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Special Investigator Michael McCotter Issues Report on the DHS-OIG PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:21

Findings Will Guide Governor’s Comprehensive Solution to Strengthen Protections of People with Disabilities Across Illinois

CHICAGO - October 12, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today received the official report from Michael McCotter following his special investigation of the Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). Earlier this year, Governor Quinn appointed McCotter, a 40-year law enforcement veteran, as Special Investigator to review cases and develop recommendations to reform the investigative operations of the Inspector General’s office.

“I thank Special Investigator Michael McCotter for his diligent work in conducting this report,” Governor Quinn said. “We will immediately review the findings and work with members of the General Assembly and advocates to implement a comprehensive solution that reforms the operation of this office and ensures all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

Following reports of abuse and neglect, Governor Quinn took immediate action by issuing an executive order to strengthen protections for adults with disabilities who are suspected victims of such mistreatment and ensure that potential cases will be properly reviewed and referred to the appropriate authorities. The governor also directed a comprehensive overhaul of the office to ensure accountability and the protection of our most fragile citizens. He appointed Michael McCotter to probe the operations of the Inspector General and develop recommendations for reform.

As Special Investigator, McCotter was charged with reviewing the OIG’s investigative procedures and policies. The recommended reforms included in the report are designed to ensure the OIG fulfills its mission of protecting people with disabilities.

McCotter was previously appointed by Governor Quinn as chief public safety officer for the Illinois Department of Corrections and has served in several senior positions at the Chicago Police Department, including chief of patrol, deputy chief of detectives, commander of special events and district commander. He has had professional training with the FBI, United States Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among other law enforcement agencies.

After reviewing the McCotter report, the governor’s staff will move quickly- working with members of the General Assembly and advocates - to implement a comprehensive solution that best protects citizens with disabilities.

Please see the attachment for a copy of the full report.

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‘Lies, Love & Life’ Unpeels the Negative Self PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 07:54

The best resource we have in affecting change and improvements in our lives is ourselves, writes Cathy Holloway Hill in “Lies, Love & Life,” (www.chollowayhill.com).

“Relationships are ruined every day because of lies,” says Hill, a former IBM executive. “The most damaging lies are the ones we tell ourselves.”

While it may seem obvious that personal well-being is largely based on self-determination, the reality is that too many of us – perhaps most of us, at least sometimes – not only forget that we have the power to change; we often tell ourselves lies that impede our own progress, she says.

“No one wakes up and says, ‘I want a miserable, unfulfilled and unhealthy life.’ What then prompts people to continue dysfunctional and toxic, limiting, self-destructive behaviors?” Hill asks. “The book brings this self-sabotaging behavior to the surface and guides you through a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.”

In the forward of “Lies, Love & Life,” best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Alan Zimmerman provides an overview of all that people risk and lose when “they pretend not to know” what they know, in fact, is true.

“If you’re ever going to be truly happy and really successful, you’ve got to stop ‘pretending’ … or as Cathy Holloway Hill says … stop lying to yourself,” Zimmerman writes.

“Reading Hill’s book is as good as hiring a life coach,” writes best-selling author Simon T. Bailey. “… The book challenges us to see all the ways we deceive ourselves into living half lives and to jump from that sad state into a life of real meaning and truth. This book will make your life a lot more authentic …. Everything worthwhile requires work, and Cathy has mapped it out for you in a very easy-to-understand manner.”

“Holloway-Hill’s book is an honest and insightful examination of the powerful ways lies grow and shape our reality once we allow them to become a part of our personal narratives,” writes CNN, E! and MSNBC media personality S. Tia Brown. “(It is) a critical resource for anyone ready to move beyond feelings of inadequacy and lack.”

About Cathy Holloway Hill

Cathy Holloway Hill is founder of C. Holloway Hill Enterprises, an international consulting, training and professional speaking firm focusing on personal and professional growth and effectiveness. Her guidance is sought by Fortune 100 companies, youth organizations and individuals who want to transform their lives. Hill has a bachelor’s in computer science, a master’s in psychology and numerous life coaching certifications. After 25 years in the corporate world, she walked away from her successful career at IBM in order to pursue her passion – helping people live happier lives. She is a winner of Indiana’s Torchbearer Award for contributions to her state.

 
Protect Yourself from 2013 Tax Hikes with 2012 Tax Planning PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 15 October 2012 14:26
3 Tips for Taking Advantage of This Year’s Lower Tax Rates

Income taxes are going up next year, and not just for those who earn more than $200,000 a year.

“Taxes are likely to be higher for everyone” says financial planner Rick Rodgers, author of The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning (www.RodgersSpeaks.com).

“We all know about the expiring Bush tax cuts, which may or may not be extended for everyone or just some,” he says. “There are also new taxes that were part of the healthcare reform law passed in 2010; the expiring payroll tax cut; the alternative minimum tax that already expired in 2011, and many other provisions that have expired or will expire at year end.”

Nearly everyone should prepare to pay more, Rodgers says.

The good news is you still have time to take advantage of 2012 tax rates, which may turn out to be the lowest we will see in some time. Rodgers offers these strategies that can be implemented before the end of 2012:

• Roth Conversion - No one knows for sure what will happen to the tax code next year, which is why a Roth conversion is one of the best tax-planning strategies available. Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA creates a taxable event in 2012. All future earnings in the account will be tax-free, as long as you wait five years and are age 59½ or older when you take withdrawals. The biggest advantage to the Roth conversion strategy is the ability to “undo” the transaction as late as Oct. 15, 2013. Should the new Congress pass a major tax reform bill next year that lowers tax rates across the board, you can put the money back into your IRA. It will be like the transaction never happened.

• Harvest capital gains - Harvesting gains is similar to harvesting losses. Sell appreciated securities that you’ve held for at least 12 months to realize the long-term gain for tax purposes. You can immediately repurchase the same asset because there is no wash sale rule for realizing gains. This allows you to pay tax on the gain in 2012, when rates are low, and establish a new cost basis in the asset to minimize increased gains that may be taxed at higher rates.  This strategy should appeal to anyone in the 15-percent tax bracket because capital gains are taxed at zero and may jump to 8 to 10 percent in 2013 if the tax cuts expire. The strategy is also appealing to anyone subject to the Medicare surtax. If the current tax laws expire, the tax rate on long-term capital gains will jump from 15 percent to 23.8 percent (21.8 percent for assets held more than five years).

• Pay medical expenses - Anyone who normally itemizes medical expenses on their tax return should accelerate those expenses into 2012 if they can. Medical expenses are deductible only if they exceed 7½ percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). This means if your AGI is $50,000, you can deduct only medical expenses over $3,750.  Next year the threshold jumps to 10 percent of AGI.  Pay your January medical insurance premium in December to move this deduction to 2012.  Any routine eye exams or dental visits should be moved up to December.  Paying with a credit card would give you the deduction this year and delay the actual payment until 2013.

Rodgers warns that a common mistake is to wait and see what happens.  It has not been uncommon for Congress to make significant changes to the tax code late in December, leaving taxpayers little time to react.  He advises a diversified approach to tax planning.  Make a partial Roth conversion, harvest some capital gains but don’t wait until it’s too late to do anything about rising taxes.

Take a proactive approach to tax planning this year to cushion any fall from the fiscal cliff.

About Rick Rodgers

Certified Financial Planner Rick Rodgers is president of Rodgers & Associates, “The Retirement Specialists,” in Lancaster, Pa. He’s a Certified Retirement Counselor and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers. Rodgers has been featured on national radio and TV shows, including “FOX Business News” and “The 700 Club,” and is available to speak at conferences and corporate events (www.RodgersSpeaks.com).

 
Fairmount Branch Library Open Sundays through April PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Hart   
Monday, 15 October 2012 14:25

The Davenport Public Library Fairmount Branch (3000 N. Fairmount Street) is now open on Sundays from 1 PM – 4 PM through April 2013.  This is a great opportunity for people to checkout a few items, read the paper, use a computer, and spend a relaxing afternoon in the comfort of your Fairmount Branch Library.  This is also a great time for people taking classes at the new Scott Community College West Davenport Center to visit and work on their academics.

In addition, there will be a dance program offered the first Sunday of the month for all ages at 1 PM.  This program will offer everything from Salsa to Hip-Hop to Ballroom dance, taught by instructors from local dance studios.

The Main Street Library (321 Main Street) and the Eastern Avenue Branch Library (6000 Eastern Avenue) will remain closed on Sundays.  The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center (RSSC) at the Main Street Library will be open on the second Sunday of the month and for special Genealogy Night at the Library events.  Call the library’s RSSC Center at (563) 326-7902 to register and find out where to enter for these special events.  Public computer sessions and the rest of the Main Street Library will not be available for use.

For more information, visit www.davenportlibrary.com or call (563) 326-7832.

 
National Fire Prevention Week is upon us PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph King   
Friday, 12 October 2012 07:29

Tampa, Fla. (October 12, 2012) – As temperatures begin to drop and consumers turn to alternative heating sources to stay warm, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers guidance on ways to avoid home fires this fall and winter during National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7 -13).

“While space heaters, fire places and wood-burning stoves can help consumers reduce energy bills during the colder months, it is critical that they be used properly,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO.

Heating fires account for 36 percent of all residential home fires in rural areas every year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The majority of residential heating fires (87 percent) are started by a confined fire, such as from a chimney or fuel burner, according to USFA. Take the following precautions to stay safe:

Fireplace

  • Have the fireplace inspected and cleaned annually by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Have a removable cap installed at the top of the chimney to keep out debris and animals.
  • Install a spark arrestor that has 1/4 inch mesh.
  • Maintain proper clearance around the fireplace and keep it clear of combustible materials such as books, newspapers and furniture.
  • Always close the screen when in use, but keep glass doors open during the fire.
  • Use a fireplace grate.
  • Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace.
  • Avoid using gasoline or any liquid accelerant.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires and store them in a noncombustible container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside and away from the house.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before closing the damper.

Space Heaters

These appliances can be an affordable option for heating a small space, but they also are the leading source of house fires during winter months.  Follow these guidelines when using space heaters:

  • Look for products that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Buy a model with an automatic shutoff feature and heat element guards.
  • Maintain a 36-inch clearance between the heater and combustible materials, such as bedding, furniture, wall coverings or other flammable items.
  • Do not leave a space heater unattended.
  • Electric heaters should be inspected prior to use.
  • Check the cord for fraying, cracking and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device.
  • Use only heavy-duty extension cords marked with a No. 14 gauge or larger wire.
  • If the heater plug has a grounding prong, use only a grounding (three- wire) extension cord.
  • Never run the heater cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.
  • Liquid-fueled heaters must be operated using only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel.
  • Allow the heater to cool down prior to refueling.

Additional details can be found in IBHS’ Alternative Heating Sources guide.

Electrical Fires

According to USFA, electrical home fires in the U.S. claim the lives of 280 people and injure 1,000 more each year, while home electrical problems account for $1 billion in property losses every year. Use the following information to reduce the risk of an electrical fire:

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring for frayed wires or cords.
  • Promptly replace any cords that are frayed or damaged.
  • Avoid overloading an outlet.
  • Replace any electrical tool that causes even a small electrical shock, overheats, shorts out, or emits smoke or sparks.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters.
  • Don’t allow children to play near electrical appliances.

for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on

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About IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.

 
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