’Connor’s assertion that Michelle Obama did not accompany her husband to Arab countries because of Sharia law is false. In April 2009 Obama did not visit any Sharia law-governed countries. Even if he had, there are no provisions that would prohibit a woman from accompanying her husband on a visit. Even if there were such a provision, the President of the US would not be subject to such a law. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/sharia.asp
O’Connor suggests that Michelle Obama, by referring to Kenya as Obama’s “home country,” is admitting he was born in Kenya. I have many friends whose parents were born overseas, for example Ireland. They often refer to or visit these countries, calling them their “home country,” meaning the country where their ancestors were from. Oops! We forget, the Irish are white people, Kenyans are not.
Even more disturbing than O’Connor’s crazy letter is the Publisher’s note from Tom Kocal, on the same page, encouraging this sort of nonsense. He asserts that Obama has not provided a copy of his birth certificate. This is also false. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp The “certificate of live birth,” the original of which has been verified as authentic, was posted on the internet in June 2008. I also have obtained certificates of my birth from the Cook County courthouse and they are similar to Obama’s. The above URL also reproduces a photo copy of Obama’s birth announcement that appeared in a Hawaiian newspaper. However, nothing will satisfy the “birthers.” This is a forgery, that’s a forgery, Obama’s mother (an American citizen) was not really his mother, etc.
Richard O’Connor asserts that the “information” he gives is “not to be found in the New York Times.” The New York Times, we hope, does not use unidentified e-mails, without fact-checking their authenticity, as its news sources.
Mount Carroll, IL
Conflict of Interest ensnares White House Health Office head
Americans for Limited Government demands her removal
Fairfax, VA, May 20, 2010 – White House Director of the Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle is the latest Obama official with unacceptable ties to individual companies in an industry in which her office determines who survives and who doesn’t.
Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson contends that, “DeParle is the exact kind of revolving-door political appointee that Obama railed against during his campaign.
She regulated health care companies in the Clinton Administration, made millions serving on the boards of seven of those companies while out of power during the Bush Administration, and now she is overseeing Obamacare giving her tremendous ability to pick winners and losers.”
While she is technically required to recuse herself for two years, the very nature of her job requires that DeParle be intimately involved in developing hundreds of thousands of pages of rules and regulations impacting every aspect of the health care system.
The development of an electronic medical records system is just one area that is both unavoidable and troublesome. DeParle served on the Board of Directors of medical records software producer Cerner Corporation from 2001 to 2009, being paid at least $680,000. When developing regulations, Cerner competitors and taxpayers would be right to question how much her decision making on guidelines could steer business toward Cerner whether they had the best product for the job or not.
Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, and a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Plan clearly expresses this concern stating, “The woman owes her fortune to the corporations that she is making decisions about. She cashed in really big on her previous role in government and made millions and millions of dollars. Then she divests and all of a sudden she’s Snow White? It’s ridiculous.”
Beyond picking winners and losers in industry, the record of the companies providing DeParle her largesse is spotty at best. Seven companies, which paid her millions to serve on their Board of Directors, ran afoul of the law with problems like concealing patient deaths from regulators, irregular billing investigations, using unlicensed personnel in violation of state laws, and overbilling the government and filing false claims.
ALG’s Wilson reminds that, “Since 2006, Directors are much more accountable for the legal failings of the companies they are supposed to oversee, yet DeParle has engaged in check cashing without accountability, and now oversees these very companies who have paid massive fines because of their rule breaking under her watch.
Her conflicts of interest make her unfit to serve, and Obama should immediately request her resignation.”
Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please call us at 703-383-0880 or visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.