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Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

A feature-length film, documentaries and shorts included in Ottawa film festival line-up

Posted by wlpo on March 1, 2015

If you’ve spent any time living, working or just hanging out in Ottawa you’ll notice familiar buildings and faces during many of the 11 pieces being shown in the River City Film Festival.

Most notably in the line-up is River City Panic, a film by Tyler Amm.   The movie shot entirely in Ottawa opens later this month. Amm’s father and grandfather are also the topics of two documentaries included in the festival though Amm says the festival wasn’t his idea. He credits Mayor Bob Eschbach.

Amm says from there the Ottawa Visitor’s Center and Roxy Theater became involved along with filmmaker, Kane Farabaugh. He says they wanted to do something small in its first year but they plan on making in larger next year.

The festival will run just one day, Sunday, March 22 at the Roxy Cinemas in downtown Ottawa. For $20, you’ll get an all-day pass. Amm’s movie plus several shorts and documentaries will be showing in two auditoriums throughout the day and evening. There will also be Q and A with filmmakers.

You can buy tickets through the Ottawa Visitors Center. Only 300 tickets will be available and Amm predicts tickets will quickly sellout.

Learn more by listening to an interview that’s available at the Classic Hits 103.9 WLPO news page.

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Illinois House Bill would further limit demonstrators at military funerals

Posted by wlpo on February 26, 2015

Illinois has a law limiting how close protesters can get to military funeral services, but a local lawmaker wants to make it tougher on protesters.

State Representative Frank Mautino, a democrat from Spring Valley, is supporting a bill that would expand the prohibited protest area to one thousand feet from a funeral or service and ban protests one hour before and one hour after services.

The Let Them Rest in Peace law was created after members of the Westboro Baptist Church began using military funerals to promote their agenda while deliberately offending family and friends of the deceased.

As it stands, protesters are not allowed within 300 feet of a funeral site, during a service and for 30 minutes prior to and following a memorial service.

The bill needs to be heard by the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee.

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Nelson receive committee approval to become the next Department of Ag Director

Posted by wlpo on February 10, 2015

A La Salle County farmer you might know is a step closer to becoming the head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Phil Nelson of Seneca is Governor Bruce Rauner’s choice to be the new ag director.

Nelson went before the Senate Executive Appointments Committee in Chicago Tuesday along with State Senator Sue Rezin who testified on his behalf. The committee unanimously approved Nelson’s nomination. He still needs the full Senate’s approval.

Nelson served as the Illinois Farm Bureau President from 2003 to 2013.

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Gov. Rauner proposes a minimum wage increase during the State of the State address

Posted by wlpo on February 4, 2015

The state minimum wage would increase from $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour over seven years in a proposal by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. The new Republican governor gave his first State of the State address Wednesday afternoon to state lawmakers that are predominately Democrats.

Rauner says he wants workers’ compensation reform, lawsuit reforms, changes to unemployment insurance and diversity guidelines for unions that contract with the state.

He says out-of-control property taxes are crushing middle class families and he blames governments that have been unable or unwilling to control their own spending.

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Oglesby site one of 18 given medical marijuana permits by Gov. Rauner

Posted by wlpo on February 2, 2015

The wait to find out which companies will be allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois is over.

Governor Bruce Rauner Monday awarded the permits to cultivation centers and dispensaries after taking steps to fix what his aides said were legal flaws in the license award process under former Governor Pat Quinn.

GTI Clinic Holding, LLC received the one permit being issued for a cultivation center in State Police District 17. The company plans to build near the Love’s Travel Stop in Oglesby.

Oglesby Mayor Don Finley spoke with GTI officials shortly after the permits were announced. Finley says he’s happy to see the area getting new jobs. The cultivation center is expected to use a lot of electricity, which Finley says is also good for the city since they lost their biggest electric customer several years ago.

The one dispensary being allowed in District 17, Pharmacann, LLC plans to open in Ottawa.

In all, 18 businesses were given cultivate center permits, but three applications are being reviewed. 52 businesses were awarded licenses for dispensaries while five applications are being reviewed.

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Numbers of Illinois households on food stamps still rising

Posted by wlpo on January 24, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – State figures show the number of Illinois households on food stamps continues to rise.

The Illinois Department of Human Service says there were 1.07 million households enrolled last month in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That’s up 20,000 from the previous month and is the highest level since at least 2010.

The department says the total number of Illinoisans on food stamps jumped by 37,500 in December, to 2.08 million. That’s the highest since 2.15 million people statewide were participating in the program in June 2013.

Some 60,000 Illinoisans were added to food-stamp rolls last year.

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Illinois comptroller dies following stroke

Posted by wlpo on December 10, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has died, less than 24 hours after having a stroke.

A statement from her office says the 70-year-old Topinka died early Wednesday morning following complications from the stroke.

She’d reported discomfort and was admitted to a hospital in Berwyn. After undergoing testing, she lost consciousness Wednesday and was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

Topinka, a Republican, won a second term last month in a tough race with Democratic challenger Sheila Simon, the former lieutenant governor.

Topinka was a former state treasurer and Illinois GOP chairwoman.

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Judge rules Illinois’ pension law unconstitutional

Posted by wlpo on November 21, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois judge has ruled that a law intended to fix the nation’s worst state employee pension crisis violates the state Constitution.

Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz ruled Friday in favor of state employees and retirees who sued to block the state’s landmark pension overhaul.

The state is expected to appeal the ruling directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The overhaul was approved by lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn last year. Years of underfunding had put the state’s pension systems roughly $100 billion short of what they need to cover benefits promised to employees.

The law reduces benefits for retirees, but also reduces employee contributions. The lawsuit argued that the Constitution prohibits reducing benefits or compensation.

The state argued that pensions can be modified in times of crisis.

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