Food as a Value; Food as Medicine

 

Community Word has written about the wheat at Janie’s Farm Organics and how different it is from other commercially available wheat.

Now that the Mill at Janie’s Farm Organics is up and operating, distribution is expanding and this month Naturally Yours at Metro Centre in Peoria began carrying the flour — just in time for holiday cooking.

Local, sustainable, organic food is a value that strengthens the local economy
and adds an array of nutrients to your diet.

NAACP and AFSCME challenge Peoria city budget

BY CLARE HOWARD

Approval of a city budget with elimination of more than three dozen union positions and implementation of a special fee on top of property-taxes triggered scrutiny by officials with AFSCME who reported they found an undisclosed $30 million fund.

“It was behind a firewall,” said Sherry Carter-Allen, retired president of Local 3464 at AFSCME Council 31.

She triggered a discussion at the Peoria NAACP meeting Thursday evening.

The fund, referred to as OPEB, the Other Past Employment Benefit Fund, was not adequately discussed at city council meetings, she said. Carter-Allen said there was a $17 million transfer from the OPEB fund into the general fund as well as other transfers.

Patrick Urich, Peoria city manager, disputes the contention that the fund is not publicly disclosed and said the city is required to carry it as a line item in the budget. He referred inquiries to the city web page www.peoriagov.org and quick links to revised city budget dated 10-23-18, page 17.

“We are not hiding anything. It’s in the budget,” he said, explaining taxes allocated to the fund show an obligation of the city to past employees.

The city has a self-insured health plan and other liabilities for past employees that must be carried on the books. There is not $30 million in the fund. Transfers from OPEB to other line items must be repaid to the OPEB fund over time, Urich said.

The Peoria City Council voted at its meeting Tuesday evening to eliminate 22 firefighter positions and 16 police positions as part of its efforts to shore up a $6 million shortfall in the budget.

Voting no on the police and fire cuts were Beth Jensen, Jim Montelongo and Chuck Grayeb.

In addition, the council voted to impose a fee on top of regular property taxes. Voting no were Beth Jensen and Zach Oyler.

“Those cuts have a direct impact on the safety of our community,” said Marvin Hightower, president of Peoria NAACP.

“My question is why hasn’t this (OPEB) fund been adequately reported and discussed.”

Future plans call for closing two fire stations and building one new station in a centralized location, but response times could double for some locations on the South Side, said Hightower.

Following a lengthy discussion, the NAACP announced it would hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday Nov. 19 at NAACP offices, 101 N. MacArthur Highway, to discuss the city budget and the OPEB fund.

 

Peoria Journal Star: ethical conflict?

Opinion & Analysis

The Peoria Journal Star, under the editorial management of Dennis Anderson, published an editorial Oct. 21 endorsing Gov. Bruce Rauner. The editorial concluded Rauner is a much better choice for governor than his opponent JB Pritzker, and the editorial cited Pritzker’s level of “corruption” for the method he used seeking to lower his property taxes.

Problem is the editorial has its own seeming ethical violation. Anderson’s son, Eric Anderson, works for the Rauner campaign. However, the editorial endorsement published under the father’s supervision makes no public disclosure of this conflict of interest.

Both the Rauner and Pritzker campaigns did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Anderson said he informed the Journal Star’s publisher and has been open in the newsroom with other editors about his son’s employment with the Rauner campaign, and there was no concern with Anderson’s role on the editorial board of the paper and with the editorial endorsement of Rauner.

Anderson said his son is 26 and has his own career.

He said he also discussed the situation with members of the AP Media Editors board and there was no concern and no indication a disclosure statement should have been included with the editorial.

Further, Anderson said, the Journal Star endorsed Rauner four years ago and this editorial serves to back up that previous endorsement.

The editorial also chided Rauner for his lack of transparency in the investigation into the Veterans’ Hospital in Quincy.

Yet the Journal Star editorial had its own lack of transparency by failing to publish a statement explaining the relationship between Anderson’s role regarding the editorial and his son’s role in the Rauner campaign.

Journalism is a profession that demands disclosure and accountability from others, but failing to follow the same standards ourselves hurts us all.

A retired editor from a large Central Illinois daily newspaper called the conflict  “disingenuous at best . . . and this coming from an industry that constantly preaches transparency and full disclosure but operates under a separate set of guidelines when it applies to newspapers. No wonder readers don’t trust us. Anderson should have stayed clear of it or at the very least had a disclosure of his family connection to Rauner.”

(Clare Howard)

 

 

 

 

Vote your power!

Helen King, left, with the Peoria NAACP, reviews voting at the Peoria County Election Commission with first-time voter Nae’Kirah Linwood before Linwood enters a voting booth.

King and teacher Holly Nelson instruct students in the options class about the process and responsibility of voting. Five Manual students were first-time voters Tuesday at the Election Commission, 4422 N. Brandywine Drive.

After she cast her ballot, Linwood, 18 and a senior at Manual Academy, said it was a good experience. Others in her family have already voted, and she plans to make voting a lifetime responsibility.

Early voting continues at the Election Commission office through Nov. 4.

Two-person voter registration juggernaut

BY CLARE HOWARD

Don’t even think of telling Jackie Petty or Helen King you’re not going to vote.

Maybe you think you don’t have time or you feel it’s hopeless or that one vote won’t make a difference.

This duo will seek you out and convince you otherwise.

King, 67, is known to approach young people congregating in convenience stores, and she’ll pop the question “Are you registered to vote?”

The two have pursued this mission for more than 20 years. They are both members of the Peoria NAACP, and they set up tables at naturalization ceremonies, outside grocery stores and at community events..

Just sworn in as an American citizen? You won’t get out of the door without being told you now have the right and responsibility to vote.

“We’ve been doing this for so long, it’s in our blood,” said Petty, 76.

She tells people, “Voting is your power. If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Statistically, voting increases with wealth. Richer people vote more, and they vote their interest. That reinforces economic inequality and biased public policy that favors the rich and reinforces disadvantage for the poor. A government run by the wealthy is a plutocracy, not a democracy that represents all people equally.

“We focused on the older population in the past, but recently I’ve noticed that younger people don’t understand that democracy requires that people vote. Some of that is because civics was dropped as part of the school curriculum,” Petty said.

She recalls when she was at Peoria High School, one requirement for graduation was attending either a school board meeting, a park district board meeting or a city council meeting.

“I got hooked,” she said.

See these two in action! Watch their video:

NAACP: Vote for Equality

NAACP shares perspectives on why voting is essential for our community and our democracy. VOTE!

Posted by Community Word on Friday, October 19, 2018

“There is active voter suppression going on in other states. We are fortunate in Illinois with early voting and easy access to polling places,” she said.

Tom Bride, executive director of Peoria County Election Commission, said Petty and King “are always working. Constantly. They do a wonderful job.”

While residents of other states and people living on Indian reservations are dealing with active voter suppression, Illinois has expanded access.

People currently in prison in Illinois can’t vote, but everyone released from prison, even those with a felony conviction on their records, can vote.

Bride said we have online voter registration, election day registration, early voting and vote by mail/absentee voting with no excuse required. All eligible voters can vote by mail.

That convenience has paid off. Bride said by mid-October, there were 9,200 voters in Peoria County who requested ballots for voting by mail, and 52.5 percent had already returned them. By comparison, at that point in the presidential election of 2016, he had only 7,600 requests for voting by mail.

“In Illinois, we’re very fortunate,” he said.

His offices moved from the former police station at 542 SW Adams St. to 4422 Brandywine Drive. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, access the web site at: www.peoriaelections.org.

 

Peoria NAACP Branch holds 56th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet Oct. 27    Defeat Hate……VOTE

The Peoria NAACP branch will be hosting its 56th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Paradice Hotel & Conference Center, in East Peoria. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. The theme for this year’s event is “Defeat Hate……VOTE. The banquets keynote speaker is Jeff Johnson.  A meet and greet reception will follow immediately after.

Jeff Johnson is an award-winning investigative journalist, social activist, political commentator and author who has established himself as an authentic voice for change and a trailblazing social entrepreneur.

He has spent the last decade merging the worlds of politics and popular culture, working as senior advisor for media and youth outreach for People for the American Way, as National Director of the Youth & College Division of the NAACP, and as the Vice President of Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit Action Network.He is the Creator, Host and Executive Producer of MANCAVE, a late-night talk show targeting urban men that aired on BET.

The following commemorative awards will be presented to four outstanding community leaders; The Harry Sephus Trailblazer Award, The John Gywnn Courage Award, The Don Jackson Game Award, and the Sam & Jean Polk Humanitarian Award.

Garry Moore will be the MC for the evening and musical entertainment will be provided by Josiah Williams and Shaleese Pie.

The NAACP is the nations oldest, largest and most recognized civil rights organization, with over a half-million members. The vision of the NAACP continues to be to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.

For ticket information, please co go www.peorianaacp.comor call 309 648-3445.

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Jeff Johnson & Pastor Marvin Hightower, will hold a 5 p.m. press conference in the lobby of the Paradice Hotel & Convention Center.

Staffing for a Blue Wave

Donna Crowder is expecting a blue wave.
She is staffing the Democratic headquarters in Campustown leading up to the elections Nov. 6.
Waves have flipped Congress in 1994, 2006 and 2010. The president’s approval rating is in the low 40s, and midterm elections have been known to dole out a “shellacking.”
Crowder expects a blue wave to take back Democratic seats locally and nationally. Critical to success, she said, is getting people registered and voting.
She remembers walking into voting booths as a child with her grandfather who was a precinct captain in Chicago. She was reared in a household that stressed voting.
“Not voting harms us all,” she said.
She understandings working families with several part-time jobs and little time.
“I was a single mom with two part-time jobs,” she said. “Not voting could mean after-school programming could be cut, or preschools could be cut.”
She cited these issues that should drive people to the voting booth: early childhood education, a progressive income tax, GED programming, unions, SNAP (food stamps), mass incarceration, justice reform, reentry programs, job training, mental health programming, homelessness, expungement programs, health care and Medicaid.
“People can only do what they know. The more we know, the more we understand change is needed,” Crowder said.

Dozens Voice Concern at Hearing about Edwards Coal Plant

From the Sierra Club:

PEKIN, IL — Wednesday night, dozens of local residents and pollution experts voiced concern at a public hearing held by Governor Rauner’s Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) regarding an operating permit for Dynegy-Vistra’s E.D. Edwards coal-fired power plant near Bartonville. The IEPA issued an initial draft “Title V” Operating Permit for E.D. Edwards in 2005. However, the permit was then “stayed” and has not become effective due to the State’s administrative review process; in other words, since 1990 the Edwards coal plant has never received a finalized Title V operating permit as required under the Federal Clean Air Act.

“The Federal Court found that this plant has violated the Clean Air Act thousands of times. After that ruling we’ve seen what appear to be thousands of more violations. . We need a strong Title V permit, that includes a plan on how the company will bring the plant back in compliance with the law, in order to hold Dynegy-Vistra accountable for this pollution.” said Faith Bugel a lawyer for the Sierra Club.

See chart outlining violations >>>
Photo of E.D. Edwards plant >>>

“I testified to make sure that the IEPA really regulates with residents like me in mind, not just the interests of big coal companies. The people have made themselves clear. It’s time for the IEPA and Dynegy-Vistra to listen up. E.D. Edwards must follow the rules.” said Nancy Long a local resident and Sierra Club member.

In 2013 public health and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit for thousands of violations of the Clean Air Act at the E.D. Edwards plant between 2008 and 2013. In 2016, a Federal judge ruled that indeed the plant had violated the Clean Air Act thousands of times. Since then the plant has continued to exceed pollution limits thousands of times from 2014 forward. These violations resulted in pollution levels unsafe for human health. Instead of holding past and present owners of the plant accountable under Federal and Illinois law, the IEPA and the Pollution Control Board (PCB) granted these corporations, who lacked lawful operating permits, pollution bailouts in 2012 and 2013. IEPA proposed yet another bailout in a 2017 rule that is currently under review at the PCB with a decision possible in early October.

The IEPA is accepting public comments on the permit until Oct. 19. You can either email epa.publichearing.com@illinois.gov or send a letter to 1021 N. Grand Avenue East PO Box 19276, Springfield, IL 62794.

To find out more about the permit visit http://www.epa.illinois.gov/

The costs of CAFOs

Read Dale Goodner’s comments about CAFOs in the October issue of Community Word, slated for distribution Sept. 26.
CAFOs are combined animal feeding operations. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculates the hidden cost of CAFOs is in the billions of dollars each year.
There are nearly 20,000 CAFOs in the United States and an estimated 300 in Illinois. Goodner retired after decades with the Peoria Park District and moved to Algoma, Wis. He writes that he and his wife Mary cannot sit outside their home some evenings when the air is acrid with the waste from nearby CAFOs.
According to an article in Investigate Midwest, the number of CAFOs in Wisconsin grew from 233 in 2011 to 315 in 2017. Illinois saw a decrease from 500 to about 300 during the same period. Iowa, however, saw explosive growth from 1,648 to 3,588 during that period.
Goodner wrote:
I took these photos earlier this month. I’m concerned about the impacts of CAFOs on water quality. This stream used to be clear.
Just look what’s happened to those CAFOs in North Carolina as hurricane Florence inundated the area. What a horrific mess for tax payers to be stuck with. Socialized costs.
People need to understand this nonsense about factory farms is just that… nonsense. We need a total reorganization of agriculture. If just tax support were redirected to small operations, we’d see those industrial CAFO’s quickly go out of business. They are dependent on tax subsidies. It’s a weird kind of socialism… privatize revenues, socialize costs. As ridiculous as it is unsustainable.

Peoria’s Labor Day Parade

Peoria’s Labor Day Parade started with sirens and horns and progressed down Main Street lined with children and cheering supporters. An annual parade favorite is Ironworkers Local 112 with a member climbing up and down a towering steel beam.
Members of Peoria Federation of Teachers drew applause and cheers following two years of tense teacher strikes in West Virginia and around the country.
Despite hostility from the current administration and the Supreme Court, unions are making a comeback and garnering more public support.
Statewide candidates marching in the Peoria parade included gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker, his running mate Julianna Stratton and attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul.
On the national level, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka warned President Donald Trump that NAFTA negotiations should include both Mexico and Canada.