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Smiddy Votes for Increased Boating Safety, Encourages Residents to Practice Safe Boating PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rep. Mike Smiddy   
Friday, 24 May 2013 07:31
PORT BYRON, IL – State Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) encourages local residents to practice safe boating habits in recognition of Safe Boating Week.

“Enjoying the outdoors and spending recreational time with friends and family is a part of the summer culture for many families in our area,” Smiddy said. “We should all take the necessary precautions to ensure that everyone using our waters this summer remains safe.”

Continuing efforts to increase boating safety, the legislature recently unanimously approved a proposal aimed at preventing dangerous and avoidable accidents caused by boaters operating a boat under the influence of alcohol. Under Senate Bill 1479, boat operators involved in an accident causing injury or death would be required to complete a blood alcohol level test, similar to implied consent to a chemical test for drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Several other states passed or are considering similar measures.

“Boating can be dangerous activity when inexperienced operators, rough waters, and quickly changing conditions are brought together,” said Smiddy. “This initiative will help keep children, families, and friends safe by further discouraging boat operators from boating recklessly.”

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reported 101boating-related accidents in 2012, including 17 deaths and 77 injuries. Wearing life vests, completing boating safety courses, and avoiding alcohol while operating a motorized boat help protect boaters from accidents and injury. IDNR offers free instructor-led safety education classes throughout the year in addition to online education programs. Information on these programs can be found at www.dnr.state.il.us/safety or by calling IDNR toll-free at (800) 832-2599.

For more information, contact Smiddy’s office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (309) 848-9098, or toll free at (855) 243-4988.

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Civil Air Patrol providing aerial, ground team assistance in wake of Oklahoma tornadoes PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Cox   
Friday, 24 May 2013 07:25

May 23, 2013 -- MOORE, Okla. -- New information is coming in on the damage caused by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. At the request of the Department of Emergency Management for the state of Oklahoma, Civil Air Patrol is flying the tornado paths capturing high-quality imagery to assess the damage from the storms. CAP is also deploying ground teams to go block by block, house by house and document the destruction.

“The damage is difficult to see and process,” said Maj. Sam Ory, ground team leader for the initial response. “Before you get here and witness it, you really can’t imagine a storm causing this destruction.” The damage path in the Moore vicinity is estimated to be 17 miles in length and at its peak was almost 2 miles wide, with debris scattered more than 3 miles from ground zero.

CAP’s Oklahoma Wing has flown five sorties taking several hundred digital photos at the request of the state. Wing aircrews flew over the track of the tornados that hit the Shawnee and Edmond areas on Sunday, and are currently flying sorties over the track of the storm that hit Moore and surrounding communities on Monday afternoon.

Two more sorties were flown today. 

Ground teams from CAP’s Oklahoma and Kansas wings, at the request of Federal Emergency Management Agency, are taking images of every residence affected by the storm. CAP has additional ground teams responding from the Texas and Arkansas wings to assist in that task. CAP members from Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Missouri and Pennsylvania have offered to help as well.

Immediately following the tornadoes, members of CAP’s Flying Castle Composite Squadron, Edmond Composite Squadron and Cleveland County Composite Squadron responded in numbers. They assisted in search and rescue in the hardest-hit areas and provided temporary communications support to the city of Moore and logistics support in the staging areas.

“More than 100 members from four wings are assisting with air and ground team efforts, and the number of requests is growing by the hour,” said Lt. Col. Russell Davis, CAP’s incident commander for the Oklahoma tornado response. “CAP’s unpaid professionals are ever vigilant, trained and ready to serve our fellow citizens when disaster strikes.  Additional CAP volunteers from across the nation will join forces with us, as needed, to get the job done.”

In addition to their flights for the state, members of the Oklahoma Wing are providing air and ground sorties to a combat camera team from Air Combat Command, which plans to do a story on military support of the ongoing relief efforts.

Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1941 with a 501(c)3 designation and pre-dates the Air Force. CAP consists of 61,000 unpaid professional members nationwide, and operates a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. Its unpaid professionals also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 26,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP is a force multiplier to the Air Force CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 71 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.

 
Senator Durbin To Meet with Faith Coalition for the Common Good’s African-American & Latino Immigration Reform Leaders on Monday, May 27 at First Lutheran Church PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Veronica Resa   
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 16:01

(Illinois) --On Monday, May 27, 2013, as we honor the fallen during the Memorial Day weekend holiday -- leaders, activists and immigrants fighting for a pathway to citizenship --will meet at the First Lutheran Church, 301 W. 4th Street in Beardstown, Illinois, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00, to speak directly with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin about the immigration reform bill.

Immigrants from the community will also share their dreams and stories of struggle and heartbreak in their adopted homeland.  “We are grateful that Senator Durbin is taking time during this holiday weekend to listen to the struggles of our immigrant population,” says Sam Komla, President of Beardstown Immigrant Families United, a member of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good.  “We are also looking forward to hearing updates about the movement of the immigration bill from the Senate to the House.”

Directly following the meeting with Senator Durbin, there will be a an opportunity for those attending, to participate in a “DREAM FOR ALL” postcard signing campaign, with the goal of 1000 signed postcards which will be presented to Congressman Aaron Schock at a later date.  The postcards ask for compassionate immigration reform now.

Faith Coalition for the Common Good is a Gamaliel affiliate. During the month of May, Gamaliel affiliates across the country are holding Sacred Conversations: A Time to Tell Our Stories about Immigration.  Many of these conversations are open to the public and the goal is to lift-up the stories of immigrants vying for a clear expedited path to citizenship in the United States.

“While congress dithers and collects paychecks during sequestration, jail and shackles have become our immigration policy, a policy that tears families apart and devastates communities,” says Executive Director Ana Garcia-Ashley. “We must work harder to make immigration reform happen now. People’s lives and dreams are at stake.”

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Star Spangled Banner for Memorial Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Richard Mgrdechian   
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 07:16
Fellow Patriot,

You may be aware of the problems Madison Rising had with Facebook a couple of weeks back. Thousands of fan postings of our #1 best-selling Star Spangled Banner video suddenly disappeared. We still haven't gotten an explanation as to why.

It would be great to team up to make it viral again for Memorial Day: http://youtu.be/c8C7i9kdEf8

“Awesome,” “deeply moving,” “amazing,” “chilling,” and “the best ever,” are just some of the superlatives used to describe the band’s rendition of the song that celebrates what being an American is all about.

With nearly 4 million views on YouTube, the band is well on its way to achieving its goal of five million views by July 4th.        

Madison Rising promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. Their mission is not only to make great music, but to also send a message that American culture is alive and well.

Thanks!

 
Top IRS Official Acknowledges Mistakes in Response to Grassley Questions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 13:38

May 21, 2013 - WASHINGTON – In response to questions from Sen. Chuck Grassley, a top IRS official today acknowledged that the way the agency reportedly treated a small Iowa pro-life group would be inappropriate and took responsibility for planting a question that led to an IRS apology for targeting certain groups applying for tax exemption.

“The IRS has a lot of power over people,” Grassley said.  “When the agency abuses its power, it has to be held in check.  Otherwise, taxpayers who already fear the IRS will fear it that much more.  Distrust among taxpayers and IRS and vice versa undermine the integrity of our tax system.”

Grassley questioned recently resigned IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller at a Finance Committee hearing today on the IRS’ treatment of groups seeking tax exemption.  A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found the IRS inappropriately screened groups using search terms geared toward a conservative political orientation.

Grassley asked Miller whether it was appropriate for the IRS in effect to offer a small Iowa pro-life group a quid pro quo:  the group could become a charity if it did not protest in front of Planned Parenthood.   Miller said it would not be appropriate for the IRS to offer such a quid pro quo.   The group, called Coalition for Life of Iowa, applied to the IRS for charitable status in mid-2009.  In addition to the quid pro quo suggestion, the group also received a letter from the IRS asking several invasive questions including the details of the group’s prayer meetings.

Grassley also asked Miller who at the IRS was involved in planting a question at a legal conference regarding the IRS’ treatment of conservative groups.  Miller responded that he would take responsibility for the arrangement.

On May 10, Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations group, addressed an American Bar Association conference.  She received a question from the audience on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and gave a detailed defense of the IRS’ actions.  Initially, those involved claimed the question was spontaneous.  On May 14, Grassley sent a letter to the IRS raising questions about what led to the incident. Days later, the individual who asked the question admitted that the question was in fact planted at the IRS’ request.  Grassley intends to pursue more details on what led to the planted apology.

Video of Grassley’s exchange with Miller is available here.

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