17

Apr

2015

Speaker Madigan wants closer look at Rauner budget cuts

Author: Editor

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan announced Friday he'll convene a panel to dissect Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's handling of the budget after the administration froze $26 million in grants earmarked for programs ranging from autism services to burial for the poor.

The spending cuts outraged some lawmakers who said they didn't expect additional reductions after they struck a deal last month with Rauner to cut spending by about $300 million and sweep another $1.3 billion from special funds to fill an immediate shortfall.

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15

Apr

2015

Rauner pension fix could backfire, experts warn

Author: Editor

Richard Ingram, head of the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, likens efforts to fix Illinois' worst-in-the-nation pension mess to a game of whack-a-mole.

"You hit something somewhere and something else pops up," said Ingram, executive director of the state's largest government retirement fund, which represents nearly 400,000 active and retired teachers from suburban and Downstate districts.

Case in point, a landmark 2010 law cutting the cost of pensions offered to newly hired state workers and teachers, one that TRS experts fear could begin to backfire in little over a decade. Despite those concerns, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has made that law the backbone of his new attempt to save the state money by reducing pension benefits for a much larger pool of veteran employees.

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12

Apr

2015

Recycling event brings big crowd to Joliet

Author: Editor

Last year about 700 residents dropped off old electronics and hazardous materials for Recyclepalooza at Joliet Junior College.

On Saturday, about 700 cars went through in the event’s first hour – with six more to go.

“This is insane. I can’t even estimate how many [participants] we’ve seen already. There was a risk of being overwhelmed,” said Marta Keane, recycling program specialist and green business relations coordinator for the Resource Recovery & Energy Division.

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11

Apr

2015

Romeoville summit shares strategies on stopping heroin abuse

Author: Editor

Jeff Coady believes treating heroin addiction is not enough to curtail its widespread use — a comprehensive public health approach is needed.

Coady, a regional administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was one of several experts called to the 2015 HERO HELPS Community Summit on Friday in Romeoville.

“Detox is not recovery. That’s treating acute illness, not a patient,” Coady said during his presentation. “We want to be as comprehensive with our approach to treatment as possible.”

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10

Apr

2015

Congressman Foster won't run against Kirk, backs Duckworth

Author: Editor

Rep. Bill Foster, of Naperville, announced Friday that he will not challenge Republican Sen. Mark Kirk in 2016 and instead is backing another Democrat, Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Foster, a physicist, said in a statement he wanted to avoid a "costly and, ultimately unnecessary, primary" election.

He said he will serve as co-chairman of Duckworth's finance committee to help her raise cash for her race.

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