Civic News & Info
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 10:03

Q.  What are Constitution Day and Citizenship Day?

A.  Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, because the Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787.  Constitution Day is also Citizenship Day, a day that recognizes all who have become U.S. citizens, whether by birth or immigration.

Originally, U.S. citizenship was celebrated on the third Sunday of every May, on a day known as “I Am An American Day.”  In 1952, this day was moved to September 17, to celebrate citizens and the Constitution.  Until 2004, the official name of this holiday was Citizenship Day.  It is now known as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”

Q.  Why should we celebrate our Constitution and Citizenship?

A.  The Constitution is the framework for our democracy.   It was adopted by the Constitutional Convention 223 years ago, ratified by the original 13 states, and it continues to guide us today.  In the United States, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  The Constitution embodies the enduring philosophical principles in the Declaration of Independence; that the limited government created by the Constitution only exercise power by the consent of the governed.

That philosophy is clearly stated in the Declaration’s second paragraph:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”  The Constitution is a statement of this philosophical belief in limited government.  All power rests with the people, and the Constitution is a compact where the American people delegate certain enumerated powers to the government in order to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” 

September 17 is also a day to celebrate the honor, and reflect on the responsibilities, of U.S. citizenship.

James W. Schroeder Named Assistant Adjutant General, Illinois Air National Guard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by readMedia   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 09:45

Air Force Brigadier General Will Complete the Term of Retiring Brig. Gen. John P. Hughes.

SPRINGFIELD , IL (08/31/2010)(readMedia)-- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Illinois Air National Guard Brig. Gen. James W. Schroeder as the Assistant Adjutant General-Air Aug. 31.

Schroeder will complete the term of retiring Brig. Gen. John P. Hughes, which ends January 2011.

A pilot for American Airlines, Schroeder has served as the Illinois Air National Guard's chief of staff since July 2007 where he was responsible for assisting in command, control, and operations of all plans and programs for more than 3,000 Illinois Airmen located in Peoria, Springfield, and Scott Air Force Base.

"Brig. Gen. Schroeder brings a wealth of education, experience and expertise, both civilian and military, to the post," said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "His leadership and expertise will be a valuable asset to me and all Illinois Airmen as we continue to support overseas missions and remain ready to respond to domestic emergencies."

Schroeder, a Westmont, Ill., native, currently residing in Geneva, commissioned in 1982 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. Schroeder assisted in the initial setup of the aerial refueling training operation at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany. His involvement helped pave the way for the on-going rotation of Air National Guard refueling units to the NATO base.

He most recently flew combat air patrol sorties in support of Operation Noble Eagle and flew combat support missions in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

"This is an opportunity to positively affect the lives of Illinois Airmen and their families, to build upon the great things we do day in and day out, and to strengthen those relationships with the communities we serve," said Schroeder.

Schroeder holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology from Western Illinois University and completed the Air War College in 2002.

For more information please contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs office at 217-761-3569.

Governor Quinn Announces Start of Home Heating Assistance Enrollment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Laurel White   
Monday, 30 August 2010 11:51

Seniors, People with Disabilities Can Apply for LIHEAP Program Beginning Sept. 1

CHICAGO – August 26, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that seniors and people with disabilities can begin applying for winter heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Sept. 1.

“Winter in Illinois can be treacherous, especially for vulnerable populations like seniors and people who have disabilities,” said Governor Quinn. “Even though there are still hot days ahead, it’s important to beginning planning for the cold weather now. Through the LIHEAP program, we’re helping Illinois citizens get the assistance they need to stay safe, healthy and warm this winter.”

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households.

A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,354; a two-person household up to $1,821; and a family of four can earn up to $2,756. Benefits are paid directly to utilities on behalf of eligible households. The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent.

LIHEAP energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. These agencies will begin accepting applications on a first-come, first‑served basis from the elderly and people with disabilities on Sept. 1.

Households with children under the age of five can begin applying for LIHEAP assistance beginning Oct. 1. Individuals not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is expected to make energy assistance payments on behalf of more than 300,000 households this winter with an anticipated $150 million in federal and non-federal funding.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to, or call the toll-free hotline at 1‑877‑411-WARM.


Senator Working to Combat Stolen Valor in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck   
Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:26

DIXON – After recent headlines of a court ruling in California that protects lying about military honors, Senator Shawn Hamerlinck (R-Dixon) filed legislation this week that prevents disingenuous Iowans from lying in order to profit from prestigious military awards, such as the Purple Heart.

In 2006 Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act which made it a federal crime to lie about receiving medals of honors from the United States military. On August 17th the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional in a 2-1 vote citing it violates the First Amendment. The case is being appealed to the Supreme Court.

Appeals Judge Milan D. Smith wrote if the courts upheld the law, "then there would be no constitutional bar to criminalizing lying about one's height, weight, age or financial status on or Facebook, or falsely representing to one's mother that one does not smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, is a virgin, or has not exceeded the speed limit while driving on the freeway.  The sad fact is, most people lie about some aspects of their lives from time to time."

“If upheld as it currently stands, it becomes acceptable for individuals to lie about military service and honors of valor in order to profit in some way,” stated Senator Shawn Hamerlinck (R-Dixon). “Demeaning the Congressional Metal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart to the weight recorded on a driver’s license is appalling.”

Per capita, Iowa has more active duty soldiers currently deployed than another other state in the nation. “In Iowa, those who volunteer for service are held at a higher regard than the credit offered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California,” Hamerlinck went on to say.  “Knowing that the U.S. Supreme Court process could take another two years, I have filed a Stolen Valor Act in Iowa and am confident that it will be embraced by the Legislature and win approval in the upcoming session.”


News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Brian Sullivan   
Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:17

Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund to support buyouts, relocations, home improvements

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today awarded nearly $312 million to 13 states to invest in efforts to reduce the human, physical, and economic toll of future disasters.  The grants announced today are provided through HUD’s Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund (DREF) and are intended to encourage states to undertake activities and long-term strategies that focus on reducing damages from future natural disasters.

In the past two years, HUD allocated more than $5.6 billion in disaster recovery funding through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to these states.   The DREF was established to support the long-term recovery following dozens of natural disasters in 2008.  As a result of having received CDBG funds for those disasters, these 13 states were eligible to receive additional allocations based on the significant investment they’ve made by targeting their CDBG funds to disaster mitigation.

“An ounce of prevention today can spare communities a world of hurt tomorrow,” said Donovan.  “We’re making a serious investment in our future by making certain that when disaster strikes, the impacted communities in these states can weather the storm.”

Disaster mitigation, like those that qualify for funding through the DREF, are a sound investment.  According to an independent study by the National Institute of Building Sciences, every dollar spent on disaster mitigation activities saves taxpayers $4 in future disaster recovery expenses.  The 13 states that received funding through the DREF invested nearly $876 million in disaster mitigation which translates into a total anticipated return on investment of more than $3.5 billion.

The purpose of the DREF is to reward states that invested CDBG disaster recovery funding in activities that reduce risks from future disasters.  HUD recognizes that while these types of activities are often more expensive in the short-term, they dramatically cut recovery costs over the long-term.  To help assist with the additional cost of mitigating future risk, DREF funds can be used toward projects meeting unmet disaster recovery needs, and those that include:

Ø Buyout payments for homeowners living in high-risk areas;

Ø Optional relocation payments to encourage residents to move to safer locations;

Ø Home improvement grants to reduce damage risks (property elevation, reinforced garage doors and windows, etc.);

Ø Improving and enforcing building codes; and

Ø Developing forward-thinking land-use plans that reduce development in high-risk areas.

HUD is awarding DREF grants to the following states:


DREF Allocation

















Puerto Rico













HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and

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