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Archive for December 31st, 2013

Illinois Cops Working Overtime to Crack Down on Drunk Drivers; Unbuckled Motorists for New Year’s

Posted by Admin On December - 31 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Drunk Driving and Seat Belt Patrols Scheduled Through First Weekend of 2014

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As 2013 comes to an end, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police and over 250 law enforcement agencies across the state today reminded Illinois motorists that they will put in overtime during the New Year’s holiday and into 2014. This final push has a dual purpose: Zero motor vehicle fatalities during New Year’s; and a strong, safe start to 2014.

Hundreds of additional law enforcement hours funded with federal funds through IDOT will provide roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and other patrols reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket.” This statewide effort will ramp up during New Year’s Eve and continue strong through the first weekend of 2014 to help counteract what can tragically be one of the most dangerous times on Illinois roads.

IDOT crash data shows in the last five years (2008-2012) during the New Year’s holiday, 38 people died in motor vehicle crashes on Illinois public roadways. Fifteen, or 40 percent, of those 38 individuals, died in crashes involving at least one driver who had been drinking. During the same five-year timeframe on New Year’s, 2,868 people were injured.

During the previous New Year’s holiday, seven people lost their lives and 664 were injured in motor vehicle crashes on Illinois public roadways. Three of the seven fatalities resulted from crashes involving at least one drinking driver.

“Unfortunately, New Year’s on Illinois roads is deadly and can be one of most dangerous times of the year because of drunk drivers,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Motorists can expect to see Illinois State Police and hundreds of other local law enforcement officers in every corner of our state working hard to get drunk drivers off the road and keep the roads safe.”

“Getting behind the wheel after drinking too much is a criminal act that jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others on our roads. If you are going to drink, plan another way home before the celebration begins, and always buckle up in the front seat and back,” Secretary Schneider continued.

In 2009, 911 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes on Illinois public roadways, marking the first time in the Twentieth Century that Illinois experienced fewer than 1,000 fatalities on its roadways. Since then, Illinois has had 3 additional years with sub-1,000 highway fatalities. While it appears the 2013 fatality total will once again fall below 1,000, it is of concern that fatalities have risen slightly in the last two years and 2013 looks to be the third year in which a fatality increase will be recorded. As of Friday, December 27, with just 4 days left in the year, motor vehicle fatalities were 21 higher than at this point last year.

IDOT and law enforcement recommend designating a sober driver and not letting friends and family members drive drunk. These are just two of several simple steps to avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for drunk driving. Other important tips include:

· Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.

· If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

· Use your community’s designated driver program.

· Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement.

· Wear your seat belt and make sure all passengers are safely buckled up. It is your best defense against a drunk driver.

To view a preliminary daily snapshot of Illinois crash data for 2013, please visit http://wrc.dot.il.gov/fatalcrash/crashdata.aspx.

Topinka helps taxpayers ‘Follow the Money’

Posted by Admin On December - 31 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Tax return insert shows how dollars are spent

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday announced that when Illinois residents open their income tax returns in 2014, they will receive a breakdown of state spending, information about its unpaid bill backlog and other tools to help them better ‘follow the money.’

Beyond putting the financial information in every tax return check envelope, Topinka said her office will make it readily available to taxpayers online.

To view the insert, please visit illinoiscomptroller.com, and click the icon in the right corner of the page.

“There should be no mystery when it comes to public dollars in this state,” Topinka said. “Residents should know exactly where their money is spent and they shouldn’t have to dig for it. This insert gives taxpayers insight into state spending and directs them on where to go for even more detail.”

Specifically, the tax return insert illustrates what state agencies spend annually on everything from Education and Medicaid to Human Services and Corrections. It further provides snapshots of the state’s unpaid bills over time, documenting the backlog at the end of the fiscal year and six months later at the end of the calendar year. Finally, it refers residents to the Comptroller’s transparency websites, the Ledger and the Warehouse, for more detail on state and local finances.

The initiative is part of Topinka’s ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability in state and local government. In launching the Ledger last year, she enabled taxpayers to click their way through everything from the state’s daily bill backlog numbers to state agency budgets and employee salaries.

She more recently created the Warehouse, a comprehensive database that puts Local Government financial information and tens of thousands of records at a single location for taxpayer review. The Warehouse became possible in 2012 after Topinka successfully pushed for legislation requiring local governments and TIF Districts to file Annual Financial Reports electronically.

On Monday, the Comptroller thanked Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas for leading the way on the local level by introducing a similar insert last tax season.

“Treasurer Pappas introduced a similar initiative in Cook County and it raised awareness of how property tax dollars are spent,” Topinka said. “I am thrilled to do the same thing at the state level and take yet another step toward greater transparency. And I assure you, we’re not done yet – so stay tuned.”

Kohl Children’s Museum is ringing in the New Year with two kid friendly New Year’s Parties at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 P.M. on Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Posted by Admin On December - 31 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Entire Wing of the Museum to be Transformed into a Times Square-Style Party with Giant Confetti Drop During Both Celebrations

GLENVIEW, IL – Kohl Children’s Museum is ringing in the New Year with two Times Square-style parties designed specifically for young children with “midnight” celebrations at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at the Museum (2100 Patriot Boulevard). The Museum will transform an entire wing into a huge New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with giant confetti drops at “midnight.”

Children and their families will enjoy live musical performances, party hat making and horns, parachute play and “Imagination Playground” block play. Children and their families who attend the morning celebration at 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. geared towards the younger patrons (0-3 years old) will be treated to a children’s concert with Jeanie B, while guests of the 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. party, geared towards an older group (4-8 years old), will have a DJ and dance party. Stylists from KidSnips will also be on site to do free party hair styling and temporary hair coloring. All regular exhibits will also be open.

“New Year’s Eve is an exciting time for families and our special celebration allows guests to experience the ultimate celebration to ring in the New Year together,” said Museum President and CEO Sheridan Turner. “2014 is going to be a momentous year at the Museum, with new exhibits and events throughout the next 12 months that we can’t wait to unveil and share with all of our dedicated patrons.”

Tickets are $24 per person; Kohl Children’s Museum members can purchase advance tickets for the discounted price of $14. The Museum will be closed to the public on this date, other than to ticketed individuals. www.kohlchidlrensmuseum.org/nye

About Kohl Children’s Museum
In recognition for its outstanding exhibits and impact on Chicago land families, Kohl Children’s Museum was recently named one of the country’s Ten Best Children’s Museums by Parents Magazine. The Museum was ranked sixth out of more than 300 children’s museums nationwide and was the only Chicago area museum recognized.

Offering 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children age’s birth to 8, the Museum’s mission is to encourage young children to become effective learners through self-directed complex play. Kohl Children’s Museum is located at 2100 Patriot Blvd., in Glenview, Ill. at the corner of Patriot Blvd. and W. Lake Ave. in the newly redeveloped area known as The Glen. The Museum can be easily reached by public transportation, including Pace bus and Metra trains.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website at www.kohlchildrensmuseum.org or call (847) 832-6600. The Museum is open on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special members-only hours are from Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Admission prices are $9.50 for children and adults and $8.50 for senior citizens. Children under 1 year old and members are free.

Collins: Legal protections for homeowners seeking loan modifications extended until 2015

Posted by Admin On December - 31 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) heralded the signing last week of legislation that renews judicial protections for homeowners for the next two years. State law requires a judge to set aside a foreclosure sale if the bank disregards an existing loan modification agreement or the homeowner’s request for a modification through a federal foreclosure assistance program. The provision was scheduled to expire tomorrow, but once the federal program was extended, Collins saw the need to maintain state-level protections for the borrowers who take advantage of it.

“I am extremely pleased that Illinois is renewing its commitment to a program that has helped nearly fifty thousand homeowners and their families stay in their homes,” said Collins. “Faced with job loss, medical debt, falling property values or other obstacles, many of our neighbors are still in need of assistance and deserve the protection of the courts as they endeavor to make their payments and keep their homes.”

The Home Affordable Modification Program, part of the federal Making Home Affordable package of foreclosure assistance options, allows homeowners threatened with foreclosure to make mortgage payments that fit within their budgets. Most loan modifications involve a lower interest rate, but more than half extend the repayment term, and almost a third involve principal forbearance. A related program, HAMP-PRA (Principal Reduction Alternative), allows for part of the loan’s principal to be forgiven for some borrowers. The goal is to reduce the monthly payment to 31 percent or less of the homeowner’s gross monthly income.

Under state law, if a financial institution fails to adhere to the rules of the federal program and proceeds with a foreclosure action even though the borrower has requested assistance through HAMP and/or complied with an existing loan modification agreement, the homeowner can ask a judge to invalidate the sale of the home. Collins’ legislation extends the sunset date on that provision to December 31, 2015.

Better Business Bureau Offers Safe and Cost-Efficient Ways to Winterize Your Home

Posted by Admin On December - 31 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Each winter, consumers are looking for ways to save money on home heating. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests ways for homeowners to safely winterize their homes and save money in the process.

“High heating costs are a problem each winter when money is tight,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

“Winterizing a home is economical because a small up-front investment is worthwhile for months. It increases the energy efficiency of a house and lowers overall heating costs.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, more than 90% of the 116 million homes in the United States are expected to have higher heating costs than the previous winter. Homes heated primarily with propane are expected to spend an average of 9% more than last winter, and homes heated with electric heat are expected to spend 2% more. Fortunately, homeowners can reduce some of the costs by winterizing their home.

The BBB offers the following tips for winterizing homes:

  • Caulking and Weather Stripping. To prevent air leaks, homeowners should inspect the caulking around windows and doors to check for cracking and peeling. In addition, ensure that doors and windows are shut tightly and no cold air is coming in due to worn down weather stripping.
  • Ceiling fans. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan so the blades turn clockwise, you push warm air down and force it around the room.
  • Furnace. Furnaces older than 15 years might be due for a replacement. For newer furnaces, make sure the filter is clean and the thermostat is working properly.
  • Heating ducts. Ducts should be cleaned once every two years. Homeowners should also consider adding insulation to any exposed ductwork in order to prevent losing heated air.
  • Emergency kit. When a winter storm strikes, an emergency kit should have all essential materials in one handy place. An emergency kit should include flashlights, candles and matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a battery-powered radio. Create the same emergency kit for the car as well, including a couple blankets.
  • Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and install fresh batteries. Homeowners should consider replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years.
  • Gutters and ridge vents. Gutters should be cleaned to prevent any clogs that would cause rainwater to back up and freeze, making the gutters expand and crack. The ridge vents need to be cleaned as well in order to help prevent stagnate air.
  • Windows. Window screens should be taken down and replaced with storm windows; they provide an extra layer of protection and keep the house warmer. Investing in a window insulator kit is an inexpensive option to keep out drafts.

For more advice you can trust and free referrals on home maintenance and saving money this winter, visit BBB online at www.bbb.org

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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