Rock Island's Chasson Randle has been chosen as the Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year, adding another honor as his team prepares to do battle in the state semi-finals in Peoria.

Randle led the Rocks to a 28-3 record this season while averaging over 22 points and 7 rebounds a game.

Last summer, Randle was part of the USA U17 National Team that won the World Title.  He will be playing at Stanford next season.

Chasson currently has a 4.0 GPA and is one of the state's top academic honorees for meeting the Gatorade criteria. He donates time as a basketball instructor and also volunteers his time with his church, Families First, The Peace Builders Program and the Salvation Army.

CHICAGO - March 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bills:


Bill No.: SB 1927

Authorizes the Power Holdings Company to build a coal gasification plant in Jefferson County.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Vetoed                        


Bill No.: SB 2969

Allows certain counties to claim an exemption from the Illinois Commercial Safety Towing Law.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Vetoed                        

Bill No.: SB 3388

Authorizes the building of a coal gasification facility on the southeast side of Chicago off the Calumet River.

An Act Concerning: Regulation

Action: Vetoed                        


See below for Governor Quinn's veto messages to the General Assembly.


A grants submission deadline has been announced by the Moline Community Foundation. Non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply if they serve the citizens of Moline and the surrounding region, including the Quad Cities.

All materials necessary to receive funds are due in The Moline Foundation offices by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 15, 2011 or must be postmarked by or on Friday, April 15, 2011.

Any non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, including those who have never received Moline Foundation funding in the past, is welcome to apply.

An application should consist of eleven copies of a written request stating the name and address of the organization, its mission, names and addresses of Board members, income and expense statement, balance sheet, and the specific purpose for which any money received would be used including a project budget. The name, telephone number, and email of a contact person must also be included. The requested materials should be mailed according to the above deadline. Other important information about grant submission is available on The Moline Foundation's web site at

The Moline Foundation offices are located at the Deere-Wiman House, 817 11th Avenue, Moline.

The Moline Foundation, founded in 1953, is a community foundation which provides grants to health, human services, education, workforce development, the arts and other charitable organizations which benefit the citizens of Moline and the surrounding area, including the Quad Cities region in both Iowa and Illinois. The Moline Foundation receives and administers charitable gifts and works with citizens to achieve their dreams to improve the community.


By: Sen. Tom Harkin
March 14, 2011 04:30 AM EDT

One year ago this week, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, ensuring quality, affordable health coverage to all Americans, cracking down on the worst abuses by health insurance companies and placing a new emphasis on wellness and disease prevention.

Yet today, there is a misguided effort to repeal the law. The fight to provide access to quality, affordable health care for all has only just begun.

The good news is that this time around, the debate dynamics have shifted. As people learn more about the long-overdue reforms in the Affordable Care Act ? including benefits and consumer protections now guaranteed by law ? support for health care reform is growing steadily.

A year ago, we were bogged down in the messy, frustrating politics of passing the bill. Now, what's at stake is crystal clear: Are we going to put health insurance companies back in the driver's seat to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and return to the abuses and discriminatory practices of the past? Are we going to revoke access to health insurance for more than 30 million Americans? Are we going to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit by wiping out the savings in the Affordable Care Act? The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will reduce the deficit by $210 billion in the first decade and by more than $1 trillion in the second decade.

The law's jewel in the crown is ending denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions. It is a sobering fact that nearly half of nonelderly Americans have some type of pre-existing condition ? like high blood pressure, arthritis or heart disease. Similarly, the law bans the outrageous practice of canceling policies when people get sick. Gone are the days when the largest health insurer in California could use technicalities to cancel the policies of women who get breast cancer.

The law also prohibits insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits, and it allows parents to keep their children on their policies until age 26.

Americans will not allow these hard-earned protections and benefits to be taken away.

Conservatives attack the provision of the law requiring people to purchase health insurance. They claim it is an "assault on freedom." Well, it is an assault on freedom for people to go without insurance, seek treatment in emergency rooms and stick other Americans with their health care bills. Uncompensated health care adds an estimated $1,100 a year to every family's health insurance premiums.

The individual mandate is just common sense ? that's why so many Republicans supported it in the past. Indeed, as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney put an individual mandate at the center of his state's health reform law. By eliminating free riders and putting everyone in the risk pool, we keep rates down for everyone. This is the only way people with pre-existing conditions are not denied affordable coverage.

When we join together, we have more freedom. When everyone is covered and no one is left out, we enhance liberty. Health reform is all about freedom. Freedom from the fear that if you get sick, you won't be able to afford a doctor. Freedom from the fear that a major illness will lead to financial ruin. These are the practical freedoms that matter to Americans.

With this landmark law, we are beginning to replace the current sick care system with a genuine health care system ? focused on wellness and prevention. We are beginning to reward health care providers for the quality of care they provide, not just the quantity.

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect. It is not like the Ten Commandments, chiseled in stone. It's more like a starter home ? suitable for improvement.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sensible changes as we continue to implement the law. I invite them to bring their tool kits, rather than their sledgehammers, so we can work together to improve the law.

The choice is to go forward or be dragged backward. The great majority of people wants to go forward to build a reformed health care system that works not only for the healthy and wealthy ? but for all Americans.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) issued the following statement in response to the Iowa State House vote to pass a Republican bill that curbs collective bargaining rights for working families in Iowa:

"Today's action by the Iowa House of Representatives is a blatant attack on our state's middle class. At the very moment that our economy is showing signs of improvement, the Republicans in the Iowa House have thrown a punch to the gut of thousands of Iowa families. This bill is shameful."

# # #

Passage of House File 525 a huge disappointment for Iowa's working families

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), issued the following statement after the Iowa House of Representatives voted 56 to 39 to pass a measure that restricts the collective bargaining rights of public workers.

"Following Wisconsin's vote earlier this week, I was hopeful that Iowa's House Republicans would choose a different path, and not resort to using our public sector workers - our friends and neighbors - as a political scapegoat.  Unfortunately, today they voted to strip Iowa's public servants of meaningful collective bargaining rights.  It is a shameful thing to do to those who work so hard for the public good, and it will only undermine the economic recovery of our great state.  

"Let's not forget who we are really talking about.  We are talking about the police officers and firefighters that put their lives on the line to keep our families safe.  We are talking about the elementary school teachers who make sure our kids know their ABCs.  Our public servants deserve respect - especially from our elected officials.  They did not cause the recession, and they do not deserve to be treated this way.

"Iowans have a very strong sense of community - they know that in tough times it's important to support your friends and neighbors and do all you can to lift people up, not tear them down.  Working families are facing unprecedented challenges, and it's time that we all come together to do whatever we can to help rebuild a strong middle class with good jobs, fair wages, and benefits.  My hope is that the Iowa Senate defeats this measure."

CHICAGO, IL (03/11/2011)(readMedia)-- Imagine being a member of an Illinois Army National Guard unit that is so unique among the thousands of units that exist in the U. S. Army. A military unit of which there are only 11 similar units across the Army National Guard, Army Reserves and Active Duty forces and in total, numbers less than 300 Soldiers. That unit is Illinois Army National Guard's 244th Army Liaison Team (ALT) in Chicago.

The 244th ALT has been part of the Illinois Army National Guard since 2000. Although the 20-Soldier team is small, it is a highly visible unit with an important mission.

"Our mission is to provide liaison capability to the Army Forces/Joint Task Force commander with major subordinate commands, Allied Coalition Force Commands Joint Task Force and other U.S. services," said Col. Troy Phillips of Philo, ALT team chief.

Meeting with foreign officials, being the eyes and ears of the coalition commander on the ground, and ensuring that Soldiers from different cultures are on the same page to reach a common goal could seem like an impossible task, but these tasks are part of everyday life for the men and women of the 244th ALT.

This Chicago-based unit, in many ways, is like most every other Army unit. However, it has a colonel who serves as the team chief rather than a commander, a lieutenant colonel, several majors and captains, as well as senior enlisted Soldiers. The unit also has one full-time Soldier that assists with daily operations.

The major difference is the 244th does not have all the Soldiers beneath them to do the work.

"It has an operations section, intelligence section and logistics section, as well as vehicle mechanics and medical personnel, said Maj. Jorge Fonseca of Bolingbrook, who until recently served as the unit's intelligence officer. "The command staff is used in time of war to coordinate and facilitate the synchronization of information relating to current and future plans and operations with subordinate, lateral, and superior units and the multi-national force commander."

During its most recent deployment to Iraq in 2006, Soldiers from the 244th were assigned to various agencies within the Iraq government. Members of the unit were liaison officers inside of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Iraqi National Joint Operations Center and the Prime Minister's Situation Room. Their job was to ensure the Strategic Operations Center of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, commanded by Gen. George Casey, had the same information and intelligence that was being passed on to the newly elected Iraqi government.

"Success on the battlefield requires accurate information in a timely manner," Phillips said. "In Iraq, the 244th ALT worked to improve the unity of effort among our Iraqi partners while ensuring the coalition received timely reports in order to monitor the synchronization between the ministries and various Iraqi security forces."

It is these highly skilled officers and noncommissioned officers from the various ALTs working behind the scenes that have helped ease the tension and understanding of cultural differences between the young Iraqi government and Multi-National Forces-Iraq, adding to the successful completion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of Sept. 1, operations in Iraq now fall under the name Operation New Dawn, which signifies a new chapter in Iraqi history as the U.S. begins to withdraw troops and recognize a new Iraq government.

The 244th has also worked with many foreign armies to conduct multi-national exercises. Members of the unit are usually involved in all aspects of the exercise development.

"The exercises conducted with foreign troops allow the 244th to practice its primary mission, and present many unique challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences," Phillips said. "The exercises assist in reducing the barriers, and develop esprit de corps between the Soldiers, regardless of nationality."

The 244th has been involved with numerous missions over the last few years on foreign soil.

In June 2010, the 244th ALT participated in Exercise Cooperative Resolve 10, peace enforcement stability and support operations based exercise held in Ankara, Turkey. In March 2009, the 244th participated in the Bagram Five in Poland with the Polish Army. The exercise was to validate the Polish 6th Air Assault Brigade before its deployment to Afghanistan. In 2007 the unit participated in a joint command post exercise (TORGAU 07) held in Germany with members of the Russian military.

The exercises build strong bonds with foreign militaries and governments, ensuring both armies are able to operate and work together in a combat zone.

"These exercises are invaluable to our training and development of our junior officers and non commissioned officers, who will likely see more U.S. involvement in coalition warfare during their careers," Phillips said.

While the unit is made up of senior enlisted Soldiers and officers, the unit will be undergoing some restructuring in the future and the number of Soldiers will greatly expand.

"The ALTs will become Digital Liaison Detachments with an additional fire support team as well as an air missile defense team," Fonseca said. "The additional personnel will greatly improve the interoperability of the 244th as they plan for the next mission."

The 244th ALT continues to train in preparation for its next mission. The unit is expected to deploy in early 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Story by Sgt. Dan Stinson, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.


Morgan Joyce Williams of Springfield High School was named Illinois Champion of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in the Illinois State Finals held on Friday, March 11, 2011, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield. She will advance to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., held April 28 - 29, 2011, along with the winners from every state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Morgan will receive a $200 prize and Springfield High School will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books for the school library as a result of her first place finish.

Rapheal Mathis of Plainfield East High School was named Runner-up. He will receive a $100 prize and Plainfield East High School will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books for the school library.

Three other participants moved to the third and final round of competition. They were Christopher Grimestad of Mt. Zion High School, Ryan Harrison of Edwardsville High School, and Corey Shayman of Deerfield High School.

Eleven (11) other participants in the Illinois State Finals of the Poetry Out Loud contest included Joy Avery of Auburn High School - Freshman Campus in Rockford, Sophia Magro of Champaign Central High School, Henry Martinez of Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Chicago, Bailey Cote of Edwardsville High School, Katie Butler of Herrin High School, Skylar Drummond of Herrin High School, Qaswa Hussaini of Mather High School in Chicago, Nathan Walter of Orion High School, Niambi Thompson of Roosevelt High School in Rockford, Amanda K. Wales of United Township High School in East Moline, and Kahlilah Cooke of University Laboratory High School in Urbana.

Poetry Out Loud in Illinois is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council, and seven arts councils throughout the state which host Regional Contests. The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation support this program nation-wide. The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is honored to support the travel of students to regional and state contests.

The Springfield Area Arts Council hosted the state contest for the sixth consecutive year.

For information on Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, visit

For information on the Poetry Out Loud program in Illinois, please contact Illinois Arts Council

(312-814-6750) or Penny Wollan-Kriel, Springfield Area Arts Council (217-753-3519).



WASHINGTON - Friday, March 11, 2011 - Senator Chuck Grassley today congratulated four Iowa high school students for winning 1st and 2nd prizes in C-SPAN's national 2011 StudentCam competition.  The honors were announced by C-SPAN on Wednesday.

Matthew Wicks, a junior at Aplington-Parkersburg High School, won a 1st prize, including a $3,000 award, for his documentary titled "After the Storm," about the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in helping Parkersburg recover from the tornado that hit the community in May 2008.

Three juniors at Cedar Falls High School, Sara Gabriele, Jarek Bakken and Daniel Yehieli, won 2nd prize, including $1,500, for their video titled "The Price Tag of the American Dream," about education.

Nationwide, C-SPAN recognized one grand prize winner, two 1st prize winners, eight 2nd prize winners, 16 3rd prize winners and 48 honorable mentions in this year's competition.  There were 1,481 entries total, according to C-SPAN.  In its seventh year, the StudentCam competition invites middle school and high school students to produce five-to-eight minute documentaries.  This year, the topic was "Washington, D.C., through my lens."  Information about all of the winners is at  The winning entries can be viewed there

Grassley was interviewed online, via Skype, for both of the Iowa documentaries that won prizes this week.  "I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the students and see their enthusiasm and energy for gaining a better understanding of public policy and its impact on the lives of Americans," Grassley said.  "It's wonderful for all of us in Iowa to see these students gain national recognition and from an organization like C-SPAN, which has enhanced the process of representative government by making government more accessible."

C-SPAN said it plans to air the top 27 videos from the competition, one a day, starting April 1, at 5:50 am (CT), followed by an interview with the winning student at 7:30 am (CT) on "Washington Journal," which is C-SPAN's morning call-in program.


Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action

**Thursday, March 10, 2011**


CHICAGO - March 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:


Bill No.: HB 1422

Renames an Illinois Department of Natural Resources building after former Director Joel Brunsvold.

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately


Bill No.: HB 5289

Amends the School Code so that Valley View Community Unit School District 365U may, as a part of a debt restructuring plan, extend their bond maturity limit for capital bonds from 20 to 25 years.

An Act Concerning: Finance

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately


Bill No.: HB 6908

Creates specialty license plates for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

An Act Concerning: Transportation

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately


Bill No.: SB 150

Creates the Community Expanded Mental Health Services Act requiring election authorities to place the question of creating an Expanded Mental Health Services Program within the City of Chicago on the ballot if it is initiated by resolution, ordinance or by a petition.

An Act Concerning: Public Health

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: June 1


Bill No.: SB 362

Extends the time that fractional cumulative votes can be tabulated at the central office of an election jurisdiction from December 31, 2007 to December 31, 2011.

An Act Concerning: Elections

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately


Bill No.: SB 389

Provides assistance in obtaining mental health and support services upon release to wrongfully imprisoned individuals.

An Act Concerning: State Government

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: July 1


Bill No.: SB 1310

Re-codifies and realigns provisions of the Criminal Code.

An Act Concerning: Criminal Law

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: July 1


Bill No.: SB 2530

Allows a redevelopment project in a TIF district in the City of Venice to be completed by the end of 2028.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately


Bill No.: SB 2797

Limits the scope of the Cook County Assessor's power to add mistakenly omitted properties to the tax rolls, makes disputes over such omissions reviewable by the Board of Review, and sets parameters for the mandated repayment of any resulting back property taxes owed.

An Act Concerning: Local Government

Action: Signed                        

Effective Date: Immediately