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Too bad the Legislature didn’t apply a little weather-stripping to keep its home energy-efficiency program from leaking money and promised jobs.

This boondoggle of a state program was done in by either politics or incompetence, not unlike the way Gov. Pat Quinn’s anti-crime Neighborhood Recovery Initiative was botched.

Can’t Springfield get anything right?

Five years ago, lawmakers enacted the Urban Weatherization Initiative. The idea was to train workers in predominantly African-American communities to refit old buildings, creating jobs and lowering utility bills.

The notion was laudable, but the program had some gaping holes.

As a result, only a fraction of the 1,900 people trained to be laborers and inspectors actually got jobs, according to a Better Government Association report in Monday’s Sun-Times. Only 183 homes have been upgraded. And more than $13 million of the $16-million-plus spent so far has gone for administrative costs and training. Read the rest of the SunTimes Editorial.


Energy – Fracking
Negotiations continue on new rules. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources continues work to finalize the rules it will use to regulate future horizontal shale drilling in Illinois. New engineering technologies, known as “fracking,” have multiplied the power of drilling activity to get oil and natural gas out of rock characterized by tightly-packed grains of clay and sediment – the kind of rock known as “shale.” Until recently, engineering challenges prevented these deposits from being drilled and pumped.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director (IDPH) Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck today announced the activation of an Ebola hotline to answer residents’ questions about Ebola 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline number is 800-889-3931.

Managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center, hotline operators are able to provide timely information on Ebola and the state’s response. Residents can call any time with questions such as how Ebola is spread, who is at risk of being infected, when should someone go to a doctor, what hospitals and local health departments are doing to identify and control possible Ebola infections and other frequently asked questions.

Dr. Hasbrouck, joined by local health department, hospital, health care and emergency response officials, will hold a media briefing on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. to provide the latest information on Ebola preparedness efforts in Illinois.

Read more about Illinois' Ebola Preparedness
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

There's no disputing the substance of the hiring scandal that's racked the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The only real question is, What to do about it? And that's an issue on which Gov. Pat Quinn and his critics are at odds. So it's going to be up to a federal judge to decide whether to install a hiring monitor to assure merit-based hiring at IDOT.

In our view, the federal court has no choice but to put a monitor in place at Transportation. Indeed, one could credibly argue that a monitor ought to oversee all hiring in state government, not just at the Transportation Department.

Why? The recent report issued by Executive Inspector General Richardo Meza revealed that illegal — repeat illegal — patronage hiring is alive and well in the Land of Lincoln. What a shock. Read the editorial in its entirety The News-Gazette.

Ebola Hotline:  800-889-3931

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) worked together to review and confirm  protocols and plans already in place to ensure the Illinois public health system is able to quickly identify a potential case of Ebola.

At this time, there have been no reports or questions in Illinois that have led to Ebola testing for suspected cases. IDPH will continue to monitor for cases. According to IDPH, at this time, Ebola does not pose a great health risk to the people of Illinois.

The director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources testified Tuesday that if state legislators do not act to set rules governing horizontal hydraulic fracturing the agency will not issue fracking permits “absent a court order to the contrary.”

The rules were on the agenda Tuesday of the 12-member Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, but the committee defered action until Nov. 6. The committee has until Nov. 15 to adopt the rules or the process of formulating fracking regulations would start over again.

Oil and gas drillers for the most part have held off on fracking in anticipation that regulations would pass. Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has not issued permits. Read the rest of the story by Julie Wernau in the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago – NRI
“…we are trying to get the base out…” Newly-released emails confirm politics part of troubled Quinn program. On Tuesday, Oct. 7, former Quinn chief of staff Jack Lavin turned over personal emails subpoenaed by the Legislative Audit Commission that tie the 2010 election and Quinn’s campaign to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

In a Sept. 5, 2010 email to Ben Nuckels, then Quinn’s campaign manager, Lavin outlined strategies to appeal to African-American voters. “If we are trying to get the base out and that’s the key to our victory, we better prioritize correctly,” Lavin wrote. “The African-American community tends to break late so we have some time. The Gov’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative will also help on the jobs and anti-violence messages.”