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Governor Quinn Signs Housing Bills to Support People with Disabilities and Protect Homeowners from Mortgage Fraud PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:01

Announces up to $50 million for permanent supportive housing

 

CHICAGO – August 3, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed two new housing laws to provide people with disabilities with more access to affordable rental housing, and to further protect homeowners from mortgage fraud. The supportive housing law makes $10 million in rental housing subsidies available over 15 years to eligible landlords. In addition, the governor announced the commitment of up to $40 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds for developers of permanent supportive housing. These laws build on the governor’s strong commitment to providing more housing options for people with disabilities, and to protecting consumers from predatory lenders.

“I am committed to strengthening Illinois’ communities and our economy,” Governor Quinn said. “Thanks to these new laws, more people with disabilities will have a safe and comfortable place to call home and homeowners will be better protected.”

House Bill 5450, sponsored by Rep. Esther Golar (D-Chicago) and Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), enables grant funding to be designated for people with disabilities under the Rental Housing Support Program, one of the nation’s largest state rental assistance programs, which is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). The new law and the Illinois Jobs Now! funding commitment will significantly increase opportunities for people with disabilities to access affordable rental housing throughout Illinois. The new law takes effect immediately.

“I was able to work with IHDA on this new law, which allows grant funding to develop housing opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Sen. Delgado, Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee.  “The previous law stated that to qualify for these grants a person had to have a specific disability, the new law will allow all with disabilities to qualify for assistance.”

Also today, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 4521, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago), which raises fees for mortgage company licensees and significantly increases fines penalizing mortgage fraud to better protect homeowners. The new law also strengthens the ability of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Division of Banking to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud throughout the state. The new law is effective immediately, with one provision taking effect Jan. 1, 2013.

“Exercising vigilant oversight in the areas of loan modifications and short sales will be particularly beneficial as we work to slow the rate of foreclosure and protect distressed homeowners from financial exploitation,” said Sen. Collins.

Earlier this year, Governor Quinn launched the Active Community Care Transition (ACCT) Plan to increase the number of people with developmental disabilities and mental health conditions living in community-based care settings across Illinois. The ACCT Plan also will help the state save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year while providing good care for people with developmental disabilities.

“Supportive housing makes a difference in the lives of people with disabilities by empowering them to live independently as part of a community,” said IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney. “Under Governor Pat Quinn’s leadership, IHDA has financed approximately 1,300 units of supportive housing to enable people with disabilities to live independently.”

With House Bill 5450, landlords providing supportive housing units may apply for subsidies under the Long Term Operating Support (LTOS) portion of the Rental Housing Support Program. The LTOS program is funded through a $10 fee collected from real estate document recordings, and the new round of funding will help an estimated 150 households headed by a person with a disability.

In addition, today’s Illinois Jobs Now! commitment will spur the development of approximately 200 new supportive housing units through a new round of the state’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Development Program. Governor Quinn’s historic capital program included $130 million for affordable and supportive housing to further create opportunities for people with disabilities to live independently. The first round of the PSH Program financed 122 units of supportive housing.

IHDA is currently accepting applications from landlords and developers for the LTOS and PSH programs.  Applications and information are available at www.ihda.org.

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Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds release statements on Alliant Energy’s announcement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of Governor Terry Branstad   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:40

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, today, issued statements commending Interstate Power and Light Company, a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation for the announcement of their four-part energy resources strategy. The strategy includes reducing emissions, increasing efficiency, a new purchase power agreement, and construction of a new natural-gas facility in Marshalltown.

Governor Branstad released the following statement:

“In order to meet our goal of growing Iowa’s economy and creating 200,000 new jobs in five years, Iowa needs a diversified energy portfolio that features low cost, reliable energy. Safe and reliable energy is a key point for economic development in Iowa and assists in attracting new businesses and jobs to the state. Today’s announcement will benefit Iowans for many years to come,” said Branstad.

“I applaud Alliant Energy for their commitment to the state of Iowa and choosing to construct a new $650 million facility in Marshalltown. This expansion helps drive Iowa’s economy and creates good paying, quality jobs in our state.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds released the following statement:

“Alliant Energy has a smart and focused blueprint to provide safe and reliable energy for Iowa today and for future generations. A well-balanced energy strategy that includes a commitment to the development and use of energy efficiency programs is a key component to a business’s decision to move to Iowa. The Alliant Energy announcement is yet another example of Iowa’s growing economy through the creation of new and quality jobs.”

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Leahy, Grassley Introduce Legislation to Implement Patent Law Treaties That Will Help U.S. Businesses Obtain Patent Protections Overseas PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:32

WASHINGTON (Thursday, August 2, 2012) – U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation today to implement two patent law treaties that will help American businesses expand into foreign markets by reducing obstacles for obtaining patent protection overseas.

“In this global economy, it is not enough to have an effective domestic patent system; we must also help American inventors and businesses to protect their inventions and thrive in markets around the world,”  said Leahy following the bill’s introduction.

The Hague Agreement Concerning International Registration of Industrial Designs allows American industrial design creators to apply for design protection in all member countries by filing a single, standardized, English-language application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The Patent Law Treaty limits the formalities different countries can require in patent applications, removing barriers that currently burden U.S. patent holders.  The treaties, which were signed under President Clinton and submitted to the Senate by President George W. Bush, received unanimous support when the Senate voted to approve ratification in 2007.  Enactment of the legislation will allow the State Department to ratify the treaties so they can go into effect.

“American businesses and inventors will benefit from harmonized applications, reducing the cost of doing business and encouraging U.S. innovators to protect and export their products internationally,” said Leahy. “I urge the Senate to act quickly on this final step so that the treaties can be ratified and American innovators and businesses can benefit from them as U.S. products continue to thrive on the global stage.”

“The patent system needs to keep up with the 21st century, global economy,” said Grassley.  “This legislation will help facilitate protection of American inventors’ research, engineering and creativity in the international arena.”

A copy of the Senate legislation can be found online.

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Adah Menken’s Gay Friends PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 06 August 2012 07:40
By: Michael & Barbara Foster

On December 18, 2010 the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed by an act of Congress and, finally, gays may serve openly in the U.S. military. In June 2011 New York, at the urging of Governor Andrew Cuomo, became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned California’s Proposition 8, ruling voters couldn’t deprive gay couples of the right to marry. The judges emphasized the inviolable “status and human dignity of gays and lesbians” under the U.S. Constitution. We supposed that the issue of legal equality for gays and lesbians was on its way to being settled once and for all. Are we mistaken?

The Republican presidential hopefuls - or rather, hopeless - are generally opposed to gay marriage, with the worst of them being against gays, period. Bill Burton, senior strategist backing President Obama, has mentioned “a hateful politics of the past that aims to demean the relationships of millions of gay Americans.” But how deeply rooted is this archaic but still powerful prejudice? We can cite a fascinating example from Civil War America, and of a celebrated woman who played a heroic part in defending her gay friends.

In New York of 1860, 150 years ago, when aspiring actress Adah Isaacs Menken met the already notorious poet Walt Whitman, being a gay man was entirely hidden from public view. Because Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (first edition 1855) was considered overtly sexual and obscene in the male/female way, the poet was denounced by press and pulpit as “reckless and indecent.” One reverend, who got the point of the poem “City of Orgies,” did suggest Walt was guilty of "that horrible sin not to be mentioned among Christians." In contrast, Adah was recently married to America’s first sports hero, John Heenan, the bareknuckle boxing champ, who had sailed for England to fight for the world heavyweight title. Adah, appearing to cheering audiences, hardly expected she was on the edge of a front-page scandal that would replay the criticism of Whitman.

Adah Bertha Theodore was born in 1835 in New Orleans, her mother a kept woman of color. Adah’s father was Jewish, a man of means, whose precise identity remains debated. Subjected to several stepfathers, Adah grew up in Texas: petite, pretty, dark hair luxuriant, eyes blue-grey. She learned to ride and shoot and became a stunt performer in a circus. After an affair with the Cuban poet and revolutionary Juan Zenea, Adah married the musician Alex Menken. Came hard times and they moved to Alex’s hometown of Cincinnati. Here Adah played the dutiful wife, but in the summer, 1859 she fled from her alcoholic husband. She supposed she had obtained a divorce from Rabbi Wise, founder of Reform Judaism. She took with her only Alex’s name.

In New York, Adah’s marriage to John Heenan was held quietly at a roadhouse on upper Broadway. Lower down on the avenue at Bleecker Street, Charlie Pfaff ran a smoky beer cellar frequented by the town’s Bohemian crowd. Writers, actors, bad girls, and gay guys could be found there. Adah, lonely, was accompanied to Pfaff’s by Robert Newell, straight-laced editor of the influential Sunday Mercury, who was in love and published her poetry. There she met Walt, 40, lots of graying hair and beard, eyes sparkling, dressed casually in a velveteen jacket over striped vest and pants. Walt looked out for “the swift flash of eyes offering me love.” He especially liked the young roughs, as he called them, bus drivers like punky Peter Doyle with whom he would have a long, intimate relationship. He and Adah became friends at once.

She was the great admirer of “the American philosopher,” as she termed Walt in a major article in the Mercury. Adah’s provocative “Swimming Against the Current” eulogized Whitman as “far ahead of his contemporaries,” who failed to understand him. Heeding “the Divine voice,” he kept on writing “for the cause of liberty and humanity!” Adah, in her understanding of the poet, had little company. Walt was thrilled by praise from “Mrs. Heenan,” whose own verse became nakedly confessional. Newell, biding his time, loathed “that coarse and uncouth creature, Walt Whitman.” Adah’s defense of Walt set her up for the scandal to come.

In August 1860 John Heenan, after winning the world boxing title, returned to New York, cheered by a vast crowd. He brought along his British mistress, and he denounced Adah as a liar and strumpet, claiming they had never married. According to the champ, Adah was "the most dangerous woman in the world" - inspiring the title of the Fosters' biography. To add insult to injury, Alex Menken publicly claimed he had never divorced Adah, and she was a bigamist! The two-penny newspapers ran with both contradictory stories, elbowing out Abe Lincoln's election as President. Adah, now infamous, was shut out of work in the theater. She felt a humiliation akin to that society forced on gay men. On New Year's Eve she attempted suicide and fortunately failed.

Adah Menken would rise to a peak of stardom hitherto unknown: In the heroic role of Lord Byron's Prince Mazeppa, a freedom fighter, she swept gold rush California. Packed audiences of miners tossed bags of gold dust on stage in appreciation. Cub reporter Sam Clemens (later Mark Twain) wrote up Adah’s dangerous, seemingly nude act strapped to a wild stallion that climbed a four-story stage mountain. Sam compared Adah to a constellation in the heavens, "The Great Bare" (inspiring the Fosters' website of that name). Adah became known as The Naked Lady, the talk of Victorian London and the toast of Napoleon III’s Paris. Aside from going through five husbands, including Newell, and famous lovers such as Alexandre Dumas and possibly fellow cross-dresser George Sand, Adah was courted by the youthful King Charles I of Württemberg, Germany. Charles was not only handsome but bright and interested in the arts. Their purposely public romance was the chatter of all Paris, convinced they were lovers. Except that the king was gay and preferred male lovers, and his counselors, worried about that sort of scandal, used the ballyhooed liaison with Adah as cover. Adah went along with the charade, both to help her friend keep his throne and to fend off the advances of the lecherous Emperor Napoleon.

In summer 1867, toward the end of Adah's brief, brilliant but doomed life, she corresponded from Paris with her California friend Charles Warren Stoddard, the first admittedly gay American writer. Adah, sad because of "the ghosts of wasted hours and of lost loves always tugging at my heart," gladly reached out to the young man, who felt isolated in the raw, he-man West. "I already know your soul," she wrote Charles. "It has met mine somewhere on the starry highway of thought." She knew she was a scandal to the so-called just, the Puritanical hypocrites who infected her world and still blather today. Stoddard, destined to write beautifully of the South Seas, was able to identify with The Lepers of Molokai, his best-known work.

Adah Menken felt she had lived "always in bad odor with people who do not know me," that she had startled the world. "Alas!" she communed with Charles. A year later, while crowds packed a theater demanding to see her perform, the Naked Lady passed on to the world of spirit. Her death defying act had taken its toll.

Adah, hurrah!

About: Michael & Barbara Foster are the authors of A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken - America's Original Superstar (www.thegreatbare.com). Michael Foster is a historian, novelist and biographer, acclaimed by the New York Times. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Barbara Foster is an associate professor of women’s studies at City University of New York.

 
$50,000 PRIZE WINNER IN DISBELIEF PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amy Garringer   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 07:29

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Colona, Ill. man said he thought he had won a $50 prize on his “The Black Ticket” instant-scratch game, but then saw more zeros appear as he continued scratching.

Virgil Norton, 75, was traveling through Davenport when he decided to stop at Kwik Shop, 2242 E. 12th St. in Davenport to purchase a ticket. He hadn’t played The Black Ticket for a while, so he bought just one of those. He scratched it in the parking lot.

“I looked at those zeros and at the winning number and I was in shock,” he said.

Norton has told his family and friends about his win and everyone is very excited for him.

“My step daughter said it’s great, that we deserve to win,” he said.

Norton said he’s planning to use some of his winnings to do some work to his vehicle and around his house.

Norton claimed his prize July 23 at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids.

The Black Ticket is a $5 scratch game. Players try to win a prize by matching any of “your numbers” to any “winning numbers” to win the prize shown for that number. If players find the “coin” symbol, they win that prize instantly. Players who find the “bill” symbol win double the prize amount shown for that symbol. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are 1 in 3.74.

Two top prizes of $50,000 are still up for grabs in The Black Ticket, as well as 18 prizes of $1,000, more than 20 prizes of $200 and more than 45 prizes of $100.

Players can enter eligible nonwinning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.9 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

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