Saturday, December 24, 2011

Forest Preserve District of Will County Receives Grants to Improve DuPage River Trail and Rock Run Preserve

Illinois Republican Leader Tom Cross presented a check of $500,000 to the Forest Preserve District of Will County on December 7 for two District projects in Shorewood and Joliet. The grant was awarded to the Forest Preserve by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO).



The DCEO grant was awarded to assist in the development of a section of the Hammel Woods North—DuPage River Trail in Shorewood and Joliet and for infrastructure improvements to the Rock Run Preserve in Joliet.


The DuPage River Trail is an initiative supported by numerous municipalities to create a continuous trail and greenway along the DuPage River from Naperville to Channahon. The DCEO grant will support the construction of 1.5 miles of asphalt bicycle trail that will extend from the existing trail system at Hammel Woods Preserve—DuPage River Access, on Black Road in Shorewood, to a section of the trail already in place that leads to Plainfield Township Park District's Sunset Ridge Park. This new section of trail includes an underpass of Black Road. The activities that will be funded by the DCEO grant include the materials and labor associated with the Black Road trail underpass, wetland boardwalk, fishing overlook on the DuPage River and improvements to the Hammel Woods Dog Park.


The Rock Run Preserve infrastructure enhancements include improvements to the preserve and to the Rock Run Trail. This 10.4-mile asphalt trail runs through the communities of Joliet and Crest Hill. Portions of this trail are inundated with water during wet weather events and are in need of repair.


The DCEO grant will be used to repair two sections of the trail within the Rock Run Preserve and for a new latrine at DuPage River Access.



DCEO is the lead state agency for improving Illinois' competitiveness in the global economy. DCEO administers a wide range of economic and workforce development programs, services and initiatives designed to create and retain high quality jobs and to build strong communities. DCEO leads the Illinois economic development process in partnership with businesses, local governments, workers and families.




House Minority Leader Tom Cross (center) presents DECO grant check to Board of Commissioner Lee Ann Goodson, Board President Cory S. Singer, Forest Preserve Executive Director Marcy DeMauro and Commissioner Brian Smith.  Photo courtesy of the Forest Preserve.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Braidwood Illinois Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade

Braidwood, Illinois will celebrate the holiday season with "Old Fashioned Christmas" activities sponsored by the Braidwood Chamber of Commerce and Fossil Ridge Library on December 3, 2011.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will be December 3rd at 4:50 p.m. at City Hall.  Immediately after the tree lighting, the parade will begin and head from City Hall to the library.

There will be festivities at the library after the parade for the kids and the kid at heart!

Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Manhattan Illinois Lighted Holiday Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting

Manhattan, Illinois will welcome the holiday season December 2nd and 3rd with "Christmas on State Street"!

2010 Christmas Tree lighting in Manhattan, Illinois
2011 "Christmas on State Street":

Friday December 2, 2011
--The Lincoln-Way Central Madrigal Singers will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Park District Program Center

Saturday December 3, 2011
--Craft Fair at Wilson Creek School, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
--Gingerbread House Contest at Wilson Creek School, 9a.m. drop-off, 11 a.m. judging
--See Santa , 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Manhattan Park District Program Center, Games and meet with Santa
--Chili Cook Off, Wilson Creek School, 9--10 a.m. drop-off, 11 a.m. judging
--Parade of Lights, 5:30 p.m.
--Christmas Tree Lighting, Times Square, immediately after the parade

Here is a video of last year's Christmas Tree Lighting:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Make Wall Street Pay" Action event in Joliet

A rally organized by Moveon.org was held in front of the Bank of America branch on Jefferson Street in Joliet today.  On Moveon.org's website, the event was described as a memorial for homes foreclosed upon by Bank of America.  This event coincides with many "Occupy Wall Street" rallies being held throughout Chicago and the nation November 5, 2011.  

Memorial For Foreclosed Homes outside of a Bank of America Branch in Joliet

Moveon.org organized rally outside of Bank of America in Joliet

Rally to "Make Wall Street Pay" on Jefferson Street in Joliet

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

High Speed Rail Meeting in Joliet Tonight, 4-7 p.m. at Jacob Henry Mansion

The Illinois Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting tonight, October 25, 2011 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Jacob Henry Mansion at 15 South Richards Street in Joliet.

The meeting will be a chance for citizens to meet with IDOT officials in an open-house format to discuss the Chicago to St. Louis high speed rail service.  According to IDOT, there will be no formal presentation, so the public is invited to attend anytime between 4 and 7 p.m..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midewin National Tallgrass Theatre sponsoring free screening of documentary: "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time"

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is sponsoring a free screening of documentary "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time"on Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the historic Mar Theatre in Wilmington, Illinois.

Here are some images of the Mar Theatre, located just off Route 53--old Route 66--at 121 S. Main Street in Wilmington, Illinois:


Built in 1937 at the cost of $50,000, the Mar maintains its original ticket booth, main stage, and marquee.

Aldo Leopold is considered a father of the conservation movement.  His collection of essays in "The Sand County Almanac" has sold millions of copies and in the essays Leopold describes his idea of a land ethic, the responsible relationship between people and the land.  For more information on Leopold and a preview of the film, view the trailer from "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time":



Having grown up in Will County and witnessed the rapid building of warehouses, roads, and subdivisions,  I was particularly struck by this Leopold quote: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

It is indeed fitting that Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is sponsoring this film.   Midewin is a national tallgrass prairie located on land of the former Joliet Arsenal Ammunition Plant.   An Aldo Leopold Quote is engraved in a stone outside of the Midewin Welcome Center:

Aldo Leopold quote outside the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Welcome Center 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Group Opposed to Peotone Airport holding "Footprint Harvest Fest" October 9, 2011

The group STAND--Shut This Airport Nightmare Down--is holding a "Footprint Harvest Fest" this Sunday, October 9, in rural Will County.  The event will be held from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Verduin farm at 1851 W. Church Road, Beecher, Illinois.

STAND states it is reaching out to individuals, groups, and elected officials to "help prevent this politically-driven project from becoming a reality."

The keynote speaker at the Footprint Harvest Fest will be Jon Stewart, the main organizer of the successful campaign to stop a 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport in London.

STAND members say they are fighting to stop the State of Illinois from using eminent domain to gain control of land in the footprint of the proposed Peotone Airport.  Anthony Rudis--a 100 year old owner of property in the footprint--may be in attendance.   Regarding the state's plan to use eminent domain to take his land, Rudis stated: "This land is not for sale, I do not want them on my property and I will do what I can to stop them.  This is terribly upsetting.  The FAA has not approved the project, and they have no business moving forward, wasting taxpayers' money."

Members of STAND recently created a "No Peotone Airport" Crop Circle:


Members of STAND then led a goat around the circle in an effort to transfer the Chicago Cubs Billy Goat Curse to the Peotone Airport:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Civil War Reenactment at Manhattan Round Barn Farm Park


2013 MANHATTAN CIVIL WAR DAYS


The Manhattan Park District's Round Barn Farm Park will host Manhattan Days of Old and a Civil War reenactment Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th, 20, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.  Admission is 5:00 per adult and $2.00 for children age 12 and under.

Events will include: 150 infantry, calvary and artillery re-enactors portraying the Battle of Shilo, music, displays regarding Civil War medicine, kids' activities, and handmade soaps for purchase.

2010 Manhattan Days of Old:
Civil War Reenactors discuss the use of the cannon during the Civil War at the Manhattan Park District "Days of Old" at the Baker-Koren Round Barn Farm Park.

Musicians played Civil-War era music:

More from the 2010 Manhattan Days of Old here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Operation Care Package Let No Hero Be Forgotten Benefit this Saturday in Manhattan

Operation Care Package is a volunteer, 501C public charity dedicating to supporting our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen through care packages.   The group has sent thousands of care packages to troops stationed around the world.

Operation Care Package will be holding a benefit this Saturday, August 6, 2011 from 4 PM to 10 PM at Bit O' Blarney Pub in Manhattan, Illinois.   The event will feature live music, great raffles, a cash bar, and a live auction.  Entrance is 10 dollars and all proceeds go directly to Operation Care Package and their mission of sending care packages to the members of our military.

Example of a care package shipped to members of our military by Operation Care Package.

Operation Care Package Benefit to be held in Manhattan, Illinois this Saturday, August 6, 2011.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dwight to Joliet High Speed Rail Open House to be held by IDOT August 4 in Joliet

The Illinois Department of Transportation will hold a public open house Thursday, August 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Center at 214 North Ottawa Street in Downtown Joliet.  

IDOT officials will answer the public's questions regarding the Dwight to Joliet section of the St. Louis to Chicago high speed rail project.

The Chicago to St. Louis high speed rail project was one of the first in the nation's High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program.

More info on high-speed rail coming to Joliet: http://www.connectthemidwest.com/tag/station/
http://www.idothsr.org/

Video of 4h of July Fireworks over Union Station in Downtown Joliet:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Breaking News: Local Group to Protest Peotone Airport at Quinn's visit to Tinley Park

Governor Quinn will be in Tinley Park tomorrow for a Soutland Chamber of Commerce event.  STAND--Shut This Airport Nightmare Down--a local group opposed to the proposed Peotone Airport, will also be outside the event demonstrating against the use of eminent domain for the land proposed to be used for the Peotone Airport.  Full story at Peotone Airport News.

Search Will County Property Sales and Transactions

Thanks to a free service from the Will County Recorder of Deeds you can now search Will County property sales and mortgage information online.  Searching by last name, you can find out information on the amount of money a property sold for.  The website also contains records of mortgages and mortgage releases.  Trust information is also available.

Go to the Will County Recorder of Deeds Website to find records of property sales.  This is also a great tool for genealogy, as you can search your family's property transactions.  The records go back to 1967.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Illiana Corridor Public Meeting to be held tonight in Matteson

The Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation have scheduled a public meeting tonight to present the Illiana Corridor Study Schedule, Planning Process, and to seek input from the public regarding the Illinois Corridor Study Schedule.

The meeting will be held tonight, June 21, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Matteson, Illinois.

There will be a Power Point presentation, exhibits related to the Illiana, and attendees will have a chance to meet 1:1 with Illinois Department of Transportation and Indiana Department of Transportation study team representatives.

Information for individuals with disabilities who will attend: These meetings will be accessible to handicapped individuals. Anyone needing specific assistance should contact Kara Olson of Images, Inc. at (630) 510-3944. Persons planning to attend who will need a sign language interpreter or other similar accommodations should notify the TTY/TTD number (800) 526-0844/or 711; TTY users (Spanish) (800) 501-0864/or 711; and for Telebraille dial (877) 526-6670 at least five days prior to the meeting.


According to their website, Images, Inc. is an "Illinois based DBE firm noted for its unique blend of public involvement, strategic planning, consensus building, facilitation, communication, marketing, and media strategies."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Civil War History Event

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie held a Civil War History event at the Iron Bridge Trail Head June 11, 2011.

Civil War History Event at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Civil War History Event at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Civil War History Event at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Members of the Bronzeville Historical Society discussed African American history before, during, and after the Civil War:


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Manhattan American Legion, Manhattan Fire Department, and Manhattan Boy Scouts Hold Flag Retirement Ceremony

Member of Manhattan American Legion Post 935, the Manhattan Fire Department, and Manhattan Boy Scouts held a ceremony today to retire worn American flags collected from the community.  The Manhattan American Legion has two collection boxes where people can deposit their worn flags to be properly retired.  There is one collection box at State Street Auto and one outside James Tromp's office by Berkots.

Members of the Manhattan American Legion, Manhattan Fire Department, and Manhattan Boy Scouts honorably retire worn US flags
Members of the Manhattan American Legion, Manhattan Fire Department, and Manhattan Boy Scouts honorably retire worn US flags

Members of the Manhattan American Legion, Manhattan Fire Department, and Manhattan Boy Scouts honorably retire worn US flags

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Civil War 150th Anniversary Event at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie this Saturday

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie will host a Civil War 150th Anniversary Event this Saturday, June 11, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m..  People dressed in period costume will tell the story of the Civil War and Underground Railroad through demonstrations, songs, poetry, and stories.

The event will take place at the Iron Bridge Trailhead, which can be accessed from Rt. 53.  The Iron Bridge Trailhead is south of Hoff Road.

June 11 is also National Get Outdoors Day.  Along with the Civil War Event, there will also be a 1:00 p.m. "Birds, Bridges, and Bunkers" Hike.  This hike is three hours and covers six miles.  Hikers will experience a glacial moraine vantage point, a pastoral grasslands, Prairie Creek, and a vast bunker field.  People wanting to take this hike also meet at the Iron Bridge Trailhead.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was created by an Act of Congress from the land of the former Joliet Arsenal Ammunition plant.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Splash Station offers Groupon!

During the April 2011 Joliet Mayoral and City Council race, Spalsh Station generated much discussion.  Views ranged from:

"The city can't afford a water park with a 27 million dollar budget deficit!"

to

"Kids and families need something to do!  If Joliet can't even keep a water park running, how can we provide good quality of life!"

to

"We built it using casino money, it was a good investment in our community."

to

"Is it a good use of money to build a water park in a climate where you can only go swimming 4 months out of the year?"

to

"The city can't sell it because it is not profitable."

Well, today I opened my Daily Groupon email and found I had an offer for a Groupon to Splash Station.   Groupon was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune business section in an article that discussed Groupon's possible IPO later this year.  The company is valued at billions of dollars.

The Splash Station Groupon allows you to buy 2 adult passes for 10 dollars, a 26 dollar value, or 2 child passes for 8 dollars, an 18 dollar value.

If you were planning on taking a trip to Splash Station this summer, you may want to take advantage of this Groupon.

I think it's really great to see Joliet get in on the Groupon action!  Normally, the Groupons I receive are for towns North of Joliet, and with gas prices the way they are, I don't normally take advantage of those offers.  I think it's really great to see Joliet get in on the Groupon action!

UPDATE:  As of 7:35 p.m., 2,615 people have purchased Groupons for Joliet's Splash Station--sweet!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Warehouse Workers at Kraft/Cadbury in Joliet will file suit claiming they are owed wages

Warehouse workers at the Kraft/Cadbury warehouse in Joliet will file a class action lawsuit today in U.S. District Court claiming they are owed wages by the temp agency that staffs the Kraft/Cadbury warehouse--Prologistix.  Workers also are alleging that they are still owed vacation pay and were not given written notices of their wage rate.  


The Kraft warehouse is located on Laraway Road near Rt. 53 and the Chicagoland Speedway. 


Workers will be holding a press conference at the U.S. District Court on Dearborn Street in Chicago on Monday at 10:30 a.m..


"We worked hard to make sure that Kraft got their products to store shelves on time.  All we ask in return is that these companies follow the law pay us the wages and benefits they owe us.  We just want to be treated with respect as workers.  It's unfortunate that we have to take this action today just to get Prologistix to follow the law,"  said Chris Craig, who worked in the warehouse for eight months.


Will County News has contacted Kraft and Prologistix for a response and is awaiting their email responses.  Please check back for more updates.


UPDATE:


Here is the email response I received from Joyce Hodel from Kraft Corporate Affairs:
"Hello Ann,
We are not familiar with the specific complaint you are asking about.  For more details, I suggest you contact Schenker Logistics who is the operator of the facility.  Prologistix is an agency that Schenker uses.
Kraft Foods works with thousands of suppliers and business partners around the world.  We inform our vendors of Kraft’s expectations regarding legal compliance and we expect that they will comply with these expectations."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Closing Ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the New Lenox American Legion

A large crowd gathered at the Tom E. Hartung American Legion Post in New Lenox for the closing ceremony for the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall.   The Wall is open for viewing until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.  The Wall is watched over by a volunteer honor guard 24/7.

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

Closing Ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the New Lenox American Legion

Closing Ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the New Lenox American Legion

Veterans line the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the Closing Ceremony in New Lenox, Memorial Day, May 30, 2011

Veterans line the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the Closing Ceremony in New Lenox, Memorial Day, May 30, 2011

Video of the closing ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall is now in place at the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977.


The closing ceremony will occur on Memorial Day,  May 30th, at 7:00 p.m..

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall is a half-sized replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the U.S. for more than 20 years.



Here are photos of the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall:


The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

Members of the Manhattan American Legion at the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977



The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977

Air Force ROTC cadets at The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at New Lenox American Legion Post 1977
Here is a video of the American Legion and the Air Force ROTC honor guards changing posts as part of an honor guard that will maintain watch over the Wall 24/7:


Friday, May 27, 2011

Braidwood Memorial Day Service

Braidwood American Legion Post Commander Jim Canup invites everyone to the Memorial Day service beginning at 9 a.m. May 30th, 2011 at the Reed Township Veteran's Memorial in downtown Braidwood.


Speakers will include Mayor Jerry Pressley and State Sen. Sue Rezin. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony by the Braidwood Area Chamber of Commerce at City Hall.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Lenox American Legion Post 1977 to host Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall will be hosted by the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977 from May 26 to May 30, 2011.

The wall will arrive at the New Lenox American Legion Post 1977--located at 14414 Ford Drive in New Lenox---on May 26 at 9:30 a.m. and will be open for viewing at noon.

An opening ceremony will take place on May 27th at 4:00 p.m. with a prayer vigil at 7:00 p.m..

The closing ceremony will occur May 30th at 7:00 p.m..

The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall is a half-sized replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the U.S. for more than 20 years.

Photos and video from the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall at the Tom E. Hartung American Legion Post 1977 in New Lenox. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joliet Warehouse Workers Filing Discrimination Charges in Court Today


The group Warehouse Workers for Justice has released the following press release regarding workers in a Joliet warehouse who are filing charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today in Chicago:
"Workers at the Kraft/Cadbury's warehouse in Joliet are filing charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today alleging that DB Schenker - the company running the warehouse - has repeatedly refused to address discrimination claims and has created a hostile work environment.
"There are Nazi signs on the walls," said Angela McDonald, one of the workers at the warehouse. "When you have to work late or on a Saturday you never know what could happen."
A group of Schenker employees, along with Warehouse Workers for Justice, recently met with civil rights representatives and local clergy to request assistance in dealing with the discriminatory practices. One worker described fearing for her safety while walking to her car after being repeatedly harassed during the night shift. "When I'm leaving at one in the morning, there is no security and I know there are people who are hateful and prejudiced in the building. I'm afraid of someone hurting me," said McDonald. 
The EEOC charges allege that when management was approached about the various instances of discrimination, they claimed that the African American and Latino workers were putting up swastika graffiti "to get attention." The offensive graffiti has not been removed from most public areas of the warehouse including the break room and men's rest room, and a vehicle flying confederate flags has been consistently parked on the property near the warehouse entrance.

"When we first saw the swastika grafitti we went to talk to the management. They still have not said that they will take care of any of this," alleged McDonald."

Will County News contacted both Kraft Foods and DB Schenker in order to ask for a response to this press release.  DB Schenker replied that they had not yet received a copy of the complaint.  DB Schenker also replied that once they receive a copy of the filing, they will review it, investigate, and respond accordingly.

Kraft Foods responded that they were not familiar with the specific complaint, and suggest contacting DB Schenker.  Kraft Foods also responded that Kraft Foods works with thousands of suppliers and business partners around the world, and informs those vendors of Kraft's expectation that all vendors comply with all regulations regarding legal compliance.  Kraft Foods provided a link to their expectations of suppliers and business partners.

Here is a video of the workers in Chicago as they filed the complaint paperwork:

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Will County warehouse workers filing suit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing

The Huffington Post reports a group of workers who worked in Wal-Mart's distribution center in Elwood, Illinois have filed a class-action lawsuit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing claiming they were not paid what they were owed.

Schneider Logistics is contracted by Wal-Mart to run the distribution warehouse in Elwood.  Reliable staffing, as reported by the Huffington Post, supplies workers for Schneider.  In a press release announcing Schneider's contract with Wal-Mart, a Wal-Mart executive was quoted as saying: ""The Elwood distribution center will provide Wal-Mart the opportunity to better serve our stores throughout the Midwest,” said Johnnie Dobbs, executive vice president of logistics and supply chain for Wal-Mart. “Our partnership with American Port Services, Schneider Logistics and Schneider National will create hundreds of good paying jobs for the region and represents our continued commitment to Illinois as a partner in both economic and community development.""


In a Joliet Herald News article the president of Reliable Staffing stated all workers were paid what they were due according to law.  


In contrast to the comments by Dobbs, the group Warehouse Workers for Justice claims many of the jobs in Will County Warehouses are not good jobs.  Warehouse Workers for Justice claim 2/3 of the workers in Will County warehouses are temps making poverty level wages, based on a survey of warehouse workers conducted by the group.


In response to publication of the survey, the Joliet Herald News published an editorial that warned there was little to protect workers from being exploited in warehouses.  In response to the Herald's editorial, Will County Center for Economic Development CEO and President John Grueling wrote an editorial challenging the methodology and thus the veracity of the Warehouse Workers for Justice survey.  Grueling also wrote, in regards to the warehouse industry, "This industry offers employment opportunities to that segment of the population with the fewest options for earning a living wage."


Here are some videos from the Warehouse Workers for Justice meeting where the group released the findings of its report:











Monday, April 11, 2011

Mike Wolfe of American Pickers from Joliet!

Did anyone else do a double-take when Mike Wolfe of American Pickers just said he was from Joliet?

Wolfe has previously explained he grew up poor in Joliet, where he began his career finding bikes and other items in the trash and reselling them.

Maybe newly-elected mayor Tom Giarrante and the City of Joliet could get some sort of financing deal available to bring an Antique Archeology store to downtown Joliet.   There are too many beautiful buildings sitting under utilized.  An Antique Archeology--in my opinion--would bring a great amount of foot traffic downtown, creating an environment where more people would go downtown to shop.  Plus it would draw shoppers from Chicago, producing more customers for downtown shops and restaurants.

What do you think?  A Joliet branch of Antique Archeology to anchor the new shops planned for the downtown Joliet intermodal high-speed rail station?

There is so much history in and around Joliet, from the Joliet Arsenal to Will County's agricultural heritage, an Antique Archeology would be an awesome place to celebrate that history.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Giarrante wins Joliet's Mayoral Election with 3,942 votes (unofficial results)

Tom Giarrante has been elected to be the new mayor of Joliet in the April 2011 election.  According to unofficial results on the Will County Clerk's page, Giarrante has won with 3,942 votes.  Unofficially, 14, 983 people voted in the Joliet Mayoral Election.  According to the 2010 census, the population of Joliet is 147, 433.

Unofficial Results: Tom Giarrante Elected Mayor of Joliet

According to the Will County Clerk's unofficial election results website, Tom Giarrante has been elected Mayor of Joliet.

According to the Will County Clerk's unofficial results, with 111 of 111 precincts reporting, Giarrante has won with 3, 531 votes.   The results are unofficial, from the Will County Clerk: "UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

On Election Night, as precincts are reporting, you will see the results being tabulated. These results will not include the Absentee by mail, Servicemen or Early Voting results. We will upload these results at the very end of the evening after all 445 precincts have been checked in.

Election results will not be official until Tuesday, April 26, when canvassing of votes is completed and after absentee ballots postmarked by midnight, April 4, and provisional and grace period ballots are counted on April 19."

The next highest vote-getter was Warren Dorris with 2, 730 votes, that number is again an unofficial result. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Joliet Job Corps Participates in the National Job Corps Oratory Competition

Participants in the Joliet Job Corps participated in the 2010 National Job Corps Oratory Competition.  Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the US Department of Labor "that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998."


The Joliet Job Corps is located on the site of the former Joliet East High School, 1101 Mills Road, Joliet.
Joliet Job Corps is overseen by the Chicago Regional Office of Job Corps.  Joliet Job Corps participants live in dormitories on site and complete educational training and career training in field such as culinary arts and certified nursing assisting. 


For the 2010 Oratory Competition, Joliet Job Corps participants composed and delivered speeches responding to the prompt, "How has Job Corps impacted your life?"


Here are two Joliet Job Corps participants participating in the oratory competition:



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Warehouse Workers for Justice to hold vigil in downtown Joliet on anniversary of Dr. King's assassination


The local group Warehouse Workers for Justice will commemorate the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination with a vigil in Downtown Joliet April 4, 2011.  See the Warehouse Workers for Justice press release for more details:

"Vigil planned to commemorate MLK dream on April 4
Warehouse Workers call to Revive the American Dream

FOR RELEASE ON: April 1, 2011

Press contact:  Abraham Mwaura, Warehouse Workers for Justice: 312.775.2154 abe@warehouseworker.org

On April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life.   

In celebration of the life and dream of MLK Jr. Warehouse Workers for Justice is hosting a vigil at the Will County Courthouse calling to revive the American dream on Monday, April 4th at 12 noon.  

The vigil is part of a national day of action in support of workers rights in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where workers rights to collective bargaining are under attack.

Who:  Local pastors from various denominations, community leaders, warehouse workers and members of Warehouse Workers for Justice.

What:
  Prayer Vigil and call to action.

When:  Monday, April 4 at 12pm noon

Where:  Will County Courthouse, 14 W. Jefferson St. Joliet, IL "

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Will farmers plant record number of corn acres?

by ann baskerville

The United States Department of Agriculture is releasing the Farm Acreage and Stock report tomorrow, March 31, 2011.  The information in the report will likely affect commodity prices.  For example, if the report shows farmers deciding to plant more acres in corn than soybeans, that could push prices for soybeans higher, depending on other factors such as world markets and soybean crop yields in other countries.

Corn is currently (as of April 10, 2011) trading above 7 dollars a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

One local farmer is indeed increasing corn acreage plans based on current commodity prices:
Seagulls flock to newly-plowed soil.  This field of alfalfa is getting plowed so that the farmer can plant corn on this acreage.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"We have tractors" on the square in Madison, Wisconsin, Photos, Videos of Farmers Protesting Budget Repair Bill

This is the first YouTube video I could find of the tractor parade around the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The tractors came to Madison through the organization of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Family Farm Defenders. Both groups came out to protest Gov. Walker's Budget Repair bill, saying it is bad for Rural America.




More video of tractors circling the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on 3/12/11:



A representative from Family Farm Defenders says the purpose of the tractorcade is to show how the budget repair bill affects Rural America. He said Walker is attacking school funding and Badger care. The representative from Family Farm Defenders said 11,000 Wisconsin farmers are on Badgercare and will lose it due to the Budget Repair Bill:



Check out this great video of the Tractorcade on madison.com: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/video/vmix_836d3f40-4d15-11e0-a547-001cc4c03286.html

Tractors and farmers arrive in Madison, Wisconsin, tens of thousands protest Walker's budget bill

The tractors have arrived in Madison, Wisconsin and are circling the capitol: http://yfrog.com/h4qydzdj
and http://yfrog.com/gz4xopsj.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union organized a tractorcade to Madison in order to protest Gov. Walker's Budget Repair Bill.   In a press release, the Wisconsin Farmers Union said:

“Much has been said about billionaires or union ‘bosses’ calling the shots about what happens with this legislation,” said WFU President Darin Von Ruden, a Westby-area dairy farmer. “The drive for this tractorcade and rally came directly from farmers and is being done under farmers’ direction.”

“Our grass-roots farmers say it’s wrong to take away things like BadgerCare and destroy our public schools when that doesn’t really have to be done,” said FFD Executive Director John Peck.

Family farmers say the bills would potentially take BadgerCare from the approximately 11,000 family farm people who depend upon BadgerCare as their primary health insurance, and that the bills will destroy rural schools.

Farm Labor Tractorcade organizers are inviting participants and supporters to wear green during the tractorcade and rally to reflect the event’s grass-roots nature."


Friday, March 11, 2011

Wisconsin Farmers Union to drive tractors to Madison to Participate in Rally at the Wisconsin Capitol

The Wisconsin Farmers Union is planning a "Tractorcade" to Madison, Wisconsin, read the full press release from the Wisconsin Farmers Union website:


"WISCONSIN FARMERS UNION
For immediate release
: March 9, 2011
For More Information Contact: Scott Schultz 715-723-5561 (office) or 715-533-5906 (cell)
sschultz@wisconsinfarmersunion.com 
Hightower to join farmers during farmers’ ‘tractorcade’ and rally Madison, Wis. (March 9, 2011) – Nationally syndicated populist columnist Jim Hightower will join Wisconsin family farmers during a tractorcade and rally Saturday at the state capitol in Madison.

The Farm Labor Tractorcade, sponsored by Wisconsin Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders, will have a tractor parade 10-11 a.m. from John Nolan Drive to Capitol Square. The tractor parade will be followed by an 11:30 a.m. rally at the capitol.

Hightower, a long-time political activist and former Texas agriculture commissioner, will add to voices from farmers who want Gov. Scott Walker and supporters of his budget repair bill and biennial budget proposal to hear how the bills would hurt family farmers and rural communities.

“Much has been said about billionaires or union ‘bosses’ calling the shots about what happens with this legislation,” said WFU President Darin Von Ruden, a Westby-area dairy farmer. “The drive for this tractorcade and rally came directly from farmers and is being done under farmers’ direction.”

“Our grass-roots farmers say it’s wrong to take away things like BadgerCare and destroy our public schools when that doesn’t really have to be done,” said FFD Executive Director John Peck.

Family farmers say the bills would potentially take BadgerCare from the approximately 11,000 family farm people who depend upon BadgerCare as their primary health insurance, and that the bills will destroy rural schools.

Farm Labor Tractorcade organizers are inviting participants and supporters to wear green during the tractorcade and rally to reflect the event’s grass-roots nature.

Farmers who want to drive their tractors in the tractorcade should contact Peck at the FFD office, telephone (608) 260-0900, or e-mailfamilyfarmdefenders@yahoo.com.

The tractorcade will approach the capitol John Nolan Drive to Broom Street, and then on Broom Street to Wilson Street. It will continue on Wilson Street to Hamilton Street, and then to Capitol Square. The tractors will be on the square until about 11 a.m.
# # #
Wisconsin Farmers Union, a member-driven organization, is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities and all citizens through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors and civic engagement."


Earlier in the week, almost immediately after the State Senate passed Walker's bill, the president of the Madison Firefighters Union advocated for a general strike, "first statewide, then nationwide."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

General Strike in Wisconsin? Madison Firefighter Union President advocates for general strike, chaos as Assembly passes bill

The President of the Madison, Wisconsin Firefighters Union advocated for a general strike, saying the strike should go, "statewide, then nationwide."


Here is a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Video from the Assembly floor as the bill passed to shouts of "Shame" from both the people in the gallery and the Democratic State Representatives.  The Rev. Jesse Jackson was also on the floor and can be seen in the video: http://bcove.me/4s3um1gx


Live from Madison: http://theuptake.org/2011/03/09/wisconsin-senate-votes-to-eliminate-collective-bargaining/

Madison Wisconsin Firefighters Union President advocates for General Strike as Gov. Walker's bill passes in Wisconsin Senate

Thousands of protesters rushed to the Wisconsin State Capitol after Governor Scott Walkers budget repair bill was passed by the Wisconsin Senate after being amended slightly to allow it to pass without the quorum currently denied the Senate because 14 Democratic State Senators fled the state to Illinois.

Some protesters at the capitol were calling for a general strike, including the President of the Madison Firefighters Union, who said the strike should go, "statewide, then nationwide":




Here are some more scenes from the 3-9-11 protests at the Wisconsin Capitol:






Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living receives $181, 921 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living, located at 2415-A West Jefferson Street in Joliet, received a grant of $181, 921 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to the federal website, recovery.gov.


According to Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living Executive Director Pam Heavens, the ARRA funds "made an enormous and positive difference in our ability to continue to service our consumers."  Furthermore, Heavens said the ARRA funds allowed the center to retain a  staff that "provides information and referral to more than 2300 individuals annually."   


Since opening in 1989, the Center has operated only on grants and contributions.


According to its website, the Center provides services such as: housing referrals, peer counseling, interpreter referral, amplified telephones and more.  To find out more about the services offered by the Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living, visit the Center's website

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Manhattan Irish Fest 2011

Manhattan, Illinois will celebrate its 17th Irish Fest March 4th and 5th.

Manhattan Irish Fest will have activities for all age groups:

CHILDREN AND YOUTH:





ll Children's and Youth Activities will be held at the Manhattan Park District Recreation Center 397 S State St.

Scheduled Events:
Friday March 4 --
6:00 - 7:00 -- Stormin' Norman (DJ)
7:00 - 7:45 -- Street Worthy (Band)
7:45 - 8:30 -- Stormin' Norman (DJ)
8:30 - 9:00 -- Street Worthy (Band)
9:00 -10:00 -- Stormin' Norman (DJ)
Saturday March 5 --
 9:00a -- Noon   Warming StationOperation Care Package will be selling Hot Chocolate and Coffee.
12:00 noon-5:00p: Games & Prizes:Carnival Games-- Big Mouth,Frog Hop,Star Darts, Boom Blasters, Shuffle Bowl, Teen High Striker, Fat Cats, Skee Roll, Tip-A-Troll, Rock Band, Flip Books, Wax Hands and Sand Art.
12:15-12:45:Bag Piper - Interactive
12:45-1:00Irish Step Dancers
1:00-2:00The Magic Dentist
6:00p - 9:00p
6:00 - 6:45 -- Street Worthy (Band)
6:45 - 7:30 -- Stormin' Norman (DJ)
7:30 - 8:00 -- Street Worthy (Band)
8:00 - 9:00 -- Stormin' Norman (DJ)
9:00p
Building Closes
           

ALL AGES:             



Cultural Area 
St Joseph’s Grade School 
Saturday, March 5, 2011 
9:00 Irish Mass at St Joseph Church 
9:00-4:00 Trinity Knot Irish Store 
9:00-4:00 Concessions 
1:00 -1:15 Stock Yard Kilty Pipe Band 
1:15-1:30 Triallta Irish Step Dancers 
1:30 - 2:00 Manhattan Music Angels 
2:00 - 3:30 Author & Folk Singer 
Lee Murdock 
Other Activities 
Saturday, March 5, 2011 
9:00am Mass – St Joseph’s Church 
Noon-2:00 Caboose - Historical Society 
11:00am Parade- Downtown 
1:00 Rugby – Central Park 
Manhattan Morrigans 
2:00 Rugby – Central Park 
Manhattan Shamrocks 




ADULTS:

Friday, March 4, 2011 – 21 and older only 
5:30-6:00 Irish Music 
6:00 - 8:00 James & Wright - 
Righteous Hillbillies 
8:00 - 8:30 Grand Marshal/King & 
Queen 
8:30 - 10:30 Fisticuffs 
10:30 Last Pour 
11:00 Tent Closed 



Saturday, March 5, 2011 
Entertainment Area 
Manhattan Central Park 
Friday, March 4, 2011 – 21 and older only 
5:30-6:00 Irish Music 
6:00 - 8:00 James & Wright - 
Righteous Hillbillies 
8:00 - 8:30 Grand Marshal/King & 
Queen 
8:30 - 10:30 Fisticuffs 
10:30 Last Pour 
11:00 Tent Closed

The Manhattan Irish Fest is sponsored by the Irish American Society of County Will.