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Governor Quinn Kicks Off Holiday Cheer Basket Program for Servicemembers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 13:45

Teams Up with Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, Illinois Lottery, USO of Illinois and Chicago White Sox to Help Military Families

CHICAGO – December 17, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren and Superintendent Michael Jones from the Illinois Lottery to announce the state’s partnership with the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois and the Chicago White Sox to sponsor this year’s Cheer Basket Program, a partnership to support the USO of Illinois Families on the Homefront Program, for servicemen and women. The program will send 150 cheer-filled holiday care packages to Illinois servicemembers and their families. As part of his mission to support servicemembers, Governor Quinn also encouraged parents to purchase Illinois Vets Cash lottery tickets to include as a great stocking stuffer.

“The Cheer Basket Program is a great way to give a little back to the servicemen and women who give so much,” Governor Quinn said. “I want to thank the USO of Illinois and the Chicago White Sox for helping bring joy to our servicemembers and their families this holiday season. And I want to encourage all Illinois families to purchase a Vets Cash ticket as a stocking stuffer this Christmas, to give the opportunity to win tens of thousands of dollars as well as support a great cause – our troops.”

The Cheer Baskets include a $50-$100 Dominick’s gift card, White Sox gear and Garrett’s Gourmet Popcorn. A total of 150 Cheer Baskets will be assembled with the help of White Sox Volunteer Corp, USO staff and Lottery/Northstar volunteers. 125 Cheer Baskets will be given to servicemembers in need, while the remaining 25 Cheer Baskets will be shipped to the Great Lakes Naval Base to be distributed to the servicemen and women stationed there.

“Once again, the USO of Illinois is thrilled to partner with the Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash campaign,” Alison Ruble, president and chief executive officer of the USO of Illinois said. “During this holiday season, with support from the Illinois Lottery, we are able to bring more assistance to our troops, using these Cheer Baskets to support our military and their dependents through the USO Families on the Homefront Program.”

“We are thrilled to be a partner in this wonderful program,” Christine O’Reilly, White Sox senior director of community relations said. “The entire White Sox organization is always looking to do anything we can to help those who serve our nation, and the members of our Volunteer Corps are always looking for ways to lend a hand, so this is a perfect fit for all.”

“For the past three years, we have joined the Illinois Lottery and the USO of Illinois to send needed and greatly appreciated care packages to Illinois servicemen and women,” IDVA Director Erica Borggren said. “These Cheer Baskets are tangible expressions of our gratitude, and their arrival right before the holidays will be tremendously meaningful to our heroes in uniform.”

The Cheer Basket Program is funded in part by the Veterans Cash lottery ticket. Since Governor Quinn first launched Veterans Cash in 2006, the program has awarded more than $10 million in grants to Veterans’ organizations statewide. The Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash game is the first lottery game in the United States to earmark 100 percent of net proceeds to Veterans. Proceeds from Veterans Cash have resulted in cash awards to more than 190 organizations supporting Veterans throughout the state.

“The Illinois Lottery was created to generate funds for good causes in Illinois. As an example: Veterans Cash, an instant lottery game championed by Governor Quinn while he was Lieutenant Governor in 2006, has raised more than $10 million to support our Veterans programs throughout the state,” said Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. “These Cheer Baskets will go directly to our servicemen and women to help them enjoy this wonderful time of year.”

The latest Veterans Cash game is available at 8,100 Illinois Lottery retail locations throughout the state. Each ticket costs $2 and the game features top prizes of $20,000. The Lottery anticipates raising $900,000 for Illinois Veterans from the new game. The instant ticket measures 4” by 7.5” and is the largest $2 game ever offered by the Lottery. The ticket face was designed by Common Ground, the Lottery’s award-winning, cross-cultural advertising/marketing agency that designs the Lottery’s “special-cause” instant games, like Veterans Cash.

Veterans Cash is also available at participating American Legion posts across the state of Illinois including: American Legion Department of Illinois, Bloomington; Post 979, Bartonville; Post 285, Galesburg; and Post 71, Urbana.

For more information about Veteran’s Cash please visit IllinoisLottery.com. To apply for a grant, please download an application at the Veterans Cash website. For more information about IDVA and its programs, please visit the agency’s homepage. To find out how you can help Illinois Veterans, visit www.OperationHomeFront.org.

The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families. The mission of the USO is to enhance the quality of life of the U.S. Armed Forces personnel and their families and to create a cooperative relationship between U.S. military communities and involved or supporting civilian communities. The USO of Illinois is a civilian 501(c)(3) registered non-profit that is not government funded but is supported solely by the generosity of the American people. For more information about the USO of Illinois visit www.usoofillinois.org or facebook.com/usoofillinois.

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A Mom's Call to Prayer - Moms Gather to Pray on 12/17/12 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sherry Surratt   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 13:27

“At MOPS International, our hearts are broken for the families in Newtown, Connecticut. We’re lifting them in prayer, asking for God’s divine comfort to surround them. While our heads cannot make sense of this horrific tragedy, our hearts are overwhelmed with love and concern for these moms and dads, friends and community members in Newtown, Connecticut,” says Sherry Surratt, CEO and President of MOPS International {Mothers of Preschoolers}

Dear moms,

My heart hurts as I grieve today with the families in Newtown, Connecticut. The questions of, “why?” and, “how could this happen?” swirl in my head as I try to make sense of such a horrific tragedy. My head and heart are overwhelmed when I think of the loss and pain these families are facing and I desperately want to help. I know you do as well. While we can’t undo what has occurred, we can join together and do what moms do best: offer unconditional love and support, and an unshakeable foundation of strength and courage in the face of pain and loss.

I’d like to invite you to join MOPS International in a National Call to Prayer for moms, by moms. Please join us this Wednesday, December 19, at 9:45 a.m. Central Time, to observe a moment of prayer as we lift up the families who were devastated by this shooting. Specifically, we’d like to pray for the moms whose hearts are broken, that they will feel God’s arms surrounding them during the difficult days ahead.

I’m also praying for families across our world, whose hearts are filled with fear as they consider these events. None of this makes sense, and fear feels close and crippling. On behalf of moms everywhere, I’m calling out to the God who holds each of us in his big comforting hands. I’m crying out for the moms, who even this day, dealt with fear and anxiety. I’m praying this verse on their behalf.

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 16:11

God truly is our rock of comfort and strength, even when nothing around us makes sense. At our Denver MOPS office, we’ll be gathering this Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. Central Time (8:45 a.m. Mountain Time) to join hands and pray. We’ll be crying out to the rock that is higher than us on behalf of the dear families in Newtown, and for moms everywhere. Will you join us?

We will also be inviting moms to share their prayers at www.facebook.com/MOPS.Int

About MOPS INTERNATIONAL
Denver-based MOPS International is a non-profit ministry that creates communities to help “Better Moms Make A Better World.” Since 1973, MOPS International has served millions of mothers and families in thousands of local MOPS groups across the U.S. and in 38 countries internationally.  MOPS ministries include Classic MOPS, Teen MOPS, Military MOPS, International MOPS and MOMSnext.  MOPS is the best in the world at creating authentic communities of growth that invite women into a spiritual relationship.
www.MOPS.org www.MOPS.org/groups www.facebook.com/MOPS.Int www.youtube.com/MOPSint

 
Evil and Violence PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Cain Connections   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:46

By HERMAN CAIN - Only love can prevail.

The Governor of Connecticut summed up the tragedy that hit the small town of Newtown, Connecticut in four words. Evil visited this town. The tragedy was not just violence. It was evil because a young man shot his mother in the face and killed her. He killed 20 innocent young children, and six innocent adults. And then he killed himself. Some of us saw what evil looks like for the first time. Yet others have seen evil before.

Immediately, some media personalities and political activists started calling for more gun laws, more money to be spent on mental health treatment, better security systems and procedures at schools, and more censorship of violent entertainment in our culture.

As my CainTV colleague Dan Calabrese so eloquently and convincingly pointed out on Saturday, there is nothing we can do to prevent evil. We can minimize violence, but evil can only be minimized with the recognition and love of God in one's heart. This is not a sermon. It's just a fact that 90 percent of us believe, in one religious form or another. 

I'm reminded of a recent incident reported in Florida where an atheist filed a lawsuit against a church for its religious displays. The man got seriously ill and the church reached out to him to help save his life. He survived because of their help. Afterwards, the atheist started attending that church and learned of their Christian faith, and saw that the love of God eminating from them and others was sincere. He had been a recipient of their love. He later joined their church congregation.

That's the power of love over evil.

Freedom of religion is a tenant of the founding of our nation. It does not promote a specific form of worship or religion. But that freedom does allow for the belief and love of a POWER greater than man. That same POWER has a love for us greater than man could ever imagine. HIS love is the only weapon against evil.

We can only pray for the families of the victims of this evil tragedy in Newtown, that God will somehow comfort them in their sorrow, their grieving and their healing. Although the rest of the nation was indirectly affected by this evil incident, it was still a direct blow to the compassion in our hearts, as we try to comprehend why it happened and only imagine the pain of those who lost loved ones and children.

Healing will take a long time especially for the families. We must keep them in our prayers, but we must never abandon our belief in the eternal power of love over evil.

We can fight violence, but we never know when evil will visit us again. The more love we can spread to the hearts and minds of the savable, the longer it will be.

 
Resolve to Be Financially Secure in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:44

By Jason Alderman

When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, getting into good shape financially ranks right up there with losing weight and eating healthier. All three goals require discipline and planning; and, as you've no doubt experienced, it's not unusual to encounter setbacks along the way.

Don't let losing a minor battle here or there convince you to surrender on the bigger war. You'll probably have more success if you start out taking small steps, learning from your mistakes and gaining momentum as you go.

Here are a few suggestions for better managing your personal finances in the New Year:

The first step on the road to financial health is to create a budget you can live with. If you're new to budgeting or haven't been successful in the past, start slowly. For a few months write down every cent you spend: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, gas, medical copayments, credit card interest – the works. You'll be surprised where you money goes.

At the same time, compare money coming in (income) to money going out (expenses). If you're just breaking even or losing money each month, you need to boost your income and/or aggressively trim spending. Try these strategies:

  • Pay bills on time and send at least the minimum amount due. You'll avoid late fees and related interest rate increases; plus, you'll improve your credit score.
  • Balance your checking account regularly and use in-network ATMs to avoid overdrafts and fees.
  • If your employer offers flexible spending accounts, use them to pay health and dependent care expenses with pretax dollars.
  • Raise insurance deductibles and shop around for better rates.

Once you start reducing expenses, use the savings to pay down debts more quickly. Try making a table of all outstanding credit card and loan balances and their corresponding interest rates. Then, each month pay the minimum amount due on each – except pay as much as possible on the account with the highest interest rate. Once that one's paid off, move to the next-highest rate account and so on.

Another smart move is to have an emergency fund in case of financial upheaval (layoff, medical emergency, unexpected car repairs, etc.) Ideally you should save enough to cover six months' of expenses, but don't be discouraged if that sounds insurmountable: Start slowly by saving a few dollars each week. You won't miss it and your little nest egg might just save you from needing an expensive short-term loan to cover an unplanned bill.

If something terrible happened to you, would your family be protected financially? Make sure you have a valid will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy and living will. Numerous books, online articles and sample forms are available if you want to draft them yourself, but you should probably review your documents with a financial advisor or attorney to avoid potential legal problems. Also, make sure you have adequate life and disability insurance.

It's debatable how much Social Security will be able to contribute toward your retirement income in coming decades, so if you're not already participating in your employer's 401(k) plan or an IRA, make that one of your top financial resolutions.

Sticking to resolutions is never easy – if it were, we'd already be doing them. But striving to improve your financial situation now will pay off big-time down the road.

 
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn on Tragic Connecticut Elementary School Shooting PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 17 December 2012 15:08

CHICAGO – December 14, 2012. Governor Quinn issued the following statement regarding today's tragic massacre in Connecticut:

"I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the horrific massacre that occurred today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“All of Illinois prays for the victims of this senseless violence and their families. May God bless the immortal souls of all those who lost their lives. In their remembrance, I have ordered all flags across Illinois to be flown at half-staff beginning today.

“We know firsthand from the tragedy that took place on February 14, 2008 in a classroom at Northern Illinois University that guns have no place in any school, at anytime, anywhere in Illinois or America.

“It is the foremost duty of government to protect public safety, especially the safety of children and students.

“As governor and as a parent, I intend to spearhead passage of strict laws that will protect our children and the people of Illinois from gun violence.”

 

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