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Rep.  Brown and others urge officials to reopen Eagle Creek
Republican legislators are putting the heat on state officials to get moving on the redevelopment of the long-vacant Eagle Creek Resort on Lake Shelbyville.

The 138-room resort and conference center has been closed since the summer of 2009 when mold was found inside its guest rooms.

Later the state awarded the resort lease to another vendor, the Ballinger family of Decatur, operating as BMDD Resorts, But BMDD abandoned the redevelopment project in March, and state officials pledged a month later to renew their work toward reopening the resort.

"The bottom line is they've done nothing since the Ballingers left," state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said Tuesday of the state Department of Natural Resources, which lease the lakefront property from the Army Corps of Engineers. "I think the director himself needs to come to the community and clear the air. But frankly I'm done dealing with DNR. I'm a member of the appropriations committee that has their budget and today I'm directing my staff to review their budget with a fine tooth comb." Read more by Tom Kacich in the News-Gazette.

Like previous retailers hurt by data breaches, Home Depot started offering free credit monitoring once it discovered that its security had been compromised. We wanted to know whether affected customers would welcome the move, so we took to Facebook and asked our followers.

Adrianne Clark, from Reedsburg, Wis., had been through data breaches before. “I signed up for Target's, last year, and seeing as that will be up soon, it would be beneficial to sign up for Home Depot's,” she wrote.

Other commenters were relying on their own vigilance to keep them safe—and, for the record, they weren’t impressed by Home Depot’s efforts. Joseph Gillis, Jr., who lives in Bridgewater, Mass., wrote: “No, have not signed up for specific credit monitoring. But, I do actively watch all transactions on my cards. By the way, offering credit monitoring is rather lame; shouldn't the penalty be much more severe for Home Depot and Target?” Read more at Consumer Reports.
In what could be a major development in the bitter race for governor, a federal prosecutor has cleared the way for state lawmakers to resume hearings on Gov. Pat Quinn's controversial Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, and Republicans are immediately pressing to do so. In a phone interview, Sharon Paul, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois...

Read the entire story by Greg Hinz in Crain's Chicago Business.
In the wake of the latest possible data breaches, the Better Business Bureau offers the following suggestion for consumers concerned that their credit or debit cards may have been compromised by a retail or online data breach.

  • Stay calm. Consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges on stolen account numbers.
  • Check with the website of the retailer for the latest information. Type the store name directly into your browser. Do NOT click on a link from an email or social media message. 
Economy – food stamps
Count of new Illinois food stamp recipients exceeds count of new jobs created in Illinois. Throughout the United States, both food stamp application numbers and new job creation numbers are carefully tracked, and their ratio yields a picture of the overall economic activity of each state. Data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in Illinois, starting from the base year of 2010, food-stamp enrollment has outpaced job creation by a rate of two to one; for every new job created during this four-year period, two Illinoisans have been forced to demonstrate eligibility and apply for food stamps. This four-year period coincides with the period designated by nationwide economists as the “economic recovery” from the so-called Great Recession.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has asked the Chairwoman of the Illinois House’ Elementary & Secondary Education Committee to reschedule an ill-timed hearing into the feasibility of the State Board of Education taking over the functions of the Illinois High School Athletics Association (IHSA).

The Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, chaired by Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) has scheduled a meeting for 4:00 PM this Friday at a Chicago south-side high school to gather testimony on the issue.

“This is a blatant example of political shenanigans at its finest,” said Wheeler. Read more here.
Legislation recently introduced by State Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) will ensure that state retirees receive a full refund for any contributions made to their health insurance premium.  Poe’s legislation stems from an Illinois Supreme Court decision that found state-subsidized retiree health insurance premiums are a protected benefit under the Illinois Constitution.  A law enacted in 2012 began the practice of requiring current retirees to make health insurance premium contributions.  Read more.