Dale Goodner objects to North Dakota National Guard participation against protesters at Standing Rock pipeline site

Dale Goodner, a veteran of the Wisconsin National Guard and retired from the Peoria Park District where he was chief naturalist and supervisor of environmental and interpretive services, now lives in Wisconsin. He sent this letter to the North Dakota National Guard and shared it with Community Word:

To North Dakota National Guard:

As a Wisconsin National Guard Veteran, I’m very concerned. The North Dakota National Guard is alleged to have fired rubber bullets and water cannons at the people at Standing Rock. It’s November! But even if it were warm mid summer, this reaction would be indefensible. We were always instructed to use minimum force to calm the situation… this is in violation of a fundamental principle of service to the people.

Frankly, if this action is true… I’m embarrassed, frustrated, and angered at this behavior. We are the Good Guys!! Our mission is NOT to serve corporate power. We serve the people!

These folks have a right and a responsibility to make their feelings known… to protest peacefully. Please have your soldiers review the Guard’s proud history and current mission… and reevaluate your important role in this conflict.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dale Goodner

Algoma, Wisconsin

Goodner told Community Word a spokesperson for the North Dakota National Guard responded and assured him its role has been solely as backup to the police. Goodner said he’s relieved, but if it gets out of hand and the people at Standing Rock are being injured, disrespected or mistreated, then any intervention should be on behalf of the protesters, protecting them and their civil rights. The National Guard, he said, needs to be a source of national pride.

Editors Note: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will close the site of the pipeline protest. Following Dec. 5, anyone at the site will be prosecuted. In a letter to the tribe, John W. Henderson, a district commander with the Corps, wrote:

“I am closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective Dec. 5, 2016.

“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, released a statement saying that the tribe is deeply disappointed by the move but it has not changed its resolve to prevent the pipeline from being built north of reservation lands.

“It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe. Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people. We have suffered much, but we still have hope that the President will act on his commitment to close the chapter of broken promises to our people and especially our children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New EPA Pick: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals a “Myth”

Myron Ebell, who has been named as part of the transition team by president-elect Donald Trump for the Environmental Protection Agency, is a hardened climate change skeptic likely to relax regulations on farm chemical use and drift, roll back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and give the green light to more coal and logging.

His organization has called endocrine disrupting chemicals, widely believed to be linked to cancer, infertility, Parkinson’s and a host of other ailments, simply a “myth conjured up by anti-chemical activists.” His organization has also disputed the scientifically established link between neonicotinoids and bee health.

For a sobering assessment see Tom Philpott’s article in Mother Jones:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/11/trump-epa-pesticides

For past articles on endocrine disrupting chemicals in Community Word, go to our website at www.TheCommunityWord.com. And be sure to read the OpEd in our upcoming December issue: “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Far More Costly to U.S. Than $340 Billion,” by Dr. Paul Winchester.

League of Women Voters Opposed Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenders; Discusses Sentencing Guidelines

PEORIA, IL – A meeting hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria will discuss changes in sentencing guidelines, at 6 pm on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) auditorium, 1718 N Sterling, Peoria 61604.

Peoria County States’ Attorney Jerry Brady will present information about many facets of the efforts to change sentencing guidelines.  They include:

  • Initiatives currently under consideration from: The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform; The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council; and House Bill 6595 which would change penalties for drug crimes (sponsored by Rep. Barbra Flynn Currie.)
  • The way sentencing changes become law in Illinois and get implemented.
  • Who benefits from changes to sentencing guidelines, and whether changes will affect public safety.
  • The biggest existing sentencing problems that should be studied or changed.
  • How prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement, county detention, and the courts will respond to changes.
  • The possibility that sentencing changes may:
    •  put more offenders in county jails, in lieu of prison because of shorter sentences which could be considered a cost shift from the state to a county.
    • require more parole officers, and whether the state would pay for this extra work.

 

The position of League of Women Voters of the US on sentencing policies is that  alternatives to imprisonment should be explored and utilized, taking into consideration the circumstances and nature of the crime. The LWVUS opposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.

 

The event is free and open to the public. Press coverage is welcome.

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League of Women Voters: Discussion about who really elects the president

 

For more information:
Cheryl Budzinski 309/253-9594; c_budzinski@hotmail.com
Greater Peoria League of Women Voters event,
Who Really Elects the President?
The League of Women Voters Drinks & Dialogue October 19th meeting will discuss who
really elects the President.
League members and the public are invited to participate in the dialogue on Wednesday, October 19, from 5:30-6:30 at the Lariat Club, 2232 West Glen. League Member, Jan Deissler, will facilitate the dialogue.
In this unusual election cycle citizens are concerned about the process. Allen Mayer, member
Peoria County Board, will be the presenter. Issues to be considered are:
The presidential candidate who gets the most votes doesn’t necessarily win.
Several steps occur between the November 8 Election and Inauguration Day in January.
What are those steps?
Does the US Supreme Court really have a part in the presidential election?
Drinks & Dialogue meetings present an opportunity to share opinions and ideas, ask questions and become more aware of local, state and national issues and the options for making change.
There is no cost to participate. Refreshments are available to purchase.
The Drinks and Dialogue meeting is offered monthly on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, for one hour, starting at 5:30 p.m. and ending promptly at 6:30 p.m., at the Lariat Club, with local, state and national topics relating to approved LWV positions.
The public is invited to attend the Drinks and Dialogue meetings and join the LWV in “Making Democracy Work!”

Heidelberg case moves forward

 

 

heidelberg10_5

Cleve Heidelberg, far left, addresses Judge Albert Perham Jr. as his attorneys, from left, Andy Hale and Don Jackson listen while their client tells the judge he is competent to serve as his own attorney in one motion.  Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, right, has repeatedly argued there is insufficient evidence to support the case be reviewed by an independent special prosecutor.

BY CLARE HOWARD

There were moments of eloquence and moments of compassion in the courtroom of Peoria County Circuit Judge Albert Purham Jr. Wednesday during a hearing on the conviction 46 years ago of Cleve Heidelberg for the 1970 murder of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Espinoza.

There were also periods of frustration and conflict in the courtroom.

Members of both the Heidelberg and Espinoza families were present.

In the end, Judge Purham said there were sufficient issues of concern with the original conviction that he moved forward with appointment of an independent special prosecutor from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, Steve Nate, to review the case.

A status hearing was set for Dec. 1.

In moving forward, Purham denied a request by Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady that the appointment be held while the decision was appealed.

The Heidelberg case was divided into two segments. In one motion, seeking post conviction relief and his immediate release, Heidelberg held fast to his insistence on serving as his own attorney. A hearing was set for Nov. 16 on that issue.

In the appointment of a special prosecutor, Heidelberg will continue to be represented by attorneys Andy Hale and Don Jackson.

Heidelberg assured the judge that while he has been damaged by his nearly half century of incarceration for a crime he insists he did not commit, he has no serious mental diseases or mental impairment that would prevent him from serving as his own counsel.

He objected to allowing the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s office to appointment a special prosecutor, saying “they put a friend in as special prosecutor, and he takes months of preparation . . . delay, delay, delay. I go back to the penitentiary and get irons on me and am incarcerated one more day, one more month, one more year, two years . . . .”

Heidelberg said he’s been in prison for 46 years, four months and nine days for a crime he did not commit.

Larry Evans, assistant state’s attorney, objected saying “We are all here today because he killed a police officer” and over the course of the past 46 years, every case review sought by Heidelberg has been turned down by numerous courts.

At one point, Hale said, “I don’t know what the state’s attorney is afraid of. This is a search for the truth.”

The decision to review this case again is based on what Hale and Jackson contend is new evidence showing FBI fingerprints were never submitted to the court, eye witnesses were coached, Heidelberg’s constitutional rights were violated and key witnesses were not allowed to testify. A confession to the murder by another man was never submitted to the court.

Hale said, “Every hour and every day of delay is significant to him (Heidelberg). Let’s get the truth out.”

Evans countered that justice has been served; a man who murdered a police officer 46 years ago in cold blood has been incarcerated for life.

In deciding to move forward with an independent special prosecutor from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, Purham said there must be a remedy when there is doubt justice has been served.

“I want a neutral body to tell me if Cleve Heidelberg’s right to a fair trial was violated,” Purham said. “I believe the Espinoza family deserves justice too.”

Recognizing Heidelberg’s age of 73 and his diagnosis of congestive heart failure, the judge added “not posthumous justice.”

 

Donations needed for unmarked Ingersoll grave

 

 

The father of one of the most famous Americans of the 19th century lies in an unmarked grave in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, IL. A group of admirers of his son, Robert Green Ingersoll, is raising money to place a monument on his burial place.

A marker for the grave of Rev. John Ingersoll, a Presbyterian minister who lived and worked in Peoria, would cost about $1,000. The admirers of Robert Ingersoll resolved to raise funds for a monument when they met recently in Peoria for dinner and to re-dedicate the refurbished statue of Ingersoll.

The Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation has established a tax deductible fund for the monument. Checks can be sent to SHPF Rev. Ingersoll Monument Fund, PO Box 5511, Peoria, IL 61601. Or you can use the Springdale website for credit card donations: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/springdale

For more information: Ken Hofbauer 309-635-3590; khofbauer@comcast.net

Or another credit card site is the website https://ffrf.org/get-involved/donate/ . Where it asks “Is this donation for a special project?” click the drop-down arrow and select the fifth line “John Ingersoll headstone.” This is also a tax deductible donation.

Questions or comments can be emailed to john.ingersoll.marker@gmail.com

 

Central Illinois Health Community Alliance- Press Event

The Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance held a press event at the office of the Peoria Chapter of the NAACP to discuss the favorable court ruling against Dynegy who owns and operates the Edwards Coal Plant by Bartonville, IL.  A joint lawsuit had been filed by several environmental groups about three years ago in response to what they believed were violations of the Clean Air Act with opacity pollution– or particulates being put into the air.

This is a link to the full press event:

https://www.facebook.com/CentralIllinoisHealthyCommunityAlliance/

cihca-press-event-9-25-16

Attorneys, judge, surprised by Heidelberg’s request

 

clevehearing2_bw

Cleve Heidelberg, left, and his attorneys Andy Hale, center, and Don Jackson in Peoria County Circuit Court Sept. 22. 

 

By Clare Howard

In a highly unusual and risky move, Cleve Heidelberg tried to dismiss his attorneys and represent himself Thursday in a hearing before Peoria County Circuit Judge Albert Purham Jr.

Heidelberg, 73, has been in prison for the past 46 years, having been found guilty in 1970 for the shooting death of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Espinoza.

On Thursday, Purham set another hearing for Oct. 5, telling Heidelberg he has two weeks to discuss his decision with his attorneys, Andrew Hale and Don Jackson. Purham warned Heidelberg that if his decision to represent himself remains unchanged, he should be prepared to start arguments immediately at that time.

“I have been ready these past 46 years,” Heidelberg told the judge.

The judge called a recess Thursday to allow Hale and Jackson to discuss Heidelberg’s request with him.

Hale told the judge he loves Heidelberg too much to “let this train crash. The stakes are too high.”

After numerous appeals were rejected over the past 46 years, Purham’s decision in July to appoint a special prosecutor to the case was the closest Heidelberg has ever gotten to having his original conviction reexamined and possibly vacated. In court Thursday, Heidelberg said he is not prepared to endure more years in prison while a special prosecutor works on the case. He seemed prepared Thursday to waive appointment of a special prosecutor and represent himself seeking immediate release.

Hale asked the judge if Heidelberg’s sister, Mae Winston, 77, could talk briefly with her brother. She was in the courtroom. She is in poor health, has not been able to travel and has not seen her brother for more than a decade.

The judge cleared the courtroom and allowed 15 minutes for that meeting.

Afterward, Hale said it was an emotional meeting with a lot of tears.

“This has been a very difficult 45 years for Mr. Heidelberg. He’s 73 and in poor health. He’s frustrated, anxious and impatient,” Hale said. “I understand where he’s coming from.”

Also in court Thursday were Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, assistant state’s attorney Larry Evans, attorney Steve Nate from the Illinois Attorney General’s office and Matt Jones, special prosecutor for the appellate court.

The hearing Thursday was dealing with two issues, the judge’s motion to appoint a special prosecutor from the attorney general’s office and Heidelberg’s motion for immediate release, contending sufficient evidence has already been submitted to the court to prove his innocence and prove the original investigation in 1970 was seriously flawed.

The Peoria County state’s attorney filed an appeal to stay enforcement of a special prosecutor, contending the judge had exceeded his authority. State’s Attorney Jerry Brady had rejected a petition earlier this year from Hale and Jackson asking that the state’s attorney appoint a special prosecutor.

Hale and Jackson both expressed frustration with the way the Peoria County state’s attorney has handled the case.

“This is more confusing than it should be,” Jackson said. All we want is to “get a fair set of eyes to review this case and so far we’ve just had a flow of paperwork.”

Hale told the judge the state’s attorney has made a conscious choice to delay the case.

“In my opinion, this is gamesmanship,” Hale said, noting Heidelberg’s age and diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

Community Word was unable to immediately reach Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady for comment.

 

 

 

 

Washington Historical Society hosting special events in October

For more information contact:

Washington Historical Society

101 & 105 Zinser Place

Washington, IL 61571

(just north of the square)

309-635-3016 or 309-444-4793

www.washington-historical-society.org

 

  • Friday Night Oct. 14, encampment on Washington Square 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. camp set up and story telling by the Fort Creve Coeur 1776 Venture Crew
  • Saturday Oct. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Washington Square also presented by Fort Creve Coeur 1776 Venture Crew; activities include: monkey bridge, rope making, candle making, spoon making, leather work, hide tanning, blacksmithing and pictures taken.
  • Monday, Oct. 24 “An Evening with Tim Pletkovich” 7 p.m. Washington Presbyterian Church. Come hear a presentation by Tim Pletkovich, author of “Sons of the Civil War in WWII.”
  • Saturdays Washington Historical Society has opened the Dement-Zinser and Dr.’s Museum for public tours. Saturday’s 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Private tours are also available by calling 309-444-4793. Take a step back into Washington’s history!