Civic News & Info
Governor Quinn Honors Work of Volunteers With Governor’s Home Town Awards PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 18 October 2010 07:13
Assistance Center in Western Illinois Awarded 2010 Governor’s Cup
SPRINGFIELD – October 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced 26 projects as 2010 Governor’s Home Town Award recipients. The awards recognize the contributions of thousands of Illinois’ volunteers for their hard work and dedication towards improving their communities.

“One of our greatest duties is to help those who are in need,” said Governor Quinn. “The Governor’s Home Town Awards are one small way we can honor those who have selflessly gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those around them and improve their communities.”

The Governor’s Home Town Awards recipients were chosen by a group of volunteer judges who reviewed and ranked applications based on local need, volunteer participation, use of resources and results. The judges then selected one project from each population category to compete for the coveted Governor’s Cup. The Governor’s Cup is a traveling silver trophy presented to the community whose efforts were deemed most representative of Illinois’ spirit of volunteerism.

The Community for Christ Assistance Center was chosen as the 2010 Governor’s Cup award winner. The center serves the Villages of Camp Point, Clayton, Golden and Coatsburg. In 2009, the center sponsored a back-to-school fair where approximately one-third of area students received school supplies ranging from pencils, paper, backpacks and shoes to free physicals, immunizations, dental exams and haircuts.

The projects were judged within their population category as well as within an assigned project category, such as services and mentorship, memorials and monuments, parks and recreation, beautification and sustainability, and history and historic preservation. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the Governor’s Home Town Awards Program.

Each of the award-winning communities receives a road sign and plaque recognizing its efforts. The Governor’s Cup winner receives the traveling trophy and a unique road sign that proclaims its status as the overall winner.

The 26 projects recognized represent the work of almost 3,000 volunteers who devoted more than 91,000 hours of their time. Nearly $2.3 million in donated materials or in-kind services were provided and more than $3.1 million in private funds were raised for these projects. A complete list of winners is attached.

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Grassley, Landrieu Release “Call to Action” Offering Options to Build on Successful Foster Care Policies PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 11 October 2010 12:15

October 7, 2010

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, today released a “Call to Action” set of policy options to build on successful policy improving the lives of youth in foster care.

The Call to Action release occurs on the second anniversary of the enactment of the bipartisan Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008, the most significant child welfare bill to be enacted in more than a decade.

“One of the goals of the Caucus on Foster Youth is to hear directly from the youth in foster care about the policies that affect them,” Grassley said.  “They’re telling us that some key improvements have been very helpful, but there are still gaps in services and persistent problems that a combination of policy changes and citizen involvement can ease.  The Call to Action kicks off the next step in the discussion of how to improve the quality of life for foster youth.”

“We see the Call to Action as a way to help lawmakers implement polices to improve our broken foster care system,” Landrieu said. “With more than 25,000 young adults aging out of care each year, we cannot fail these youth. Yet, we cannot expect them to succeed when less than half of aged-out youth graduate from high school and so few are provided sufficient support. As Members of Congress we rely on these youths to tell us what issues are important to them.  Their input is critical to translate those issues and concerns into meaningful legislation. They need to know that we are dedicated to looking out for their best interests and working to help connect them with loving, caring families.”

The Call to Action addresses issues associated with group homes, congregate care, an over-reliance on psychotropic medications, sibling connection, youth engagement, mentoring, pregnant and parenting teens, family preservation activities and child welfare financing.

The document builds on improvements in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which provided additional federal incentives for states to move children from foster care to adoptive homes, expanded adoption assistance to all special needs foster youth, allowed states to extend care to youth up to age 21, allowed for federal reimbursement for kinship care, and made health and education improvements for youth in foster care.  Grassley helped lead the effort to enact the legislation.

In 2009, building on the success of the 2008 act, Grassley, along with Landrieu, established the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth.  The caucus has sponsored a series of working sessions with the goal of assembling options for the next steps in child welfare reform. To an unprecedented degree, the caucus has engaged current and former foster youth in these working sessions.

Last Friday, Grassley and Landrieu appeared on an episode of the national “Dr. Phil” show that highlighted the forthcoming Call to Action and encouraged viewers to learn more about the issues facing youth in care and youth transitioning out of care and possibly volunteer as youth advocates.

 
VANDER VEER LAGOON BEING DREDGED PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Kenneth Asta   
Monday, 11 October 2010 10:58
Work has begun to lower the water level of the lagoon at Vander Veer Park in order to dredge the silt out of the lagoon. Once the water level is lowered, it will need to dry for a couple of weeks. Then the silt can be dredged out. It’s been 20 years since the lagoon has been dredged.

The lagoon at Vander Veer is a favorite summer spot. The lagoon is stocked by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with catch-and-release fishing. Vending machines provide corn for park visitors to feed the ducks.

Vander Veer Park was established in 1885, and it’s gardens and floral displays have been a tradition at this beautiful 33 acre park.

 
Tyson Foods Delivered 28,000 Pounds to River Bend Food Bank PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Gary Mickelson   
Monday, 04 October 2010 08:56
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Tyson Foods Lends Helping Hand in Fight Against Hunger

Tyson Foods donates more than 14 tons of protein to River Bend Foodbank in honor of its 10th anniversary in the fight against hunger

MOLINE, Ill., Oct. 1, 2010 – An estimated 5.7 million people receive emergency food assistance each week, and more than one in every three households experience very low food security, according to the 2010 Hunger in America Report. Today, Tyson Foods donated over 28,000 pounds of much-needed protein to River Bend Foodbank, a member of Feeding America. The donation was made in honor of the company’s month-long celebration of its 10thanniversary of active support for hunger relief nationwide.

“This significant food donation from Tyson will allow us to impact lives when the need for food has never been greater,” said Tom Laughlin, executive director of River Bend Foodbank. “Donations of poultry and other high-protein foods are especially valuable as they allow us to provide our agencies with more healthy, nutritious options.

”September is Hunger Action Month and Feeding America is asking all Americans to take action to fight domestic hunger. Throughout Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, including the River Bend Foodbank, are calling upon communities to take action through the “30 Ways in 30 Days” campaign. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or giving your time and energy, they urge everyone to find a way to make a difference.

One in six Americans is going hungry. Over the past 10 years, the number of families accessing food shelves has increased by 50 percent. In 2009, the River Bend Foodbank distributed more than 6.3 million pounds of food in its fight against hunger and served over 10,000 people each week. River Bend Foodbank serves over 300 agencies across 22 counties in both Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

“There are millions of hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are faced with the realities of hunger,” said Donnie Smith, Tyson president and CEO.  “Many people don’t realize the scope of hunger in their own community.  We hope that by making this donation, we’re not only helping feed some people, but also are making more people aware of hunger in the Moline area.”

Since 2000, Tyson Foods has been a leader in the fight against hunger. The company is actively engaged in food-donation events and fund-raising activities year-round to benefit those in need. The protein given by Tyson today brings the company’s total in-kind donations since 2000 to more than 76 million pounds. This milestone equates to more than 296 million meals donated to food banks and agencies serving local communities around the country. Last year alone, Tyson donated nearly eight million pounds of protein to Feeding America. For more information on how to get involved in the fight against hunger, go to http://www.tysonhungerrelief.com

River Bend Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organization in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities, distributing 6.3 million pounds of food annually to more than 300 charitable feeding programs throughout a 22 county service area in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The Foodbank also operates four Kids Café sites serving over 45,000 free meals to children each year, the Backpack Program which provides over 1,200 Quad City children with nourishing food to take home on the weekends during the school year and the Mobile Food Pantry which directly feeds thousands of families.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN - News), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500.  The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 117,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

 

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Rock Island County Circuit Court to Provide Assistance to Unrepresented Litigants PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Joseph Dailing   
Monday, 04 October 2010 08:34

September 28, 2010

(Rock Island, IL.) Fourteenth Circuit Chief Judge Jeffrey W. O’Connor along with Circuit Clerk Lisa Bierman announced the opening of a new internet-based legal self-help center for lower income individuals who cannot find an attorney to represent them in civil matters in court. The new center will be located in the Circuit Clerk’s Office, General Division on the Third Floor of the Rock Island County Courthouse. The center will be available during regular business hours. Individuals who have computers connected to the internet can access the materials on the Rock Island County Legal Self-Help Center at http://rockisland.illinoislegalaid.org. The center is available online twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

“With high unemployment, we are seeing a steady increase in the number of individuals who are forced to come to court without an attorney because they do not have the money to hire one,” said Chief Judge O’Connor. “We know that people are better off in court with a skilled attorney,” he said. “The reality is, however, that many people cannot pay an attorney to handle their case nor can they find a legal aid attorney to help them. Prairie State Legal Services is overwhelmed with requests for representation,” Judge O’Connor said. “While the legal self-help center is not an adequate substitute for an attorney, it does provide valuable legal information that individuals can use to present their case to the judge more effectively,” he said. “We hope that unrepresented people
will use this new resource to make their court experience less threatening and more comprehensible,” he said.

“While the Circuit Clerk’s Office works closely with the judges and the court system, we are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice. People often come first to the Circuit Clerk’s Office looking for help with their legal problems when they cannot find a lawyer. We are pleased to have a place to refer these people to get the legal information that they need at no cost to them,” said Circuit Clerk Lisa Bierman. “We are providing a public access computer in the General Division of the Circuit Clerk’s Office for people to use who do not have a computer at home. The legal self-help center can also be accessed
from any computer with internet access including public access computers at our local public libraries,” she said.

“Coming to court without an attorney can be both intimidating and frustrating. All too often people have only a vague idea about how the court system works and what facts need to be presented to the judge,” said Joseph A. Dailing, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice. “The legal  information on the website, which is written by Illinois attorneys, will give people information about their legal problem as well as legal pleadings to file in court,” he said. “Wherever possible we encourage people to find an attorney to help them. The Circuit Clerk’s Office will begin handing out a sheet listing information about sources of legal representation,” he said. “But inspite of these efforts, some people won’t be able to find an attorney and will need to
represent themselves in court. The legal self-help center can make that process less mysterious and less frustrating,” he concluded.

“We provide representation and advice to as many low income people as we can but our staff is limited and we cannot help everyone who needs representation, even with the volunteer lawyer program,” said Gretchen Farwell, Managing Attorney of the Rock Island Office of Prairie State Legal Services. “For those who we cannot help, the Rock Island County Legal Self-Help Center will provide useful information if people take the time to prepare for their court hearing,” she said.

The internet-based legal self-help center provides legal information and court pleadings on a broad array of simpler civil legal problems. The website also has videos explaining the court system and how to go to court. The front page of the website features a short welcoming video by Fourteenth Circuit Chief Judge Jeffrey W. O’Connor. It also displays the hours of operation of the center and the location of the center in the courthouse. The homepage features a list of six of the most common legal problems. A search bar at the bottom allows users to search for other legal information.

The legal self-help center was developed by a broad-based collaboration of people and organizations in Rock Island County including the judiciary, the Trial Court Administrator, the Circuit Clerk’s Office, Family Resources Domestic Violence Services Program and Prairie State Legal Services. The Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice and Stacie Colston, Outreach Coordinator for Illinois Legal Aid Online, provided technical support and assistance to the planning committee. Illinois Legal Aid Online, an Illinois nonprofit organization, operates and maintains the underlying website for the legal self-help center.

The Rock Island County Legal Self-Help Center is the forty-ninth such center to open in Illinois since 2007. A grant from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation through Prairie State Legal Services provided the start up funding for the new legal self-help center. The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation receives it funding through an appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly.

For further information, contact Victoria A. Bluedorn, Trial Court Administrator at 309.558.3289.



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