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Governor Quinn Announces Executive Appointments PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erin Wilson   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:54

Manny Flores to Lead Department of Financial and Professional Regulation; Humanitarian Merri Dee Named to Human Rights Commission 



CHICAGO – November 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced Manny Flores as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and former journalist and philanthropist Merri Dee to the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The governor also announced a number of other executive appointments to various boards and commissions that will continue his commitment to making state government more accountable, transparent and effective.

“Mr. Flores and Ms. Dee are proven public servants who have been strong advocates of everyday people,” Governor Quinn said. “The stellar citizens I am appointing today will make our state stronger.”

Manny Flores most recently served as director for the Division of Banking at IDFPR. He was previously appointed by Governor Quinn as Chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission. He is a former Chicago alderman and prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He holds a J.D. from George Washington University.

Merri Dee is former Chicago journalist and is the current president of the Illinois chapter of AARP. She was previously appointed by Governor Quinn to the Serve Illinois Commission and played a key role in drafting Illinois’ first-ever crime victims’ rights legislation. She has spent many years advocating for the United Negro College Fund and other charities.

Other appointments made by Governor Quinn today are below. For more information about Illinois’ boards and commissions or to apply for a position, visit

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission: Amber Smock of Chicago is a Director of Advocacy at Access Living and has received several awards for her work as a disability rights advocate. She received her MA in Writing from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in English from University of California Berkley.

Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council: Dae Kim is the second generation of his family to work in the dry cleaning industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Paul Kwak has owned a dry cleaning business and has been a member of the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council since 2005. John Bredenkamp works at Wabash Independent Oil Co. in dry cleaning supply distribution, and has been a member of the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council since 2002. Jerome Anthony Lewicki has been on the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council since 1998.

Early Learning Council: Vanessa Rich is the Deputy Commissioner of Children Services at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. Daniel Fitzgerald is the Deputy Director of Service Intervention at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


Electric Vehicle Advisory Council: Josh Milberg has been actively involved in the development of Electric Vehicle strategy for the city of Chicago and is an advisor to the Citizens Utility Board on Electric Vehicle policy and strategy. He holds an MBA from Yale University.

Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness: Clersida Garcia is a leading member of the Midwest and National American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). Garcia has also published books on the topics of physical development and health and physical education.

Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service: Giraldo Rosales of Champaign was appointed to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service by the Governor in 2009. He is a former Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with over 30 years of experience working in K-20 education.

Illinois Geographic Information Council: Angela Brooks has an extensive background in urban planning, affordable housing and advocating for homelessness. She received her Master of Arts in Urban and Regional planning from the University of New Orleans. Bishnu Prasad Phuyal has received a Ph. D from Ohio State University in the spatial and geographical field. Phuyal has vast experience in community service, and was awarded the Humanitarian Service Award in recognition of his service to the Illinois Secretary of State. William Dickson has experience with GIS data analysis and has been a county Transportation Planner for nearly fifteen years. Kristen Amaya is a U.S. Navy Veteran who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Illinois and a Master of Public Administration from Southern Illinois University. Keith Yearman has served as the Director of the Illinois Geographical Society for the past six years. He is an assistant professor of geography at the College of DuPage. Michael Rizzitiello is the Director of Information Services at the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and has an extensive background in urban planning and geospatial technologies. Joseph Hinton received his Master of Arts in Geography from the University of Illinois and has been employed as a Community Relations Specialist with the Center for Economic Success.

Illinois Liquor Control Commission:  Maria Saldana is the chief operating officer at The Resurrection Project and previously served on the Illinois Toll Highway Authority and as president of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. She is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Illinois Sports Facilities Authority: Dr. Quentin Young is the former president of the Chicago Board of Health and served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Cook County Hospital. A nationally renowned physician and civil rights activist, he previously served as president of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Young founded the Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program.

Juvenile Justice Commission: Rick Velasquez is the Executive Director at Youth Outreach Services, Inc. He holds a Master’s degree of Social Work from Jane Addams College at University of Illinois-Chicago, and a BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University. Patrick Nelson is a Cook County probation officer in Cook County with a BS in Business Administration from Lane College, and his Teaching Certificate from Citywide Colleges. Lisa Jacobs is the Program Manager for Models for Change Initiative at Loyola University and holds a J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law. George Hill, Jr. is the President of Mid-States General and Mechanical Contracting Group and holds a BS in Civil Engineering and Business Administration from University of Minnesota. Shelley Andrea Davis of Chicago is a Lecturer at University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and a National Advisor for Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, with over 20 years of nonprofit and philanthropic work experience helping to improve public policies. She holds an M.A. of Urban Planning with an emphasis in Community Development and Economic Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.A. in Psychology from Lawrence University. Dr. Toni Irving is a deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to Governor Pat Quinn. She is co-chair of the Illinois Human Services Commission and holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University. Arthur Bishop was appointed by Governor Quinn as director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice in 2010 following a 35-year career in child welfare and community health administration.

Mid-America Medical District: Roy Lantry has worked in Biopharmaceuticals at Amgen Inc. and has over 30 years of experience in the health care field. He is currently working towards a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Health Care Finances at St. Louis University, and has received an MBA from Southern Illinois University and a BA from Quincy College. Larry McCulley works at the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation and has over 20 years of experience in health care, with extensive experience in the development, expansion and positioning of health care services in the Southwestern Illinois area. He received his MA in Gerontology and BS in Health Studies from Eastern Illinois University.

Municipal Clerks Training Institute Committee: Jo Anne Ragona is the City Clerk of Darien and has 23 years of experience in municipal government. She holds a BA from DePaul University.

P-20 Council: Jane Anne Russell is a union president and a Professional Development Instructor at Governors State University. She has served as Chair of Illinois Federation of Teachers P-20 Education Policy Council.

Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board: Salvador J. Lopez of Chicago is an attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation, helping low-income residents, minorities and senior citizens in real estate and consumer rights related cases. He received his B.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago and his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and is also a U.S. Navy veteran who assisted in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sex Offender Management Board: Shawn Albert is a Bloomington police officer with experience working on sex offender cases in collaboration with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Taskforce: Valerie Lies is the president and CEO of Donors Forum, an association that promotes philanthropy and a strong nonprofit sector in Illinois. She was named by the Nonprofit Times as one of the sector’s “Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders” in the United States. Chinwe Onyeagoro is the co-founder and CEO of O-H Community Partners, an economic development firm. She is also the co-founder and editor of New Equity Business, a small business financing portal. She is also a graduate of Harvard University and is an active member of several Chicago-area civic organizations. Patricia Morrissey, a manager at Groupon, a board member of the Corporate Responsibility Group of Greater Chicago and an advisor to Impact Engine, an accelerator for impact entrepreneurs. Brandon Bodor is the executive director of the Serve Illinois Commission and is a U.S. Army Veteran, having served in in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of West Point and is pursuing his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

State University Retirement System (SURS) – Paul R. T. Johnson Jr. is an investment expert and owner of LSU Trading. He is a former CEO at Boston Cabot LLC and a former member of the board of directors for the Chicago Board of Trade. Craig McCrohon is a partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay and Serritella where he specializes in corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions law. He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a JD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business. Richard Figueroa is the director of Capital Markets for The Opus Group. He is a graduate of Yale University and holds a MBA and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.

Tri-City Regional Port District Board: Edward Hagnauer is a current member of the Tri-City Port District Board and is the Mayor of Granite City. He served on the Madison County Board for seven years, and worked as a Granite City firefighter and fire chief for nearly 30 years.

Tri-County River Valley Development Authority: Laraine E. Bryson has served as president of the Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League for nearly 20 years and holds a J.D. from the St. Louis University School of Law. Michael Thomas Everett is the business manager for IBEW Local #34 and serves on the board of directors of several Peoria-area community organizations including the Heart of IL United Way and the Peoria Economic Development Council.


Lt. Governor Simon to address new lawyers at swearing-in PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 15:37

COLLINSVILLE – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will address 113 new licensed Illinois attorneys on Thursday at the swearing-in ceremony conducted by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier of the Fifth Judicial District.


Simon, a former professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, taught many of the new lawyers and looks forward to welcoming them into the profession. The oath will be administered to 2,125 men and women across the state’s five Supreme Court judicial districts. All of the new lawyers passed the Illinois State Bar Examination in July as well as a mandatory ethics examination. They have also been certified by the Committee on Character and Fitness.


“I’m honored to participate in such an important moment for my former students and future colleagues,” said Simon, who was sworn in as a licensed Illinois attorney in 1987.


The Fifth Judicial District includes the following counties: Alexander, Bond, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Shelby, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.


There are now approximately 91,600 licensed attorneys throughout Illinois, including those to be sworn in Thursday.


DATE: Thursday, November 1

TIME: 2 p.m.

PLACE: Gateway Convention Center Ballroom C-D, One Gateway Drive, Collinsville



Christmas 2012 Bikes for Brains PDF Print E-mail
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Written by M. McNeil   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 08:53

Christmas 2012 Bikes for Brains

On December 10 at the Martin Luther King Center, we are hoping to give bikes to over 100 needy children selected by Head Start, the Early Childhood Centers, Children’s Therapy Center, Youth Hope, Winnie’s Place and The Project.

Each donation of $50 grants a young child a bright, shiny bike, training wheels and a helmet!

Give whatever fits your budget. All donations are appreciated!

Please make your check payable to

Bikes for Brains
c/o Queen’s Parlour
171-19th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265

For more information, call Sandy at 797-1160.  Thanks!

Sponsored by
Bike ‘N Hike
The Pilot Club of Moline
Queen’s Parlour
The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education

Announcing the Launch of the 2012 Bikes for Brains Campaign

A proud dad watches his son ride a new blue bike complete with training wheels. The four year old has a smile as big as the moon. He can’t believe the shiny new bike and Spiderman helmet is his. How could that happen? Mom and dad are struggling each month to pay the bills; they can barely afford to put food on the table, how they can afford a new bike? The answer: Bikes for Brains.

Thanks to the joint effort of Bike ‘N Hike, Queen’s Parlour, The Pilot Club of Moline, and the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education (ROE) more than one thousand children have received their first bike because of this project. Sheila Burns, with the ROE, says this special program is successful because of a loyal group of folks who donate every year. As soon as the fundraising goal is announced each year donations start coming in. A bike with training wheels costs about $50, but as the commercial for a popular credit card says, the memories made on the bike are “priceless”.

Chris Swanson, a local dad who knows how priceless a bike is, says his son loves to ride his bike and he calls the Bikes for Brains program awesome. “My son got his bike two years ago and still rides it. I love that he gets outside and moves around rather than sits inside all the time. I know there are many families that cannot afford a bike right now and this program makes it possible”. Swanson says it may be time to get his son a new, bigger bike, but instead he asks where he can make a donation to help another boy get the thrill of his young lifetime. “I want to donate this year to help another kid get a bike because I know what it feels like to receive the free bike and helmet”.

Donors can contribute any amount toward a bike. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Queen’s Parlour located at 171-19th Avenue in Moline.

Monday, Dec 10th is the day the bikes are given away to families in need. 66 bikes will go to children in the ROE’s 33 Early Childhood Classrooms and the bulk of the remaining to Rock Island Head Start families. Some of those families are recent immigrants and refugees from war torn nations. Children in those families tend to be slightly older and need bigger and more expensive bikes. The group will also be gifting qualified children identified by the Children’s Therapy Center, Youth Hope, Winnie’s Place, and The Project. The giveaway is from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM at the Martin Luther King Center located @ 630-9thStreet in Rock Island. Anderson’s Bookfair Company in Aurora, Illinois will also provide several gently used books for each of the children. And the Pilot Club of Moline will provide helmets and safety lessons via a puppet show throughout the bike giveaway day.


Iowa Court of Appeals November Filing Date PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 13:02
The Iowa Court of Appeals November 14, 2012 filing date has been changed to November 15, 2012.

Testimony suggests administration knew for months Fast and Furious story wrong PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:45

Congressional investigators see pattern of 'slow walking the truth' with Libya embassy attack, ATF gun scandal

Why It Matters:

President Obama promised unprecedented transparency in his administration, but from Libya to Fast and Furious there is growing evidence the administration hasn't lived up to the promise in its early account of controversies. The newest evidence suggests the administration failed to seize an opportunity months earlier to correct the record in the gun-running scandal known as Fast and Furious.

UPDATED 9:28 AM EDT, October 30, 2012 | BY John Solomon

The former head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told congressional investigators he discovered the Obama administration's original account to Congress about the Fast and Furious gun scandal was inaccurate as early as March 2011 and urged the Justice Department to correct the record, an action that did not formally occur until eight months later.

The full testimony from retired Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson has not yet been officially released by Congress. But excerpts were obtained by the Washington Guardian as House and Senate investigators this week issued their second report into the gun-running scandal that has become an embarrassment for the administration and prompted a court fight over executive privilege.

At issue is the Obama administration’s initial account when the Fast and Furious scandal broke in February 2011 that ATF agents never knowingly let semiautomatic weapons fall into the hands of smugglers for the Mexican drug cartels. Senior officials held that position in varying forms for months as the scandal grew, but then reversed course last December in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

Melson’s testimony – during a private deposition with congressional investigators – suggests the administration knew as early as March 2011 that its account was wrong and could have corrected it months earlier than it did.

“I drafted an e-mail to our people, and said, you know, you better back off, you better back off this statement,” Melson testified, recalling what he did in late March 2011 after reading files from the case that contradicted the administration’s official explanation. Melson alerted the U.S. attorney in Phoenix of his concerns, sent an email to his ATF subordinates entitled "Hold the presses" and another to the deputy attorney general's office after making the discovery, according to evidence separately gathered by the Justice Department's inspector general.

But despite those emails, Justice with Melson's blessing sent a second letter to Congress a month later again falsely reasserting no gun had been allowed to walk in the Arizona invetsigation known as Fast and Furious.

Congressional investigators also have learned of a second warning a few months later in August in which senior Justice officials were alerted their assertions were wrong.

The former ATF chief’s account likely will bolster Republican arguments that the administration has repeatedly slow walked the truth when faced with controversies such as the gun-running scandal, the BP oil spill in the Gulf or the recent terror attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

For the rest of the story visit:

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