Tuesday, April 21
1 p.m. Holy Name Cathedral Doors Open
2 p.m. Rite of Reception (Open to the Public)
2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Visitation (Open to the Public)
7:30 p.m. Prayer Vigil for Priests and Seminarians (Attendance by Ticket Only)
9 to 11 p.m. Visitation (Open to the Public)
11 p.m. Holy Name Cathedral Doors Close
Wednesday, April 22
7 to 9:30 a.m. Visitation (Open to the Public)
10:30 a.m. Interfaith Service (Open to the Public)
11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Visitation (Open to the Public)
7:30 p.m. Prayer Vigil for Women and Men Religious, Deacons and their Wives (Attendance by Ticket Only)
9 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 until 7:30 a.m. Thursday, April 23
Visitation and All Night Vigil Conducted by Lay Ecclesial Movements (Open to the Public)
Thursday, April 23
7:30 a.m. Prayer Service (Open to the Public)
8 a.m. Holy Name Cathedral Closed for Funeral Mass Preparation
11 a.m. Holy Name Cathedral Doors Open for Funeral Mass (Attendance by Ticket Only)
12 p.m. Funeral Mass (Attendance by Ticket Only)
Immediately following the funeral Mass, the Committal Service will take place at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. Per the Cardinal’s wishes, he will be buried in the George family plot. (Open to the Public)
- Posted by Rich Miller
|Question of the day
Friday, Apr 17, 2015
* Glad she’s OK…
High heels at the Statehouse can be hazardous, not to mention what walking in those heels on marble floors all day can do to your back, ankles, legs, whatever.
But it’s not just high heels. A buddy of mine was telling me yesterday how the marble just kills his feet. He’s tried all sorts of different shoes and nothing works.
* The Question: Your own advice for surviving the more mundane aspects of Statehouse life?
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Exelon’s corporate subsidy bill just took a big hit…
One of the three Illinois nuclear plants that Exelon is threatening to close because they’re losing money will receive a windfall worth tens of millions beginning in June, courtesy of ratepayers downstate.
Energy prices are set to spike starting this summer for many Illinoisans outside of Commonwealth Edison’s territory in northern Illinois. The cost that consumers pay to generators to ensure that power plants are available to deliver electricity on the highest-demand days of the year will increase nearly ninefold in the year beginning June 1.
Those “capacity” charges—set according to an auction run by the independent grid operator that manages wholesale markets in downstate Illinois and all or parts of 14 other states—are embedded in the overall energy prices customers pay and are in addition to the cost of the juice itself. […]
The main beneficiaries include Chicago-based Exelon, which operates six nuclear plants in Illinois, including the Clinton plant downstate that will get the cash infusion. Also benefiting is Houston-based Dynegy, the second largest power generator in Illinois after Exelon and operator of a fleet of coal-fired plants downstate.
Another generator, Exelon Corp., acknowledged that its 1,100 MW Clinton nuclear plant cleared the auction at $150, which analysts estimated could yield $40 million to $50 million in additional revenue for the 2015-2016 year.
Chicago-based Exelon has said for more than a year that three of its nuclear plants, including Clinton and two plants in PJM, are losing money because of competitive pressures from natural gas-fired generation and wind. The company is pushing legislation in Springfield that would create a low-carbon resource standard in Illinois that it says would level the playing field for its nuclear fleet and other non-carbon fuels like wind and solar energy (EnergyWire, Feb. 25).
In a research note, analysts at UBS Securities say the auction results “certainly help Clinton but could reduce the urgency for legislative reform in Illinois.”
An Exelon spokesman wouldn’t disclose how much additional revenue it might realize from the MISO auction, but said only that it wouldn’t be enough to materially improve the plant’s financial profile.
It wouldn’t be enough? Really? Exelon’s bill as currently written would net its nuclear fleet $300 million a year. The Citizens Utility Board estimates the Exelon bill - as written - would net the Clinton nuke plant somewhere between $27 million and $30 million a year. That’s significantly less than the plant made this week with that surprise auction result. And there’s no way that Exelon can pass its bill as written because it essentially locks out alternative energy suppliers. Add those suppliers to the mix and Clinton would receive a whole lot less money via passable state legislation.
Plus, by participating in that auction, didn’t Exelon just commit to providing power from that Clinton plant for the next year? Why yes, it did, according to the Citizens Utility Board. And yet it’s gotta have its bill passed right now?
What’s the freaking rush?
* Even so, something very weird happened with this auction…
The capacity auction is administered by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which runs the grid in parts of 15 states in the central United States. The auction determines what energy providers pay to power plant owners over the coming year to make sure they’re available to deliver power when demand is highest. Results were announced this week.
The huge jump came while prices for capacity in many other MISO states fell. In Missouri, for instance, prices fell from $16.75 to $3.48 a megawatt day. In fact, $3.48 was the highest capacity price in all the other states within MISO’s footprint, making Illinois’ $150 per megawatt day a glaring outlier.
That’s more than an outlier, it’s insane. I mean, for crying out loud Illinois is a net electricity exporter. What the heck was going on there?
* Like Exelon, Dynegy also made out like a bandit this week…
It’s hard to know how many Ameren Illinois customers buy power under agreements that expose them to swings in the electricity market. About 500,000 customers buy power through Homefield Energy, the retail unit of Dynegy Inc. Dynegy operates nine downstate Illinois coal plants, including those formerly owned by Ameren. It committed 1,864 megawatts in the auction.
Spokesman Micah Hirschfield said all Dynegy’s Homefield retail customers are on fixed contracts.
However, some cities have contracts that expire soon.
Ameren Illinois, in a statement, said it was “extremely concerned and upset” about the capacity auction results and that it would work “to resolve this inequity to our customers.”
* In other news, the Citizens Utility Board has endorsed Sen. Don Harmon’s clean energy jobs proposal…
CUB created three cost-benefit models for the Illinois Clean Jobs bill, based on electricity rates, past performance of efficiency programs and prudent assumptions about yearly increases in energy usage, key market costs and inflation. The consumer watchdog’s analysis compared those models with a “business as usual” scenario—if efficiency standards stayed at current levels. Estimated customer savings through the legislation ranged from about $1.1 billion to $2.2 billion. The “base case” model, based on mid-range assumptions, projected the following statewide benefits by 2030, if the bill were fully implemented:
* Total cumulative residential savings: $1.61 billion
* Average electric-bill reduction: 7.86 percent annually
* Average residential savings: $98.38 a year
The Illinois Clean Jobs bill stands out as the most consumer-friendly among the major energy proposals in the General Assembly’s spring session. Most notably, Exelon Corp., ComEd’s parent company, is pushing for special legislation that could cost ComEd and Ameren customers an estimated $300 million a year—to boost revenue at its fleet of nuclear power plants.
* After that crazy MISO auction, which appears to have provided far more to Clinton than Exelon was asking from the state, and after CUB’s endorsement of the Harmon bill, maybe legislators ought to just hold off a bit and wait for the upcoming PJM auctions (the other grid in Illinois) for the rest of Exelon’s nuclear fleet before rushing in with yet another corporate bailout that raises rates for consumers.
Those nuclear plants are supremely important to the state’s economy. But is the federal government just gonna allow all that electricity to be taken off the grid right away? It seems doubtful, particularly after this week’s MISO auction. There’s time to think and do it right.
And in the meantime, the attorney general needs to follow up on her pledge she made elsewhere this week to look into what just happened with that bizarre MISO auction.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Shannon Heffernan…
Data WBEZ obtained from the the state show startling increases in Chicago. From 2009 to 2013, 37 percent more patients were discharged from emergency rooms for psychiatric treatment. The biggest jump came in 2012, the same year the city closed half of its mental health clinics. […]
[Sheri Richardt, the manager of Crisis and Behavioral Health at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center] saw the same patients rotate in again and again. So she pulled one patient’s files and found that woman had visited the Illinois Masonic Emergency Room 750 times over the course of about 10 years.
Richardt said the patient was picked up by an ambulance or police officer almost daily. Sometimes the emergency department would discharge her, only to have her appear back a few hours later.
“The cost of that for us was two and a half million dollars. Medicaid dollars,” said Richardt. “And that’s only at our hospital. This an individual who went between multiple hospitals and so we don’t have the true cost.”
And it’s not just emergency rooms. Perhaps the largest mental illness residential center in the state is Cook County Jail.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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- Posted by Advertising Department
Friday, Apr 17, 2015
* The headline on this John Fund article in the National Review is “The Establishment and the Tea Party Face Off in Illinois”…
This year’s first big confrontation between the GOP establishment and the party’s restless grassroots will be held this summer in an Illinois special-election primary. The smart money is betting on the establishment’s choice, but dissatisfaction with attempts to force-feed that choice on voters, together with the performance of the new GOP Congress in fighting President Obama, could give an insurgent a real shot. […]
LaHood is about as establishment a choice as one could imagine. He is the son of Representative Ray LaHood, the very moderate Republican who represented about half of the current district in Congress until 2009. He then left office to become President Obama’s Transportation Secretary, where he promoted pork-barrel spending and dubious high-speed-rail projects. His son’s supporters say his politics are distinct from those of his father, but clearly the LaHood name will be a mixed blessing in a primary. On the one hand, it brings strong name identification for Darin LaHood. But on the other, it leaves many of the district’s conservatives looking for a fresh, non–status quo alternative.
Mike Flynn plans to be that alternative. A 47-year-old political activist, he played a major role in exposing the scandals that brought down the leftist group ACORN and went on to edit the Big Government website founded by the late Andrew Breitbart. The site has been a go-to source of stories exposing the politically correct obsessions of liberals and the non-confrontational habits of Republican leaders.
* Except for the stuff about wanting to kick out the US House Speaker, Darin LaHood is every bit as “tea party” as Flynn. I did a quick Google search of “Darin LaHood” and “tea party” and here are just a few of the results…
* Marion County TEA Party: See what Senator Darin Lahood said about the bill to issue driver’s licenses to illegals. This is excellent: http://www.pjstar.com/opinion/spotlight/x459328035/In-the-Spotlight-Allowing-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants-is-a-bad-idea
* Peoria Patriots: Darin was great! He talked to us like he is one of us. He was eager to answer any and all of our questions. Illinois could sure use more like him. I hope he will be able to bring change to this corrupt state, but he will need our help in educating the voters to the issues so they can vote wisely and elect more like Darin.
* Area tea party calls out detractors: “Friends, I think it is time for us to return to being a godly nation. We should not be ashamed of ‘One Nation Under God,’” [Rick Welty, president of Galesburg District 205 Board of Education] said. “This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principals and we have been pushed away from those and I think it is time we return to them.” Welty introduced State Sen. Darin LaHood. “Our state is in a real mess. We just put the largest tax increase in our history,” LaHood said. “We have $8 billion in debt. Companies like Caterpillar are thinking about leaving the state, and four of last eight governors are convicted felons. That’s our state. It is not heading in the right direction.
* Homer/Lockport Tea Party: LaHood seeks solution to ‘Common Core’ problems
* Tea Party members rally in Galesburg: Ill. State Senator Darin LaHood, one of the event speakers, proposed some ways to fix the government, with encouraging cheers from the audience.
* And, maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’ll be tough finding anything in Sen. LaHood’s voting record to make him out to be a hated moderate. The only thing they really have is LaHood’s dad. They have to turn the younger LaHood into a “legacy” candidate and an “insider”…
“People don’t think politics should be a family business, handing over seats like an inheritance,” [Flynn] told me. “Darin LaHood lost a state’s attorney race, was appointed to a safe state senate seat, and has been just waiting to run for Congress. Conservatives can do better and send someone who has already proven they want to challenge Washington’s ways.”
First, Flynn has to get on the ballot. Then, he has to raise a bunch of cash. The jury is still out on both counts.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From a press release…
Speaker Madigan Forms Panel to Review Governor’s Budget Decisions
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help legislators craft the state’s next budget that begins July 1, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan on Friday announced the creation of a special House budget oversight panel to closely examine recent budget decisions made by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“Governor Rauner has talked about cutting non-essential state spending for a number of months. In light of recent budget actions, and as we prepare to craft the next state budget, it’s important to have an in-depth discussion about what the governor believes is non-essential,” Madigan said. “While I believe that a budget solution should include a balance of spending cuts and additional revenue, as a state it’s also our duty to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including children with autism, persons with developmental disabilities and lower-income women in need of breast cancer screenings.”
Madigan said the budget review panel will be led by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, and Assistant Majority Leader John Bradley, D-Marion, and include the chairmen of the five House appropriations committees. Madigan has invited House Republicans to name members to the panel.
“The Legislature has a monumental task ahead in crafting a responsible and realistic budget, and it’s imperative we have a clear understanding of the governor’s methods and his math,” Currie said. “For instance, in his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, the governor is claiming more than $2 billion in pension savings from a bill that has not even been debated, let alone passed into law, and $700 million in health care savings that has been neither debated nor approved. We can’t draft a budget with magic money that does not exist.”
“As we work through the budget plan for the next fiscal year, House Democrats are committed to protecting middle-class families and our most vulnerable citizens, protecting funding for schools, and creating jobs and rebuilding our roads, bridges and mass transit through a new infrastructure program,” Madigan said. “The budget we support will reflect those values and I’m optimistic the governor will show us how his plan accomplishes that.”
During remarks at the House’s inauguration in January, Madigan cited the state’s finances as the most important issue facing Illinois. Madigan said addressing the deficit and passing a spending plan will require bipartisan cooperation with Rauner and legislative Republicans – cooperation Madigan hopes will begin in earnest with the budget review committee.
“As I have pledged since he was elected, I plan to work with Governor Rauner professionally and cooperatively,” Madigan said. “That’s why I worked with the governor to address the current fiscal year’s budget. Now that decisions continue being made that impact a number of residents and families throughout the state, it’s important that the governor fully disclose how he reached those decisions.”
The budget review panel will hold its first meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 in Room 114 of the Capitol.
That mention of autism is no accident. Madigan thought he had a deal.
*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…
“One month ago, child care in Illinois had run out of money, court reporters were being sent home and prison guards were on the verge of missing payroll. Thanks to bipartisan legislation approved by the General Assembly in conjunction with continued fiscal management steps taken by the administration, millions of people around Illinois continue to be served by core state services. Governor Rauner remains committed to fixing Illinois’ fiscal crisis through the Turnaround Agenda and restructuring state government. He looks forward to working with the legislature to find a bipartisan solution that puts Illinois on the road to becoming the most competitive state in the country.”
- Posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Apr 17, 2015
Layoffs have begun for the Springfield branch of The Autism Program after Gov. Bruce Rauner cut its funding.
The governor announced the freeze of $26 million in state grants in a letter to social service agencies April 3. The move is part of an attempt to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole for the current fiscal year.
Russell Bonanno, the state director of the TAP Network, said Thursday that five professionals have already been let go by the program. Another two are facing cuts in both hours and salary, he said.
The Springfield branch has already eliminated nonclinical services, such as training and consultation for parents. The organization also is reviewing clinical services to decide if any need to be ended.
Bonanno said without money right now, it’s unlikely TAP will be able to reinstate its services in the near future.
* My friend Toni Gauen watched yesterday’s press conference by autism program advocates and then posted this on her Facebook page. It’s today’s must-read…
Imagine your everyday with no limits. Daring to face each challenge with excitement and vigor. Refusing to be your own stumbling block. Never ending your day with “done.” Always pushing the finish line forward.
What then would our world be like? Sounds like it would be a super human kind of world wouldn’t it?
I think about this often. Not only for the challenges I’ve chosen to face in my life. But more so when I consider the challenges my son and others with disabilities have to face every day to achieve the same level of “normal” we take for granted. It’s easy to overlook the strength of will and effort he and others have had to exert. Especially when their efforts have been successful.
Most know this..but for those who don’t, my son has autism. It’s mild. He is high functioning. And his diagnoses has evolved over the years. But he has been in therapies since he was three. His vocabulary was significantly limited. He didn’t “mimic.” He didn’t make eye contact. He had melt downs. He couldn’t tolerate loud noises, tastes, textures, even a hug at times. But he could create intricate patterns, recognize shapes, line up objects etc.
We started out with at home speech therapy, occupational therapy and a family/social therapists to help me and him interact in a way that wouldn’t result in a melt down. He stayed with various therapists as he progressed and his needs changed. He was in small-early childhood classes with other kids with disabilities. He rode “the short bus” to school. ;) I cringe when I hear the use of that term in a derogatory way. I loved that short bus. It meant my son was going to see people who could help him in ways I could not. It meant I could hope for a better future for him.
After a while he was able to be integrated with other kids without disabilities. He has had an IEP, Individual Educational Plan, all through the school years. I’ve had to fight almost every year to keep it and to enforce it. Budget cuts are always threatening the programs that help. He is a number. A figure in a budget. And his disabilities are not as understood as others that are more physically apparent. And also because these therapies and interventions have worked! He IS a success story! Most people who have met him can’t perceive anything different about him than any other kid. He has an IQ in the “very superior” range. But he has had to work very hard to reach his potential and to get to this point in his social skills where he can be accepted by peers and even society as “normal.” It does not come naturally to him.
So everyday he faces challenges. He had to be taught that words are not always literal. He had to be taught socially acceptable behavior. He had to be taught to interpret facial and body language. He had to be taught that people lie. All these things and more he has had to learn through repetition and therapies. And he continues to draw upon those therapies to be able to function in a world that is foreign for him.
As he gets older there are new challenges he must face. We all do. But it’s different for him and others with these disabilities. They aren’t cured. It’s still there. They have just learned to cope. They’ve learned to act against what their natural inclination is.
Literally, they are facing each day tearing down their limits. Daring to face each challenge. Refusing to be their own stumbling block. Never ending their day with “done” because their disability will never go away. Their finish line will always be pushed forward. :-) Kind of like a super human don’t you think?
I’m lucky. My son is 16 and is already a super human ;) He has been through all those programs that made it possible for him to overcome. And his disability is relatively mild in comparison to what others have to work through. Yet right now the programs that have made all this possible are being cut.
It’s not just a number. It’s not just a figure. It’s hope. The programs that are being cut are what make it possible for these kids to thrive. These kids are already facing huge challenges. They are already working each day to overcome obstacles that most of us never have to face. And the programs that help them do this, that give them the tools they need to function in our world, are being taken away.
We hear about the cuts to programs but we don’t really understand what it means. For people with disabilities, and specifically autism, it means imagining everyday always pushing the finish line forward but with even more stumbling blocks in the way, more challenges to hinder, limits without hope to overcome and a future that won’t be realized.
Think about this.
* Cuts take aim at Alzheimer and dementia patients
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From a union leader…
Another big union turnout (350-500 people) and another local government postpones consideration of Rauner’s turnaround agenda, this time in Livingston Co. Rauner got 66% of the vote in Livingston in November.
* From the governor’s office…
Hi, Rich –
I have attached the Westville resolution as promised.
And you can add Winthrop Harbor and Fayette County to the list of communities that have passed the resolution.
Westville passed an unedited Rauner resolution.
Winthrop Harbor, pop. 6,742.
Fayette County, pop. 22,140.
*** UPDATE *** No “Hi Rich” this afternoon?…
Village of Thomson passed the resolution. It’s attached.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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