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Archive for July 1st, 2015

Consumer Fraud Lawsuits Target Three Companies for Deceptive Business Practices Relating to Home Repairs

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Three contractors are the targets of separate lawsuits filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on behalf of consumers who were defrauded out of thousands of dollars in payments for home repair or remodeling work that was never performed or properly completed, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

The lawsuits, which were filed today in the Circuit Court of Cook County, allege that the contractors defrauded consumers out of more than $15,000 for home repair and remodeling services. It further alleges that the businesses failed to start or complete work under contract and in some cases then failed to provide refunds to consumers following written demand by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“There is nothing more frustrating for a homeowner than to invest in a home improvement or repair project only to be bilked out of your hard earned money by an unscrupulous contractor or a deceptive contract,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez.

“As the summer home repair and remodeling season kicks into high gear, the State’s Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit continues to investigate violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Home Repair and Remodeling Acts and we encourage homeowners to contact our office if they have been the victim of home repair fraud.”

Named in the lawsuits are: Juan Hurtado and company representative Michael Sanchez of Rinnovo Exteriors Inc., located at 1654 Hicks Road in Rolling Meadows; Jeffrey Wixon and his company, Fino Creative Enterprises Inc., located at 2967 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, and Dan Simmons and his company, Beverly Fence Company, formerly located at 2626 W. 111th Street in Chicago.

The first suit names Rinnovo owner Hurtado and claims specialist Sanchez, alleging that the pair accepted more than $7,400 for roofing, siding, and garage repairs that were never started. According to the lawsuit, Sanchez met the victims at their Round Lake Beach home in July of 2014 while soliciting customers after a hail storm and offered Rinnovo’s services to fix storm damage to the victims’ roof, siding, and gutters.

The couple eventually signed over an insurance claim check of $7,433.41 as a down payment on their contract and although they were shown sample books of roofing and siding materials to choose for their project, no work was ever even begun, despite repeated demands by the customers.

According to the lawsuit, the Rinnovo contract failed to provide statutory disclosure of the consumer’s right to cancel the contract as required by consumer protection law. In addition, the defendants offered to perform public insurance adjusting and roofing services without being licensed to do so, which is in violation of the Roofing Licensing Act as well as the Home Repair and Remodeling and the Consumer Fraud Acts.

The second suit, which names Wixon and Fino Creative Enterprises, alleges similar deceptive business practices for accepting monies from customers to refinish existing windows or to provide new replacement windows then failing to perform any of the contracted work.

In one case, Wixon is alleged to have failed to return a $3,500 payment for new windows that were never delivered or installed. The lawsuit also alleges that Wixon did not possess mandatory insurance coverage, and failed to provide customers with mandatory contractual language regarding their right to cancellation.

The third lawsuit targets the now defunct Beverly Fence Co. and its owner-operator, Simmons, who is accused of falsely representing his business as existing since 1929 and fraudulently claiming that Beverly was licensed and insured to install residential fences.

In actuality, Beverly Fence Co. was involuntarily dissolved in 2012, did not maintain a home repair license and had been ordered by the City of Chicago to cease and desist installing residential fences in Chicago without a license.

The lawsuit also alleges that Simmons took substantial deposits from two customers, failed to begin work on either project and caused a power outage due to the improper installation of a fence during a separate job. Simmons subsequently ignored numerous consumer requests for refunds.

All of the lawsuits filed seek restitution for the victims and a court-ordered prohibition against the defendants from further engaging in similar business practices, as well as reimbursements to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for the cost of investigating and litigating these lawsuits.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit offers help and guidance for consumers to help recover losses and State’s Attorney Alvarez encourages any Cook County resident with a home repair fraud complaint to call the Consumer Fraud Hotline at 312-603-8700.

Summer Scams: The BBB’s Hot Five

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL -  Summer for most people is the perfect time to go to a concert or take a vacation. For con artists, warm weather means their scam efforts heat up. Nationwide there are thousands of victims and millions of dollars lost to scammers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of popular summer scams.

“Scammers have been putting a lot of effort into convincing consumers that they are the real deal”, said Steve Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Avoid being scammed by learning who you are dealing with and taking the appropriate measures.”

The Top 5 Summer Scams of 2015 are:

  • Vacation Scams

Vacation clubs, free vacation offers, travel points and airline miles are just a few ways that scammers are trying to rip off consumers. Scammers are calling consumers with “free” vacation offers, and in return taking their personal information, debit or credit card which sets them up for identity theft.

Scam Protection:Book directly with an established hotel or reputable travel agent. Find an accredited agent at www.bbb.org. Keep an eye out for bad spelling and grammar. These are indications of scammers. Pay only by credit card and get refund policies in writing.

  • Moving Scams

BBB records show in the past 12 months nearly 300 consumers have filed complaints against movers. The BBB warns of scammers who take advantage of the peak season.

Scam Protection: Know your rights and research them as a consumer for interstate moves or for moves within Illinois. Research the company thoroughly. All interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify.

  • Ticket Scams

Concert season takes place in the summer and with that comes an increase in ticket scalping. Scalpers are looking to take advantage of last-minute ticket buyers.

Scam Protection: Know the difference between a ticket broker and a scalper. A ticket broker is a legitimate, licensed reseller. A ticket scalper is unlicensed and engaged in illegal activity.

  • Phony Job Scams

For high school and college students, finding a summer job is a priority. The BBB is warning consumers that seasonal job postings may not be as advertised.

Scam Protection: Red flags for employment scams include no interview or application, no job details, non-existent website, or a contract and fees are required.

  • Door-To-Door Sales Scams

Consumers need to watch for individuals who try to skirt various city ordinances that regulate door-to-door solicitors. They offer deals for everything from air conditioning repair to driveway paving.

Scam Protection: Door-to-door salesmen are required to have a permit. Ask to see it. Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get if you buy now. Pay by credit card or check but never pay in cash.

“Before giving any organization your personal or financial information, review the business on the BBB website,” added Bernas. “If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org/chicago, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.

For Second Straight Week, Rauner Administration Refuses to Attend Hearing on Misleading Claims about Staff Pay

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – For the second consecutive week, officials from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration refused to appear at a hearing to address misleading information provided by the governor’s office, despite evidence showing the administration is paying high salaries to more than 30 appointees from funds intended for core state services.

“While we have repeatedly urged the governor to provide taxpayers with a full and accurate account of how he is using their money, it would appear to be the stance of this administration that the people of Illinois have no right to know,” said state Rep. John Bradley, chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, which called the hearing. “The governor took office on lofty promises of openness and a new way of doing business, but he continues to show his commitment is to business as usual.”

Administration officials again refused to appear before a House committee examining why the administration’s claims differ from data from the comptroller’s office, which shows 35 of the governor’s appointees receiving a total of $3.7 million from agencies other than the governor’s office. That amount is about $730,000 more than what the administration previously reported to legislators. The administration also excluded the salaries of three of the governor’s highest-paid appointees, whose salaries total $658,000.

Last month, top administration officials defended Rauner’s decision to pay his education czar a $250,000 salary with funds from the Department of Human Services intended for programs serving the elderly and severely ill rather than with funds from the governor’s office budget, a practice known as offshoring. That hearing led to a request from lawmakers to receive more information on salaries in the governor’s office.

While administration officials said Rauner is engaged in less offshoring than his predecessor, payroll records from the comptroller’s office show the Rauner administration’s claims are false.

A letter from Bradley delivered to the governor’s Capitol office last week and subsequent calls asking the governor or his designee to attend Tuesday’s hearing into Rauner’s offshoring practices went unanswered until just before Tuesday’s hearing began, and neither the governor nor any member of his administration attended the hearing to answer legislators’ questions.

“Taxpayers deserve to know why this governor is using funds intended to serve the elderly, the disabled and children to pay his appointees’ salaries.

They also deserve to know why the governor refuses to provide them with answers,” Bradley said. “These questions do not go away simply because the governor does not feel like answering. We will continue to demand honest and accurate accounting of this administration’s use of taxpayer dollars.”

State employees offshored by Rauner are receiving salaries from a number of agencies facing severe cuts under the governor’s proposed budget, including the Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Health and the Department on Aging, Bradley told committee members.

For more information: Contact State Rep. John Bradley


Urban League’s Morial to Officials Resisting Marriage Equality: “We Are Better Than This”

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

NEW YORK – National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today called on jurisdictions resisting marriage equality to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision and treat all couples with equal dignity.

“Sadly, I am reminded of Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door in his misguided and futile attempt to stop desegregation,” Morial said. “I am certain history will remember these officials who resist marriage equality in much the same light.”

In the wake of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodge that marriage is a constitutional right, some state and county officials have announced they will refuse to comply with what is now the law of the land.

“This is a pointless exercise in intolerance, and serves only to divide the country,” Morial said. “We are better than this.”

Republicans Blocking President Obama’s Judicial Nominees: Sign The Petition

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Why is the Senate blocking judicial nominees?

Tell Senate Republicans:

“There are 59 vacancies in the federal courts, including 27 judicial emergencies. It’s time to stop playing politics and do everything you can to get judges confirmed.”

Add your name:
Sign the petition â–º
Confirm judges now
Republican obstructionism is literally keeping justice from being done in the federal courts. There are almost 60 judicial vacancies but the Senate is not moving to fill them.

We depend on federal judges to defend civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights and the environment from attacks by extremist state legislatures and greedy corporations. Filling vacancies while President Obama is in office is our best chance of getting judges who will stand up for progressive values on the federal bench.

That might be why Republicans seem committed to stalling on nominees until after the next election. Republican senators are not recommending nominees to President Obama for vacancies in their states. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley, known for his obstructionism when he was in the minority, is slow-walking current nominees through his committee. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not scheduling votes for nominees who do finally make it through Grassley’s committee.

Tell Republican senators to stop playing politics and get federal judges confirmed. Click here to sign the petition.

Here’s how we ended up with so many judicial vacancies. Republican abuse of the filibuster blocked President Obama’s nominees for the first years of his administration. When Democrats reformed the filibuster for judicial confirmations at the end of 2013 it was supposed to help break that pattern, allowing judicial nominees to get an up-or-down vote.

Even with that reform in place, Republicans in the Senate still found ways

to slow down the confirmation process. In 2014, they blocked confirmation votes on more than 20 judicial nominations that they later voted unanimously to confirm, wasting days of legislative time.

And Republicans upset with the reform of Senate rules have found another way to keep judges off the bench — by failing to send nominations to the president.

A Senate tradition says that the president takes his lead from home-state senators in making nominations to the federal bench. While senators of both parties have been slow to suggest names, the absence of potential nominees is most glaring on the Republican side.

Mitch McConnell is trying to prove that he can run a functional Senate. But with 59 vacancies in the federal courts, including 27 that have been classified as judicial emergencies because of the strain they are putting on caseloads, it looks like obstructionism as usual.

It’s time for the Senate to nominate and confirm judges in a timely manner, not play politics with the justice system. Click the link below to add your name.

Thanks for standing up for the integrity of our federal courts.
Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Sign the petition â–º

Unprecedented National HBCU Pre-Law Summit & Law Expo to be Held in Atlanta

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Second Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit will be held on Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the only national conference in the country created especially for HBCU students and graduates interested in law school.

HBCU Pre Law Summit
Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) — The Second Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit & Law Expo is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 25, 2015 and Saturday, September 26, 2015 at The Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.  This groundbreaking event is the only event of its kind in the entire country focused on addressing the unique issues, concerns and challenges facing HBCU students and graduates interested in going to law school and becoming lawyers.  Students and graduates from all HBCUs across the country are invited to meet and come together in Atlanta this fall to take part in two intensive and power-packed days (with two more optional days) designed to expose them to game-changing information, resources, and connections designed to help them achieve success in a demanding educational endeavor and field in great need of diversity.The summit will provide inspirational keynote sessions featuring prominent and dynamic attorney speakers. Confirmed keynote speakers include Joseph K. West, Esq., President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Marilyn J. Mosby, Esq., State’s Attorney for Baltimore City and Paulette Brown, Esq., Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at Locke Lord LLP and President of the American Bar Association. All three keynotes are proud graduates of historically Black universities.

In addition to outstanding keynote speakers, there will also be panel discussions including an unprecedented HBCU Deans Panel featuring the deans of all six HBCU law schools including Katherine S. Broderick, Esq., Dean at The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (Washington, DC), Phyliss Craig-Taylor, Esq., Dean at North Carolina Central University School of Law (Durham, North Carolina), Dannye Holley, Esq., Dean at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University (Houston, Texas), Danielle Holley Walker, Esq., Dean at Howard University School of Law (Washington, DC), Darryll K. Jones, Esq., Interim Dean at Florida A&M University College of Law (Orlando, Florida), and John K. Pierre, Esq., Interim Chancellor at Southern University Law Center (New Orleans, Louisiana).

Moreover, the event will feature special guests including John Crump, JD, Historian and Executive Director Emeritus of the National Bar Association, Ricky Anderson, Esq., Managing Partner of Anderson & Smith PC, and L. Chris Stewart, Esq., Managing Partner of Stewart, Seay & Felton Trial Attorneys. There will also be surprise guests who will provide short remarks and words of encouragement to attendees.

Further, the event will showcase panel discussions on critical topics for aspiring lawyers including law school admission, the law student experience, and what it takes to have a successful legal career. These panels will include knowledgeable law school administrators, law students and lawyers who will share their own experiences and directly address issues of concern to HBCU students and alumni which are commonly ignored in general law school informational events. What is particularly special about these sessions is that all of the panelists have an understanding of and genuine interest in the success of students who attend or have attended HBCUs, most having attended HBCUs themselves. Also planned is a special session dealing with how financial aid packages are determined, negotiating scholarship offers and managing student loan debt, which are all very timely, important and major concerns of those interested in pursuing law school today.

In addition, a law school expo will take place on both major days of the summit where students will have the opportunity to meet with law school representatives from schools across the country to find out about their law programs and get answers to their questions.

Special networking receptions are scheduled to take place where attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy food and drinks as they participate in both structured and informal networking activities designed to help them connect with other aspiring law students, current law students, and lawyers.

There will also be two bonus days open to conference registrants. The Thursday prior to the summit will provide early attendees with the opportunity to meet with admissions representatives and tour all three Atlanta law schools including Emory University School of Law, Georgia State University School of Law and Atlantas John Marshall Law School. Students will also have the opportunity to sit in on classes and to participate in a special mock law class designed just for them that they must prepare for and be prepared to participle in. The Sunday after the summit is an optional day of leisure and learning where participants will have the opportunity to register for and take part in a historic Black Atlanta history group bus tour to visit many sites of historical significance to African Americans and the American Civil Rights Movement.

Admission to the Summit and Law Expo is completely free of charge, open to the public, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Payment is only required for optional activities including the ATL Black History Tour and for passes for access to the exhibits at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. All aspiring lawyers, their pre-law and career advisors, professors, parents, supporters and others interested in attending are all welcomed to register and attend. For more information, please go to the summits official website at www.hbcuprelawsummit.org.

Photo Caption: Law Admissions Panel

Preckwinkle Releases FY 2016 Preliminary Budget Forecast; Cautions Difficult Fiscal Choices Ahead for County

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Pension Fund shortfall drives need for new revenue

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released the preliminary forecast for the County’s Fiscal 2016 budget, cautioning that difficult financial choices will face County decision-makers as the development of a budget proceeds over the next several months.

In an appearance before the City Club of Chicago, Preckwinkle announced a projected operating shortfall for FY 2016 of $198.75 million, driven by increasing labor costs, rising legacy debt service, increased costs of the Presidential election cycle, and reductions in court filing revenues.

In addition to the projected operating shortfall, Preckwinkle said that unfunded pension liabilities are pushing the County’s Pension Fund toward a financial crisis, and when factoring in the annual actuarial deficit at the fund, and needed funding to repair and replace crumbling roads and bridges, the total projected shortfall rises to $479.3 million.

“When we passed the last year’s budget, I warned that fiscal year 2016 would be very challenging,” Preckwinkle said. “As we begin to prepare our spending plan, we are now faced with making difficult but necessary decisions to ensure a stable financial future for Cook County and its citizens.”

Preckwinkle said she will propose a 1 percent increase in the County sales tax, mainly aimed at addressing the County’s pension crisis, along with the rise in legacy debt service and increased funding of road and bridge infrastructure.  The sales tax would be projected to raise $308 million in 2016, which would leave a residual funding shortfall of $171.3 million when all of these factors are included. Preckwinkle said her team is already targeting reductions in tax-supported expenditures in excess of $100 million for FY 16.

The Pension Fund shortfall now stands at approximately $6.5 billion. Based on the market value of the fund’s assets, the shortfall increases by $30 million a month as a result of continued inaction by Springfield on the County’s proposed pension reform legislation.

“We worked for two years to design a pension reform package that is supported by a wide majority of our union partners and local business interests, and that we believe will survive a court test, but we have been unable to get Springfield to act on it,” Preckwinkle said. “I appreciate that Gov. Rauner recently expressed his willingness to support our pension plan. But that isn’t a guarantee. And while I am still willing to work with the Governor and the legislative leaders to secure our pension reform, I refuse to wait and kick the can down the road to bankruptcy. The more you kick the can, the heavier and bigger it gets, until one day it kicks back.”

Preckwinkle said that between FY 2011 and FY 2015, the County was able to put $1.5 billion back in the hands of taxpayers while instituting operational efficiencies.  “And we will continue to remake Cook County government as more efficient through smart savings and expenditure cuts, coupled with the sales tax increase to address legacy debt service costs, legacy pension liabilities, and improve our roads and infrastructure,” she said.

In the event that sustainable pension reform efforts are adopted and signed into law in Springfield, Preckwinkle said she will re-evaluate the County’s revenue needs and make the appropriate changes to the sales tax levy.

Since taking office in 2010, Preckwinkle has eliminated operating deficits by $1.4 billion and lowered the County’s headcount by 8 percent. Outstanding bonded debt has been reduced by $236 million since 2011, and the County is engaged in ongoing steps to shrink its facilities footprint and lease excess space in its 69 West Washington building. The County has set a target of leasing an additional 75,000 square feet by 2018 at 69 West Washington as part of its ongoing initiative to reduce the real estate footprint of county government.

Taxpayer funding of operations of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) has been reduced by $225 million, or 58 percent, since Preckwinkle took office in 2010, while the implementation of CountyCare, the County’s managed care Medicaid program, has reduced the system’s population of patients without insurance from 56 percent in 2012 to 32 percent so far this year.

The 1 percent sales tax increase would produce approximately $308 million in year one, which would be used as follows: $270 million toward pension funding, $10 million towards additional funding for highway infrastructure, and $25 million to fund rising legacy debt service payments.

In year two, the sales tax would yield $474 million and be allocated as follows: $340 million toward pension funding, $65 million towards highway infrastructure and $55 million for debt service payments

“This will allow us to establish a long-term commitment to our infrastructure,” Preckwinkle said. “For two decades, Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) dollars have been partially diverted to support public safety. In FY2016, we will begin to decrease the diversion so that by FY 2017, all MFT funds will be allocated to the Department of Transportation and Highways for infrastructure improvement projects. In conjunction, we will soon be releasing our Long Range Transportation Plan, the first the County has produced in over 70 years, which lay out the multi-modal needs of our residents and the County’s plan to address them.”

Preckwinkle cautioned that while discussion has centered on the sales tax, “this is not a conversation about revenue only” and that expenditure cuts must be part of the solution.

Over the past five years, her administration has reduced staffing by approximately 2,000 positions, decreased taxpayer funding of the health system and worked to make County government more responsive to residents, she said.

A good example of attaining savings is found in actions involving the Department of Corrections campus. For example, Preckwinkle said, she and the Sheriff have agreed that three buildings on the DOC campus can be demolished in an action that will save $9.5 million per year in building operating costs and avoid $120 million in maintenance costs over the next decade.

Other targeted expense reductions include:

*        Implementation of a Countywide time and attendance system that will automate timekeeping and reduce fraud.

*        An audit that will ensure only the dependents of eligible employees are on the County’s benefit rolls.

*        Continuing to reduce the County taxpayer allocation to the CCHHS

*        Eliminating numerous vacant positions across the County.

*        Reducing the County’s fleet of vehicles.

*        Utilizing reverse auctions to obtain the best price for commodity purchases

This approach, of coupling aggressive expense reductions and efficiencies with the request for additional revenue, stands in sharp contrast to 2010 when the additional 1 percent sales tax was last in effect, she said.

“This is not about a quick fix. This is not an operational stopgap. And contrary to what you may have heard, this is also not an ‘I told you so’,” Preckwinkle said. “When the sales tax was increased in 2008, it was used entirely to balance and grow daily operations, including funding health care benefits, supporting the hospital system, covering costs at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and replacing other declining revenues. The challenges have not changed – our approach has. We’ve continued to try to increase efficiency, streamline operations and shift resources to better support our agenda.”

Without the sales tax rollback at that time, she said, County government would have continued to be inefficient and ineffective for its residents, “and we still would have been looking for a revenue source to fund pensions.

“Revenue increases through a sales tax, coupled with significant expenditure cuts, will put the County on firm financial footing for the future and allow us to invest in much-needed road infrastructure improvements, absorb increased legacy debt service costs, and pay down all pension liabilities without further exacerbating the financial crisis for future generations.”

Sec’y of State Jesse White Announces Veteran’s Designation on DL/ID Cards Available July 1

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Veterans must first obtain official certification from the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that beginning July 1, 2015, U.S. military veterans will be able to get an updated driver’s license/ID card with the word “VETERAN” displayed under the signature on the front of the card.

“I am pleased to offer this service to our military veterans who have given so much of themselves for the greater good of this nation,” said White. “I had the honor of serving as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard and Army Reserve. There is no greater honor than serving your country, and our veterans can now proudly display their service on their driver’s license or ID card, which will help them receive the services and benefits they richly deserve.”

Public Act 97-0739, which was supported by White, allows veterans who have received an Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions discharge to pursue the veteran’s designation on their driver’s license or ID card. The veteran’s designation will help ensure military veterans living in Illinois receive the services and benefits for which they are entitled, including healthcare, education and employment assistance.

The process is simple. First, veterans must obtain official certification from the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). They can do so by visiting one of the IDVA offices throughout the state and providing a copy of their DD-214 or Certification of Military Service (NA Form 13038).  For more information, veterans may contact the IVDA at 1-800-437-9824 or visit www.illinois.gov/veterans. Secondly, after the necessary certification is obtained from an IDVA office, the veteran may apply for a new, renewal or updated driver’s license or ID card at any Secretary of State Driver Service’s facility.

“The mission at IDVA is to serve those who have served,” said Erica Jeffries, Director, IDVA. “We are so pleased to partner with the Secretary of State’s office to offer this benefit to our veterans.  Our veterans have given their service to our nation and now, every time they use their state identification, Illinoisans will have the opportunity to say ‘Thank you for your service!’”

The designation will be no additional cost for first-time driver’s license applicants and driver’s license renewals. If veterans choose to add the designation before their renewal date, they may obtain an updated driver’s license for $5 and an updated ID card for $10. Veterans over the age of 65 can obtain an updated state ID card at no cost.

“The Broke Man’s Survival Guide” – Single Mom Shares No-Nonsense Survival Skills for Making Ends Meet

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Broke Man's Survival Guide by AM Harris

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) – Helping thousands of unemployed, underemployed and people struggling to make ends meet survive and ultimately thrive in a tough economy is the focus of a new book, The Broke Man’s Survival Guide: 50 Simple Strategies to Use When You Are Unemployed, Underpaid or Just Dead Broke and Trying to Survive.

Written by author A.M. Harris – who leverages her 30 years of social service work providing need-based services to struggling families – The Broke Man’s Survival Guide offers 50 strategies in a frank, unvarnished, tell-it-like-it-is approach to help people once on sound financial footing find their way through unemployment, underemployment or downright financial discouragement.

Harris knows her topic well. In 2004, Harris was forced to leave an abusive marriage with four children in tow including a child with Down Syndrome. Even though she had a college degree and a full-time job, her former husband was the primary breadwinner, and Harris didnt earn enough to provide the quality of life she wanted for herself and her children. She put many of the strategies in The Broke Man’s Survival Guide into play in her own life to make ends meet.

My book is for hardworking people who have fallen into a bad situation that has prevented them from paying their bills, Harris said. the book isnt about savings plans or building investment portfolios. Its written for people grappling with survival right now. The Broke Man’s Survival Guide helps people deal with the bill theyre holding in their hand, and what to do when the debt collectors start calling. It provides the optimism to help them get to another tomorrow.

The books proven advice and strategies all lead to helping readers develop an unshakable plan of attack before their vehicle is repossessed, their home is foreclosed or debt collectors set up camp on their doorstep. A powerful plan can steer anyone away from the chronic illness, debt and bad choices that are by-product of being broke.

Nobody knows this better than Harris, who has spearheaded programs that included job placement services, homeless prevention and emergency assistance for utility disconnections, pending evictions, and foreclosures. It was Harris responsibility to help families get back on track and provide them with the resources to navigate through temporary roadblocks.

Instead of worrying about things that are beyond your control at the moment, my book helps people learn vital survival skills to pull themselves up from rock-bottom. People need to know what to do when the decision has to be made about putting food on the table or the paying the car note, she adds, without the politically correct mumbo jumbo that is often provided to struggling families.

The Broke Man’s Survival Guide: 50 Simple Strategies To Use When You Are Unemployed, Underpaid or Just Dead Broke And Trying to Survive is available now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BVRhhy

For more information and resources, visit the books official website: www.thebrokeguide.com
About A. M. Harris:
A.M. Harris has spent 30 years working in social services, assisting clients who lost good jobs and were at their wits end managing through their financial crises. After leaving an abusive marriage with four kids in tow, including a child with Down syndrome, Harris wrote The Broke Man’s Survival Guide: 50 Simple Strategies To Use When You Are Unemployed, Underpaid or Just Dead Broke And Trying to Survive (Amazon, ISBN-13: 978-0615907291, 178 pages) to help others survive tough times. The book is based on the information she has given to hundreds of clients she served on topics such as Creating Your Own Employment Opportunities, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Avoiding Scams, Attitude Adjustment, Avoiding the Repo Man, Keeping A Roof Over Your Head and many more.

For more information about the book, visit www.thebrokeguide.com

Photo Caption: Author, A.M. Harris and bookcover

IDOT Suspends Non-Emergency Road Work for Fourth of July Holiday Weekend

Posted by Admin On July - 1 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Lanes opened where possible to improve traffic flow

SPRINGFIELD, IL – To improve traffic flow and reduce congestion for Fourth of July holiday travelers, the Illinois Department of Transportation today announced that non-emergency roadwork will be suspended, where possible, from 3 p.m., Thursday, July 2, until 12:01 a.m., Monday, July 6.

Lanes will be opened, where possible, but motorists should be alert as lane closures in some work zones will remain in effect. Please slow down, eliminate distractions and use extra caution while driving through all work zones. Work zone speed limits remain in effect where posted.

Here are the lane closures that will remain in place this weekend:

District 1


  • IL 83 over the Cal-Sag Channel in Lemont Township will have one SB and one NB lane closed.
  • Salem Dr. in Schaumburg is one way southbound from IL 58 to Bode Rd.  A detour route is posted.
  • IL 83 from Harrison Ave. to Western/Dixie Highway, going east & westbound, one lane open in each direction; Western Ave/Dixie Hwy from 145th St. to 149th St. – one lane open in each direction. (Posen, IL)
  • 25th Avenue from St. Charles road to Lake Street in Bellwood and Melrose Park will be completely closed to traffic for long term construction.  There is a posted detour for traffic to follow.
  • Willow Road from IL 43 (Waukegan Road) to I-94: one lane in each direction will be open between Waukegan Rd. and I-94.
  • Illinois Route 171 over I-55: The following ramps are closed to traffic: Inbound I-55 to southbound Illinois Route 171 and outbound I-55 to southbound Illinois Route 171. The following ramps are open to traffic: Outbound I-55 to northbound Illinois Route 171 and inbound I-55 to northbound Illinois Route 171.
  • Illinois Route 171(First Avenue): Traffic heading southbound Illinois Route 171 from 47th Street has been detoured to the northbound Illinois 171. Traffic configuration is one lane each direction between Archer Ave and 47th Street. All ramps on southbound Illinois Route 171 closed to traffic.
  • Intersection improvement on IL 171 at 104th Ave/Willow Springs Rd. located in Willow Springs. NB and SB lanes of IL 171 between Willow Blvd and Rust; RIGHT TURN lanes at the intersection will be CLOSED. Permanent lane closures NB and SB. Permanent lane closures of left lane for work on median. Through lanes will be maintained with 1 lane open in each direction of all four legs.
  • Torrence Avenue is closed between 136th and 138th St. in Burnham. Follow Detour.(Note: this is a Bureau of Maintenance job not Construction)
  • IL 83 (Kingery Highway) has 1 lane closed in each direction; westbound lanes on (63rd St. Ditch) and at 63rd St. in Willowbrook will be closed for construction. A detour route is posted.


  • Warrenville Rd over the DuPage River is closed. Follow posted detour.
  • Williams Rd in Warrenville is closed. Follow posted detour.
  • IL 59, between Diehl Road and New York/Aurora Road will have two lanes open in each direction utilizing the median as one lane; between Meridian Parkway and North Aurora Road there is one lane NB under the METRA Bridge (viaduct). Between Diehl Road and Ferry Road there are two lanes SB and one lane NB over the I-88 Bridge.
  • East New York Street from Welsh Drive to Asbury Drive in Aurora – lane closure eastbound and westbound; one lane open in each direction.


  • Jericho over Blackberry Creek – road closed, please follow detour signs.
  • Indian Trail Road over Fox River in Aurora is closed to traffic in both directions. There is posted detour route for traffic.
  • US 20 at Allen Road, Hampshire – traffic using temporary runarounds. One lane is open in each direction.
  • IL 25 is closed south of Stearns. Follow posted detour.


  • Lake Street is closed to traffic between IL 83 and Drury Lane in Grayslake with a posted detour in place.
  • IL 132 over Des Plaines River; Lane closures one lane open in each direction over the River.


  • Noe Road is closed at the bridge over Rush Creek in Marengo Township with a posted detour in place.


  • Blodgett Road at I-55 is closed with a detour posted.
  • Jackson St. Bridge over Des Plaines River in Joliet will be closed July 1-3 with a detour posted.
  • US 30 from I-55 to the west frontage road in Plainfield will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

District 2


  • IL 40 is closed 1.3 miles west of Milledgeville at the bridge over Otter Creek. Traffic is being detoured on Shannon Road and US 52 while the bridge is removed and replaced.


  • IL 40 over the Hennepin Canal at the south edge of Rock Falls. IL 40 is restricted to one lane in each direction as the bridge is replaced one half at a time.
  • IL 78 over French Creek at the south edge of Morrison. IL 78 is restricted to one lane and controlled by temporary traffic signals while the bridge is replaced one half at a time.
  • Garden Plain Road is closed west of Morrison while two culverts are being replaced. Traffic is using local roads around the culvert closures.


  • US 20 just east of IL 2 at the south edge of Rockford. Traffic is restricted to one lane in each direction as the bridges over the Rock River are replaced.
  • IL 2 from Harrison Avenue to Cedar Street in downtown Rockford. Traffic is restricted to one lane in each direction as the roadway pavement is removed and replaced two lanes at a time.

District 3


  • I-80, MP 44; bridge replacements. One lane closed in each direction.
  • US 6, west edge of Sheffield; bridge deck replacement. One lane open, controlled by signals.


  • Minooka Road Bridge is closed over I-80; bridge replacement, no detour is posted.
  • Lisbon Road Bridge is closed over I-80; bridge replacement, no detour is posted.


  • I-57, MP 297 to MP 283; Multiple projects, multiple work zones. One lane closed in each direction. Recommended alternate route is US 45.
  • IL 1, north of US 24 in Watseka; bridge replacement. One lane open, controlled by signals.


  • Long Point Road, just west of IL 23; bridge deck replacement. One lane open, controlled by signals.


  • I-57, MP 310; replacing Kankakee River bridges. One lane open in each direction.

District 4


  • Allen Road at the IL 6 interchange will be reduced to one lane in each direction. In addition, Allen Road is closed from Alta Lane to Alta Road. Traffic is re-routed with a marked detour.


  • The ramp from northbound I-155 to westbound I-74 and the ramp from westbound I-74 to southbound I-155 will be closed. Traffic will be routed via a marked detour.


  • Eastbound and westbound I-74 between mile marker 39 and 40, 6 miles north of Galesburg will be reduced to one lane in each direction for bridge reconstruction.
  • IL 97, one mile south of Maquon, will be reduced to one lane controlled by traffic signals for bridge reconstruction.


  • Carman Road will be reduced to one lane with signals at Ellison Creek, two miles north of Carman.


  • IL 89 one mile south of LaRose will be closed. Traffic will be routed via a marked detour.


  • IL 71 in Granville will have one lane of traffic controlled by traffic signals for box culvert reconstruction.

District 5


  • The structure carrying US 136 over the Sangamon River near Fisher will narrow down to one lane with barrier wall in place. Traffic signals will be in use to direct traffic.


  • Interstate 74 between IL 54 (Farmer City) and Piatt County Highway 2 (Mansfield) will narrow down to one lane in each direction with barrier wall in place.


  • Business 55 / Veterans Parkway over Interstate 74 southwest of Bloomington. Northbound and southbound driving lanes on Business 55 are closed with barrier in place. Ramps from westbound I-74 to southbound I-55, westbound I-74 to northbound Business 55, eastbound I-74 to northbound Business 55 and southbound Business 55 to eastbound I-74 are closed. A marked traffic pattern is in use.
  • Old US 66 will be closed between Funks Grove and McLean, a marked detour is in place utilizing Interstate 55.


  • The structures carrying IL 105 over Interstate 72 and Camp Creek on the northeast side of Monticello will narrow down to one lane in each direction with barrier wall in place. Traffic signals will be in use to direct traffic.


  • Interstate 74 between US 150 (Martin Luther King) and IL 49 will narrow down to one lane in each direction. The bridge carrying Vermilion County Highway 10 at Oakwood over Interstate 74 will narrow down to one lane. Traffic signals will be in use to direct traffic.
  • US 150 (Martin Luther King) between Oakwood and Interstate 74 over the Salt Fork Vermilion River next to Vermilion County Fairgrounds. US 150 will narrow down to one lane with barrier wall in place. Traffic signals will be in use to direct traffic.
  • IL 119 near Alvin over the North Fork Vermilion River. IL 119 will narrow down to one lane with barrier wall in place. Traffic signals will be in use to direct traffic.

District 6


  • US 24 Bayview Bridge over the Mississippi River in Quincy. Bridge repair is reducing westbound traffic to one lane.


  • IL 100/US 67 over the Illinois River located at Beardstown. Bridge repair is reducing traffic to one lane controlled by traffic signals.


  • Interstate 55 over Kickapoo Creek located 5.3 miles north of Lincoln (MM 136). Bridge reconstruction is reducing northbound and southbound lanes to one lane.
  • Interstate 55 over abandoned railroad and over Race Street located south of Atlanta (MM 139 to MM 140). Bridge reconstruction is reducing northbound and southbound traffic to one lane.
  • IL 10 over Sugar Creek Overflow located 3 miles east of New Holland. Bridge reconstruction is reducing traffic to one lane controlled by traffic signals.


  • IL 78 over Indian Creek located 3.7 miles south of the Morgan/Cass County line. Bridge reconstruction is reducing traffic to one lane controlled by traffic signals.


  • IL 104 over Brower Creek located 5 miles west of IL 107. Bridge reconstruction is reducing traffic to one lane controlled by traffic signals.

District 7


  • Illinois Route 133 west of Oakland; bridge replacement; road closure with a marked detour in place.
  • Lerna Road south of Illinois Route 16; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open, traffic signals and concrete barriers in place.


  • Interstate 70 west of Greenup; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open in each direction and concrete barriers in place.
  • Interstate 70 west of Greenup; pavement reconstruction; stage construction with one lane open in each direction.
  • US Route 40 east of Greenup; bridge replacement; road closure with a marked detour in place.


  • Interstate 57/70 around Effingham; major road reconstruction; stage construction with two lanes open in each direction on 57/70 and one lane open on 57 and on 70; concrete barriers in place.
  • Interstate 57 just south of the Watson interchange; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open in each direction and concrete barriers in place.
  • Interstate 57 southbound at the Watson interchange; bridge rehabilitation; interchange closure with a marked detour in place.


  • Interstate 70 between Altamont and St. Elmo; pavement reconstruction; stage construction with one lane open in each direction and some concrete barriers in place.


  • Interstate 70 at Vandalia; bridge replacement; stage construction with one lane open in each direction utilizing median crossovers and concrete barriers in place.


  • Business US Route 51/Illinois Route 105 at Lake Decatur on the south side of Decatur; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open in each direction utilizing median crossovers and concrete barriers in place.


  • Illinois Route 32 south of Sullivan over Lake Shelbyville; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open, traffic signals and concrete barriers in place.


  • Illinois Route 1 north of Mt. Carmel; bridge replacement; stage construction with one lane open, traffic signals and concrete barriers in place.


  • Illinois Route 15 east of Fairfield; bridge rehabilitation; stage construction with one lane open, traffic signals and concrete barriers in place.
  • Illinois Route 242 south of Wayne City; bridge replacement; stage construction with one lane open, traffic signals and concrete barriers in place.

District 8


  • IL 159 in Collinsville is reduced to one lane in each direction between Johnson Street and Mounds Avenue for pavement reconstruction.
  • The bridge carrying IL 4 over I-55 near Staunton is closed to all traffic.  This closure is necessary to replace the bridge deck. A marked detour is in place.
  • I-70 from I-55 to east of IL 143 near Highland is reduced to one lane in both the eastbound and the westbound directions for pavement reconstruction and resurfacing.


  • IL 13 under IL 15 near Belleville is closed to all traffic. The closure is needed to construct new structures.
  • IL 15 east of IL 159 in Belleville is reduced to one lane in each direction. This lane restriction is needed to construct the new eastbound IL 15 structure.
  • Rieder Road over I-64 is closed for interchange construction.
  • I-255 is reduced to two of three lanes in both the northbound and southbound lanes between IL 15 and IL 157 for bridge repairs.


  • Roots Road, between Oakview Road and Collins Road, will be closed for the removal and replacement of the existing bridge deck carrying Roots Road over the Union Pacific Railroad.

District 9


  • IL1, five miles north of Cave In Rock. Bridge construction. Traffic reduced to one lane controlled by temporary signals.


  • I-57 (Milepost 95 to Milepost 96) / I-64 (Milepost 74 to Milepost 75) just north of Mt. Vernon. Pavement replacement. Traffic is reduced to two lanes northbound and southbound.
  • I-57 Milepost 96 to Milepost 98 north of Mt. Vernon. Pavement replacement. Traffic is reduced to one lane northbound and southbound.
  • I-64 Eastbound Milepost 72 to Milepost 74 northwest of Mt. Vernon. Pavement replacement. Traffic is reduced to one lane.
  • IL 142 east edge of Mt. Vernon. Box Culvert Replacement. Traffic reduced to one lane controlled by temporary signals.


  • IL 13 east edge of Murphysboro. Bridge construction. Traffic is reduced to one lane eastbound and westbound utilizing crossovers.


  • IL 146 at Grantsburg. Bridge construction. Traffic is reduced to one lane controlled by temporary signals.


  • US 51 near Dongola. Pavement rehabilitation. The entrance ramp from US 51 to I-57 southbound is closed.


  • I-64 Milepost 123. Bridge repair. Traffic is reduced to one lane eastbound and westbound.
  • IL 141 from US 45 to IL 1. Bridge Construction. Road closed to all traffic. Marked detour in place.


  • IL 13 / Division Street at Carterville. Intersection reconstruction. Division Street south of IL 13 is reduced to one lane – one way traffic southbound only.

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