Civic News & Info
Scott County-wide Burn Ban in Lifted PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Ross E. Bergen   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:33

March 22, 2012

Effective 1:45 pm today the county-wide burn ban has been lifted with the approval of the Scott County Fire Chiefs.

March 14,  2012

At the request of the Scott County Fire Chiefs a county wide burn ban is being requested effective immediately.  Coordination with the State Fire Marshal Office will be finalized Thursday morning on this request.  We expect an official ban to be approved tomorrow.  Due to the extremely dry conditions, the Chiefs are requesting this ban be in effect until measurable rainfall is experienced.


100.40 Marshal may prohibit open burning on request.

1. The state fire marshal, during periods of extremely dry conditions or under other

conditions when the state fire marshal finds open burning constitutes a danger to life

or property, may prohibit open burning in an area of the state at the request of the

chief of a local fire department, a city council or a board of supervisors and when

an investigation supports the need for the prohibition. The state fire marshal shall

implement the prohibition by issuing a proclamation to persons in the affected area.

The chief of a local fire department, the city council or the board of supervisors that

requested the prohibition may rescind the proclamation after notifying the state fire

marshal of the intent to do so, when the chief, city council or board of supervisors

finds that the conditions responsible for the issuance of the proclamation no longer


2. Violation of a prohibition issued under this section is a simple misdemeanor.

3. A proclamation issued by the state fire marshal pursuant to this section shall not

prohibit a supervised, controlled burn for which a permit has been issued by the fire

chief of the fire district where the burn will take place, the use of outdoor fireplaces,

barbecue grills, properly supervised landfills, or the burning of trash in incinerators

or trash burners made of metal, concrete, masonry, or heavy one-inch wire mesh,

with no openings greater than one square inch.

Simon wants state hearing on Starved Rock sand mine PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Monday, 19 March 2012 12:25
Asks LaSalle County Board to initiate hearing, promote public input

SPRINGFIELD – March 12, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is advocating for more transparency and public input as a proposal to open a sand mine on 300 acres of farm land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park moves ahead.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is only required under state law to hold a public hearing on the proposed Mississippi Sand, LLC mine if a hearing is requested by the LaSalle County Board, Simon said. IDNR is not expressly required by law to hold a public hearing at any other party’s request.

Simon sent a letter today to the LaSalle County Board urging it to request IDNR hold a hearing on the project’s reclamation plan. The plan explains how the mine would be used in 40 years, after the sand is exhausted. Mississippi Sand, LLC proposes to fill the mine with water and turn it into a recreational lake.

“Your action in demanding the hearing will show your commitment to an open, public process that serves all citizens of your county,” Simon said in the letter addressed to LaSalle County Chairman Jerry Hicks. “Democracy is not speedy, and it works best when as many people as possible, representing all sides of an issue, can provide input.”

Simon serves as chair of the Illinois River, Mississippi River and Ohio and Wabash Rivers Coordinating Councils, advisory bodies comprised of citizens and government agency officials that work with local communities to raise awareness of watershed issues. The Illinois River Coordinating Council adopted a resolution in February to promote public input into the mine proposal and ensure local, state, and federal agencies consider fully all impacts of the proposed mine.

Starved Rock State Park is located along the south side of the Illinois River, one mile south of Utica. Known for its hiking trails and eagle watching, the park celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2010 and set an attendance record in 2011, attracting nearly 2.2 million visitors.

Mississippi Sand, LLC is seeking a permit for phase one of the project, which would mine sand from 80 acres near the east entrance of the park. The proposed sand mine would create 39 jobs.


Statement from Governor Pat Quinn On FEMA Denial of State Disaster Assistance Request PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 19 March 2012 12:17
SPRINGFIELD - March 11, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding FEMA’s denial of the state’s request for federal assistance for people and businesses in Southern Illinois that were impacted by the Feb. 29 tornado.

“I am extremely disappointed that FEMA denied our request for federal assistance that is needed to help people in Harrisburg, Ridgway and the other communities devastated by this deadly tornado. After personally surveying the damage and talking to many residents who lost their homes, I firmly believe federal assistance is crucial to help them begin the recovery process.

“I support Senator Dick Durbin’s efforts to encourage federal officials to reconsider their decision. In the meantime, I have directed Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken to continue working with local officials to ensure that we do everything possible to secure critical assistance.”


Iowa Legislative Update PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Peggy Huppert   
Monday, 19 March 2012 12:14

The week started out in an exciting way! We had four advocates speak in favor of a statewide ban on using nicotine or tobacco products on all K-12 school property at a public hearing in the House of Representatives on Monday night. Three of us were the final three speakers of the night and we definitely had an impact on legislators who were present. We anticipate an amendment will be filed to the House Education Reform bill on this next week. Watch for an Action Alert!

The House was supposed to debate the Health & Human Services spending bill yesterday, but didn’t. That bill zeroes out spending for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. For more on this issue, check out my opinion piece that was published in last Saturday’s Des Moines Register here.

More ammunition for our position came this week in the form of a new report from the US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin said youth tobacco use is a “pediatric epidemic” and a grave threat to public health. Why then is the Iowa House Appropriations Committee proposing eliminating all funding for tobacco prevention and cessation?  To see the press release sent out by the Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance yesterday tying the Surgeon General’s report to the situation in Iowa, click here.

Olson's Observations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Steven Olson   
Monday, 19 March 2012 11:15
A public hearing on the House Republican amended education bill took place Monday at the
State Capitol. Although the Republican version of the Governor’s bill was officially slated for debate, the
hearing involved points on the Senate Democrat version and the Governor’s original plan as well. The
House amendment contains a delay on the third-grade “retention” which would go into effect in 2016-17
and removal of a section of the Governor’s plan expanding online-only education.
I have received many comments from my constituents concerning the Medicaid cost containment
proposals impacting physicians. The reduction is a change
in the way Iowa pays for services where the patient is
covered by both Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, a
physician bills Medicare first and then bills Medicaid for the
remainder of the bill. As I understand it, a provider can be
paid more by Medicaid and Medicare for these “cross-over
claims” than what the state would pay if the patient was just
eligible for Medicaid. We are concerned about the level of
Medicaid reimbursement. You may be aware that states are
not to pay more than what Medicare pays. That is a problem
for states like ours, where Medicare rates are among the
lowest in the nation. I am hopeful that, by the time the Legislature has adjourned for the year that we will
have found a way to address your concerns.
For the most part the House this week has been taking up a lot of non-controversial policy bills,
but in the coming weeks debate could become a little more heated.
If you have concerns or questions I can be reached at the Capitol by emailing
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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