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Loebsack Column: Reflecting on African American History Month PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Thursday, 28 February 2013 09:21

By Congressman Dave Loebsack

Throughout the month of February, Iowans gathered for different events and celebrations across the state to honor and pay tribute to the many contributions African Americans have made to our great state and nation.  Iowa has always had a proud history of leading the way in advancing civil rights.

As we reflect on the long history of African Americans and their struggle for freedom and equality, we must also take the time to commemorate the great achievements of African Americans right here in Iowa.  From the Civil War to the 21st Century, some of our country’s greatest African American leaders have called Iowa home.

As a graduate of Iowa State, I have long appreciated the story and achievements of George Washington Carver.  Born on a plantation in Missouri, Carver came to Iowa and became the first African American to enroll at what would later be known as Iowa State University.  Completing his bachelor’s degree in 1894, he became the school’s first African American faculty member.  After graduating with his master’s, he joined Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, where his work resulted in hundreds of new products from peanuts and other crops.  Today, he is remembered for improving farming practices and being one of the first prominent African American scientists.

I’m proud to represent an area that is home to many great African American leaders.  Born in Ottumwa, Archie Alexander went on to study engineering at the University of Iowa.  He later became a renowned architect and designed a variety of projects around the country.   One of his most well-known endeavors was the design of airfield where the legendary Tuskegee airmen trained during the Second World War.

In 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt overruled his top generals and ordered the creation of an all African American flight training program.  These pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance, and support staff became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  They served with distinction during World War II despite facing segregation both inside and outside the military.  A few years ago, I had the great honor of presenting the Tuskegee Airmen Bronze Medal to a constituent in the Second District in honor of his service during World War II as one of the first African American military pilots.

I am proud to be an Iowan and I hope that over the last month you have found a way to commemorate the great achievements of African Americans here in Iowa and across the United States.  Our state and our country have made great advances in equality and we must honor those who struggled so long against injustice and discrimination.  As we have done in the past, it is my hope that Iowa will move forward together and continue to fight for equality for all our people.


Governor Quinn Makes Executive Appointments PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 28 February 2013 08:58

Fills Key Positions at Three Universities, Illinois Commerce Commission,

Housing Development Authority and Health Information Exchange Authority

CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today made a number of key appointments to the state’s boards and commissions. In addition to three university boards, the governor filled positions on the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Health Information Exchange Authority and the Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, and several other boards and commissions. Today’s announcement continues his commitment to making Illinois government more accountable, transparent and effective.

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of talented, qualified individuals to these important state boards and commissions,” Governor Quinn said. “Their fresh perspectives, energy and commitment to public service will help move Illinois forward.”

As a result of Governor Quinn’s unprecedented efforts to make the executive appointment process more accessible and transparent, citizens who are interested in serving on boards and commissions can now apply online.

The governor’s appointments are as follows:

Blind Services Planning Council:

Alyson Slaughter, of Alton, is an attorney and is president of the Illinois Association of Blind Students. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Sociology from St. Mary’s College and a JD with a certificate in Health Law Studies from the St. Louis University School of Law.

Board of Credit Union Advisors:

Keith Burton, of Granite City, is executive vice president of GCS Credit Union, where he has worked since 1986. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Carnival-Amusement Safety Board:

William Sparks (reappointed), of New Douglas, is a former assistant bureau chief for the Illinois State Police, where he worked for more than 30 years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Illinois National Guard and is a certified amusement ride safety inspector and a former owner of his own amusement company. He was first appointed in 2011.

East St. Louis Financial Advisory Authority:

Clarence Ellis Sr. (reappointed), of East St. Louis, has served on the authority since 2010 and is a longtime community leader with experience as education instructor and administrator and non-profit director. Ellis is also the former chairman of the East St. Louis Planning Commission and is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Governor’s State University:

Bruce Friefeld (reappointed) is the Chief of Staff for the Will County Board and has served as a Governor’s State trustee since 1996. Friefeld earned a JD from the DePaul University College of Law and is a longtime public servant and a veteran of the United States Naval Reserves.

Anibal Taboas, of Woodridge, is the president and CEO of Aspira Inc., a not-for-profit organization supporting the education of underserved populations in Chicago. Taboas earned master’s degrees in Mechanical/Nuclear Engineering from Northwestern University and in Physics from Indiana State University.

Lorraine Tyson, of Chicago, is a partner at the Pugh, Jones & Johnson law firm, where she specializes in public finance and tax law. Tyson earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a JD from the University Of Illinois College Of Law.

Illinois Commerce Commission:

Sherina Maye is an associate in the Chicago office of Locke Lord LLP where she has focused on consumer finance litigation. She earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College in Atlanta and graduated from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. Sherina is a mentor at the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, member of the National Executive Board of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a Founding Board Member of the Great Lakes Academy Charter School, and serves as an Associate Board Member for the Chicago Committee for Minorities in Large Law Firms. Maye’s strong background in business and consumer finance litigation will be invaluable to the ICC as it continues to serve as a watchdog for Illinois consumers.

Illinois Finance Authority:

Roger Poole, of Smithton, worked as a business representative for the Machinists District #9 for 30 years before retiring in 2009. He also works on economic development and job creation strategy as a member of the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority, where he has served since 2008. He and his wife Rosalie have two sons and two grandchildren.

Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority:

Bechara Choucair (reappointed) has served as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Under his leadership the department unveiled the first citywide comprehensive health agenda, “Healthy Chicago.” Dr. Choucair received his MD from American University of Beirut-Lebanon.

Robert Wellman (reappointed) has been affiliated with the Carle Foundation for nearly 30 years and currently works for the Carle Foundation Hospital, a teaching hospital for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Medicine. Dr. Wellman received his MD from the University of Michigan.

Mark Neaman (reappointed) is the president and CEO of NorthShore University Health System, a $1.6 billion integrated health system, which includes four hospitals, a 650-physician multispecialty group practice, and a Research Institute. Northshore is also an academic affiliate of The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where Mr. Neaman holds a faculty appointment of BioMedicine Fellow. Neaman received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Business/Healthcare Administration from Ohio State University.

Illinois Housing Development Authority:

Cristina Castro, of Elgin, is a member of the Kane County Board, where she serves on the Executive, Finance and Budget and Human Services committees. She earned an MBA from Northern Illinois University and is currently employed as a Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at Elgin Community College.

Salvatore (Sam) Tornatore, of Roselle, is a graduate of the John Marshall Law School and DePaul University in Chicago. He is a principal in the Tornatore Law Office located in Bloomingdale and Roselle. He has served on the DuPage County Board, the Roselle Village Board, the Roselle Zoning Board of Appeals and he is currently serving as a Bloomingdale Township Trustee.

Maternal and Child Health Advisory Board:

Elizabeth SA Patton-Whiteside (reappointed), of East St. Louis, has been a registered nurse in Illinois and Missouri for more than 35 years and currently works for the East St. Louis Department of Public Health. She has served on numerous state and local boards.

Public Guardian, Adams County:

Chris Scholz, of Quincy, is an attorney and partner at Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Siebers and Duesterhaus law firm in Quincy. He is a former Illinois Assistant Attorney General and Assistant State’s Attorney for Adams County. Since 1993, he has served as assistant or chief corporation counsel for the city of Quincy. He is an active member of the community, holding a variety of positions including past president of the Adams County Bar Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and a JD from Mercer University.

Public Guardian, Brown County:

Janet Miley, of Mount Sterling, has managed operations at Brown County High School for 20 years. She and her husband formerly owned and operated their own memorial business. She holds a business degree from Gem City College in Quincy.

Public Guardian, Jackson County:

Shannon Rieckenberg, of Ava, is an attorney at Arbeiter Law Offices specializing in family law and estate planning. She previously completed externships in the Office of the William County State’s Attorney and with the First Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a JD from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees:

Sandra Cook, of Collinsville, is a retired Master Sergeant who served the United States Marine Corps from 1979 until 2001. Following her military career, she earned her undergraduate degree and JD from SIU-Carbondale. She is a senior associate at the Belleville office of Brown & James Law Firm, and the proud mother of two U.S. Army combat veterans.

Dr. Melvin Terrell, of Chicago, served from 1988-2008 as vice president for Student Affairs and professor of Counselor Education at Northeastern Illinois University, where he founded the minority mentorship program, which was designed to improve the persistence and academic goals of Hispanic and African American students. Dr. Terrell is past president of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP) and served as editor of the NASAP Journal for eleven years. He earned his PhD in Higher Education and Black Studies from Southern Illinois University in 1978.

Lee Milner, of Springfield, is the manager of Public Affairs for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. He is a U.S. Army veteran and served at the Illinois State Board of Education for nearly 25 years, where he spent time as manager of the Communications division and as a member of the executive cabinet for the State Superintendent of Education. Lee earned his bachelor’s degree from SIU-Carbondale and his master’s in Public Administration from what is now the University of Illinois Springfield. He is currently on the Board for the Lincoln Land Community College Foundation and serves as president of the FBI Springfield Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Milner's father, four siblings and his two children also attended SIUC.

Southwestern Illinois Development Authority:

Gregory Kuehnel, of Bethalto, is a manufacturing representative for AC Systems and spent 20 years at Amoco Oil, where he rose to senior contract coordinator. He is a former director of facilities for the East Alton Elementary School District and is a veteran of the United States Navy.

Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission:

Craig Futterman, of Chicago, is a law professor at the University of Chicago Law School and was formerly the director of Public Interest Programs at Stanford Law School, where he also earned his JD. He is a former Cook County Public Defender and federal civil rights litigator. He founded the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project at the University of Chicago’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic.

Neil Toppel (reappointed) of Chicago, is a former public defender and received his JD from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Leonard Cavise (reappointed) is a professor at DePaul University College of Law and alumnus of Georgetown Law.

Tri-City Regional Port District

Andy Economy (reappointed), of Madison, is the Venice Township Supervisor and has served on the Tri-City Regional Port District since 2005. He also owns his own auto body repair and towing business.

Western Illinois University Board of Trustees:

Yvonne Savala, of Moline, is currently the operations director at the Midwest Intellectual Property Management Institute. She received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Technology from St. Ambrose University and an MPA with an Executive Development emphasis from Drake University.

Roger Clawson, of Moline, is a past president of the Western Illinois Alumni Association and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from WIU-Macomb in 1977. He was a member of a task force to create the Moline WIU campus and currently works as a State Farm Insurance Agent. He is active in the community, where he has served as president of the Moline Park Board and as director of the Moline Little League.

Carolyn Ehlert Fuller (reappointed) of Milan, has served on the WIU board since 1998, where she has been president twice. She recently retired from Deere & Company as director of Public Affairs & Program Support, Public Affairs Worldwide. Having worked at Deere & Company since 1979, she also served as manager of Illinois Government Affairs and manager of Public Policy Planning. She received her MBA from St. Ambrose University and her bachelor’s from Marycrest College.

Of Illinois’ more than 320 boards and commissions, 23 are compensated: six of which are full-time, paid positions while the remaining 14 are part-time or per diem. The remaining more than 290 boards are unpaid, volunteer boards. Board salaries are set by Illinois statute. Governor Quinn is conducting a top-to-bottom review of Illinois’ boards and commissions to seek out ways to increase efficiency while protecting essential boards in place that are needed.

For more information on all of the state’s boards and commissions, or to apply to serve on a board, please visit


Lt. Governor Simon statement on passing of Justice Mary Ann McMorrow PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 28 February 2013 08:50
CARBONDALE – February 25, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon issued the following statement in response to the passing of her friend and mentor, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Justice McMorrow, someone I have been fortunate to call a friend and hero. I met Justice McMorrow many years ago, because she and my mother, Jeanne Hurley Simon, were the first two women to serve as assistant state's attorneys in Cook County. They remained lifetime friends.

“As a woman and a lawyer, I am inspired by Justice McMorrow’s fearlessness in tearing down gender barriers to become the first woman to be an Illinois Supreme Court justice and later the first woman to serve as the court’s chief justice. It was truly an honor when Justice McMorrow swore me in as our state’s Lt. Governor.

“Illinois has lost a trailblazer and a great leader, but her legacy will live on for years to come.”

Leading Small Town Specialty Store Joins Celebration of American Style PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Monica Hendrickson   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:34
Duluth, Minn. – Today, maurices announced their participation in Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show taking place in South Beach, Miami from 8 p.m. EST on March 1 to 8 p.m. EST on March 2. The 2nd annual event is a celebration of the diverse fashion trends across America and maurices will style 10 special cotton looks as part of the 1,440 looks being featured on the runway during the show.

During the 1-2 p.m. EST hour on Saturday, March 2, maurices will showcase various styles that highlight the savvy, fashion conscious attitudes of their consumers, from cotton maxi skirts and denim vests to pinstripe shorts and tie-dye sweaters.

“Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show is the first national fashion event that maurices is participating in, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it,” says Lisa Bartlett, Associate Vice President of Marketing at maurices. “We’ll be sharing our style inspirations for the maurices girl throughout the show – whether she’s enjoying a night out with friends or creating memories through travels across the country.”

Other pieces being highlighted in the show include destroyed denim jeans, cotton dresses and ruffled tops. Fashion lovers everywhere will be able view the entire maurices’ collection by tuning into where the show will be streamed live for the entire 24 hours. Consumers can also visit to purchase select items featuring a cotton content of 60% or more at a 24% discount between March 1-2.

Fashionistas can obtain more information about where to purchase their favorite maurices clothing from the show by visiting or

About maurices
maurices, a brand of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ – ASNA), is the leading hometown specialty store and authority for the savvy, fashion-conscious girl with a twenty-something attitude. Today, maurices operates 850 stores in 46 states and Canada. maurices stands for fashion, quality, value and customer service. Offering sizes 1-24, styles are inspired by the girl in everyone, in every size. For store information and to shop online, visit

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Prepare Now for Natural Disasters PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 15:27

By Jason Alderman

Natural disasters are inevitable, unpreventable and often come without warning. No part of the world seems to be spared, whether it's a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, drought or flood. Even though such catastrophes can't always be predicted, their likely aftermaths often can, including property loss, power or water service disruption, scarcity of food and supplies or overtaxed relief organizations.

Superstorm Sandy was a powerful reminder of why it's vital to develop a family disaster plan. By planning ahead and knowing what you might need under dire circumstances, you can save yourselves a lot of time, money and grief.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers great suggestions for developing a family emergency plan, building an emergency supply kit, and learning what to do before, during and after emergencies – even a plan for family pets (

Once your physical safety has been assured, you'll inevitably need to access important financial and legal records, whether to file insurance claims, apply for loans or simply withdraw cash. Taking these few steps now will make accessing such information much easier when the time comes:

Create a log of all account numbers, toll-free emergency numbers, contact information and passwords for your bank and credit card accounts, loans, insurance policies, utilities and other important accounts. Update it regularly and save copies in secure, offsite locations such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend living in another area. You can also email the list to yourself in an encrypted, password-protected file, save it on a CD or USB drive, or use a cloud-based storage service like Dropbox that will let you access it from any Internet connection.

Make PDF copies of tax returns, insurance policies and legal documents and save offsite in the same manner as above, in case your files or computer are destroyed by fire or flood. Also make digital copies of invaluable family photos, documents and memorabilia that money can't replace.

Document your possessions. If you should ever need to file an insurance claim or claim a tax deduction for lost, stolen or damaged property, it'll be much easier if you have an inventory of everything you own – photos or videotape are even better. A few available tools:

  • The IRS' Casualty, Theft and Loss Workbook (IRS Publication 584) includes a worksheet for cataloging and estimating the value of your possessions.
  • The Insurance Information Institute maintains a free, secure online home inventory software application that lets you access your home inventory, anywhere, anytime (
  • Your insurance company's website likely contains a downloadable inventory form.

Make sure you fully understand what is and isn't covered by your insurance policies for natural disasters. You may need additional coverage for damage associated with hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and other weather conditions. Also:

  • Document any damage with photos or video before you start cleanup or repairs.
  • Keep track of expenses you incur to prevent further damage, for temporary housing or to move your possessions for safekeeping, as they may be reimbursable under your insurance claim.
  • Don't delay submitting your claim, since insurers often settle claims in the order filed.

FEMA provides information on how you might be able to get government assistance before, during and after a disaster at

Bottom line: Develop a family emergency plan now and make sure everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes.

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