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Governor Quinn Announces Tax Relief for Businesses and Families Impacted by Flooding PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Erin Wilson   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:32

Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines Pushed to October 31, 2013

PEORIA – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois businesses and individuals who file monthly, quarterly or annual returns and have been impacted by the flooding will have until Oct. 31 to file tax returns that were due on or after April 19. The extended deadline will provide much-needed relief for individuals and local businesses trying to file their returns or payments on time while recovering from the flood.

“Families and businesses across Illinois need time to focus on rebuilding their businesses, homes and lives,” Governor Quinn said. “Once families have recovered, they can pull together the necessary paperwork to file and pay their taxes.”

Taxpayers who opt to mail their deferred returns and payments should write Flood – April 2013 on the outside of the envelope in red ink and on the top of each page of the tax filing, so the account can be updated and handled appropriately. Filers using My Tax Illinois or WebFile will be provided instructions when they file their returns so that no late fees or penalties will be billed to their accounts.  For questions, the Illinois Department of Revenue has set up a mailbox dedicated to the flood issue: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

“While we encourage individuals and businesses to bring their tax filings up to date as soon as their lives return to normal, we hope this deferred payment option is helpful to Illinois families and businesses,” Revenue Director Brian Hamer said.

The tax relief will help individuals and local businesses, such as hardware stores struggling to meet customer needs while cleaning up after the flood; they will be able to focus on their customers and will have extra time to file and pay the sales taxes they collect. Individuals and businesses who normally file quarterly returns won’t have the pressure to file those returns or payments while trying to recover from the flood. Distributors driving through flooded streets to get motor fuel to gas stations will have extra time to pay the taxes they owe.

Since Thursday, Governor Quinn has surveyed damage on the ground and from the air and met with local officials in some of the hardest hit communities, including Elmhurst, Des Plaines, River Forest, Bellwood, Riverside, Moline, Quincy, Bartonville, North Aurora, Marseilles, Ottawa, North Utica, Morris and Meredosia.

Personnel from FEMA, IEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will begin assessing damage to homes and businesses in Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties on April 29. The teams will move to other affected counties as floodwaters recede so they are able to accurately assess the damage. Governor Quinn has declared a total of 44 counties state disaster areas.

Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. It came after assessments by emergency officials and the governor, and begins the process of securing federal relief.

As of today, the state has fulfilled more than 140 requests for assistance from counties including:

Department of Transportation

  • More than 240 IDOT personnel and 160 trucks and equipment have been deployed to deliver sandbags, plastic, pumps, hoses, trucks and drivers to communities and assist with debris removal.
  • Conducting flyovers of flooded areas for situational awareness.
  • Providing guidance to communities on pumping equipment needs.

Department of Corrections

  • Nearly 570 offenders have filled and placed sandbags in several communities, logging more than 5,700 hours.
  • More than 1,140 offenders at IDOC correctional facilities have worked around the clock to fill more than 140,000 sandbags since April 19.

Department of Natural Resources

  • DNR boats and conservation police officers have assisted with home and medical evacuations, transportation, river rescues, missing person searches and other flood-related responses.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency

  • Provided 40 StarCom radios to the Algonquin Police Department for emergency communications.
  • Deployed liaison teams to coordinate response efforts along the Mississippi River.
  • Coordinating requests for assistance from affected counties with state resources.

Illinois National Guard

  • UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and two crew members assisted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with overflight of the Des Plaines and Little Calumet Rivers to survey integrity of flood control systems and infrastructure.

Illinois State Police

  • Continue to assist motorists and local public safety agencies with flood-related issues.

Department of Public Health

  • Provided information on tetanus shots to local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices.
  • Arranged for the delivery of seven port-a-potties to support workers at two sandbagging sites.
  • Monitoring situations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities affected by flooding.

Department of Central Management Services

  • Procured sandbags, plastic and work gloves to support local sandbagging operations.

Governor Quinn activated the State Incident Response Center on Thursday to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas. The state’s flood response is coordinated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

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Dog and Cat Food, Treats Recalled Nationwide as Salmonella Discovered PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by James Judge   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 15:31
MINNEAPOLIS – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are urging people to stop using and return or discard certain Natura Pet Products food and treats after the company issued a recall due to potential salmonella contamination Friday.

According to a press release issued by Natura Pet Products, the company is expanding its original recall after sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of salmonella in additional dry pet food and a cat pet treat.

The brands affected are California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, Innova and Karma with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014(See table below for additional details).

The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Costa Rica, as well as online, the release said.

People who have the potentially contaminated product should discard it immediately and stop handling it as it poses a risk to humans as well.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Common symptoms of salmonella in pets include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever and abdominal discomfort.

“Any time you notice your pet is not acting right, you should take him or her to your family veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl. “If it is an after-hours emergency, we would be glad to help at any one of our locations.”

The affected products are:
Brand   Size    Description     UPC     Lot Codes(s)    EXPIRATION DATE
California Natural      All
Sizes   All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties        All
UPCs    All Lot Codes   All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
EVO     All
Sizes   All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties
All ferret food varieties       All
UPCs    All Lot Codes   All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Healthwise      All
Sizes   All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties        All
UPCs    All Lot Codes   All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Innova  All
Sizes   All dry dog and dry cat
food and treat varieties        All
UPCs    All Lot Codes   All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Karma   All
Sizes   All dry dog food varieties      All
UPCs    All Lot Codes   All expiration dates prior to and
including MARCH 24, 2014
Natura Pet Products also recommended for consumers to visit www.naturapet.com for additional information. For a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
Formed in 2008, BluePearl Veterinary Partners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and employs more than 1,200 people including approximately 250 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and don’t provide primary care. Most BluePearl hospitals offer 24-hour emergency care services. BluePearl is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship educational programs. BluePearl also participates in and conducts clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments, which give clients access to cutting-edge medicine not yet commercially available and improves the quality of care delivered to our patients.
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Medicare Advantage/stock incident, Tavenner nomination PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:52
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today released details of a timeline on a key Medicare policy decision earlier this month that reportedly moved stock prices when correctly described  by an outside firm prior to public release.  Grassley received information about the timeline from Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in response to his inquiry.  Grassley’s office has calculated that the Medicare Advantage policy decision was worth about $8 billion to the health care companies participating in Medicare Advantage.  He made the following comment on the new timeline details and the nomination of Tavenner to serve as permanent administrator.

“This timeline suggests CMS knew it was going to assume a sustainable growth rate fix in the Medicare Advantage rates on March 15.  I don’t think anyone who understands the background believes CMS made the decision on its own or that the first time it was known outside of CMS was May 22.  This was a decision not only with a high price tag, but also with political implications for the White House.  A policy decision benefiting the big insurance companies by $8 billion is not a routine undertaking for this Administration.  Given the high probability that the White House, National Economic Council, and Domestic Policy Council were involved in the $8 billion decision before March 15, a significant number of people likely knew what the outcome would be long before the decision was announced.  It seems unlikely that none of them hinted at it to anyone else for more than two weeks.  That’s especially true with the efforts from lobbyists and at least one political intelligence firm to get early insight into the decision.  Acting Administrator Tavenner has been responsive to my inquiries on this issue, in a letter last Friday and on a phone call this morning.  I intend to support her nomination and continue to work with her to get to the bottom of what led to the early release of information about the Medicare Advantage decision.”

Grassley’s April 4 letter to Tavenner is available here.  Tavenner’s April 19 response to Grassley is available here.

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NFPA to highlight dangers of kitchen fires during Fire Prevention Week in October PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by NFPA   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:24
2013 theme aimed at leading cause of home fires

April 22, 2013 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced the 2013 Fire Prevention Week theme:  “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” NFPA selected this theme to encourage greater care when cooking and an awareness of kitchen fire dangers. As cooking is the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries, NFPA will use the week of October 6-12 to promote safe kitchen habits with stoves, microwaves and other appliances. Remaining attentive while cooking and managing how close children and pets are to anything hot will help keep families safe.

NFPA is announcing the theme of Fire Prevention Week 2013 to coincide with the opening of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC). Thousands of firefighters from across the globe will gather for this conference in Indianapolis to train, network and learn. Conference attendees are invited to stop by NFPA’s booth to view new campaign materials that will be on public display for the first time.

Video:  Sparky the Fire Dog® and Ken Willette, NFPA’s division manager of Public Fire Protection announce the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2013.

“On average, firefighters respond to more than 400 kitchen fires every day” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “By making kitchen fire safety the theme for 2013 Fire Prevention Week, we can raise the awareness of the leading cause of fires, unattended cooking, and provide life saving safety tips to improve the safety of everyone in the home.”

The 2013 Fire Prevention Week campaign materials prominently feature Sparky the Fire Dog®, NFPA’s mascot. Sparky’s Wish List is an online registry where fire departments request much needed educational materials and individuals or businesses purchase items for them. Nearly 700 fire departments have registered.

NFPA is providing important kitchen safety tips to homeowners that align with the Fire Prevention Week theme:

  • When you fry, grill, or broil food, stay in the kitchen.
  • Maintain a kid- and pet-free zone at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
  • Keep a lid and oven mitt nearby when you’re cooking to use in case of a grease fire. If you have a grease fire, slide a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Visit www.firepreventionweek.org for more information and safety tips.

About Fire Prevention Week
NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance each October since 1925.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

 

 
SEC co-directors of enforcement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:23
Monday, April 22, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s announcement that Acting Director George Canellos and former federal prosecutor Andrew Ceresney have been named co-directors of the Division of Enforcement.  Media reports have described Ceresney as the “longtime lieutenant” of new SEC chairman Mary Jo White as a corporate defense lawyer at the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

“With the head of the SEC and one of the co-directors of enforcement coming from the same firm, both might be recused from many cases involving that firm’s clients. The SEC will have to ensure that cases don’t fall by the wayside because of potential conflicts of interest and recusals. The commission can’t give any impression of favoritism toward former clients of the chairman and co-director of enforcement’s former law firm.”

 
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