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Planned Illinois River shutdown poses fresh challenge for farmers
Other
Sunday, August 18, 2019  |   Article  |   The Center Square
Agriculture (2)
As if the trade war with China and the weather having the entire state declared an agricultural disaster area weren’t enough, Illinois farmers will face a new challenge next year when the Illinois River is closed for several months.

Farmers rely on the Illinois River to bring them supplies and take their goods to markets.

Kirby Wagner, assistant director of infrastructure and transportation for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said that the Army Corps of Engineers will be repairing six locks in the river from July to October.

“These locks are operating well beyond their intended life span,” he said. “So they’re operating under a delay because of the wear and tear. So this closure is necessary.”

Wagner said the Army Corps of Engineers chose July through October for the work because that period is after planting season and before harvest. The plan is to do the work during those months to minimize disruption.

“There’s going to be a shutdown,” he said. “Each lock kind of has a different time schedule, so not every lock will be shut down the entire time, but essentially the river will be closed.”

Wagner said the Farm Bureau is trying to get the word out to farmers and to encourage them to begin planning for alternative ways to transport their products – the two largest in the state being soybeans and corn – to other markets. Even though there is a certain amount of estimating, at this point, what those markets would be.

“It’s hard to get a ballpark (figure),” he said.

For example, if crops in neighboring states are not great next year, Illinois farm products might be marketed there, likely by truck. High demand from the East Coast would signal an increase in railroad transport.

“We’ll keep the farmers going, and once these locks are updated, you’re going to see commodities shipped more efficiently,” Wagner said.


Statehouse Insider: State fair political days over for another year. Happy?
State Journal Register
Sunday, August 18, 2019  |   Article  |   Doug Fink
State Fair, Fairs

* What would the state fair be without the two political parties descending on Springfield for their annual pep rallies?

 

People who go to the fair to get away from all of the political turmoil would probably like to find out. In the meantime, here’s some odds and ends from the Governor’s Day and Republican Day events.

 

* U.S. Rep. STEVE SCALISE of Louisiana, the House Minority Whip, was the keynote speaker at Republican Day events at the fair.

 

He said that once-Democratic Louisiana now has Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and will hold every statewide elected office by the end of the year.

 

In other words, the mirror opposite of Illinois.

 

“That’s how far we’ve come,” he said. “And in just a short period of time, you can do that too.”

* There’s a lot of rah-rah by both parties on the fair political days. House Republican Leader JIM DURKIN of Western Springs took things a step further.

 

Speaking to Republican county chairs before going to the fair, Durkin flat out said the “Metro East will be ours too” after the next election.

 

So that’s something concrete you can put on your calendars for next year to see if the prediction holds up.

 

 

* Signs at the Republican Day rally at the state fair had the famous hammer and sickle symbol from the Soviet Union flag along with the words “reject socialism.”

 

Oooookay. The hammer and sickle are symbols of communism, which is a different ism from socialism. But whatever works.

 

* The keynote speaker at the Democratic County Chairs’ Association brunch last week was, of course, U.S. House Speaker NANCY PELOSI. She is the highest-ranking politician to ever speak at the event.

 

During many of the other speeches leading up to Pelosi’s, people heaped praise on Pelosi and her skills leading the U.S. House, including U.S. Rep. CHERI BUSTOS, D-Moline.

 

“She is running circles around DONALD TRUMP every single day,” Bustos said. “What is awesome is that she’s doing it in heels.”

 

* “Look at all of these Democrats. Coordinated. In your seats exactly on time. It reminds me of a session day in the Illinois Senate.” Senate President JOHN CULLERTON, D-Chicago, at the Democratic brunch, making an inside joke about the notoriously unpunctual state Senate.

 

* “I make one promise right now, I will be your shortest speaker today.”

 

 

So began House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN’s comments to the Democratic gathering. He then conducted a “poll,” asking the audience if they liked the fact the state has a balanced budget, a capital plan, a contract for state workers and raised the minimum wage.

 

In conclusion, Madigan said, “I’m going to keep my promise. I’m done. Enjoy your day.”

 

Time of his appearance: approximately 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

 

* Gov. J.B. PRITZKER appointed an elder abuse task force last week to look at ways to combat abuse of seniors

 

During a ceremony to announced the task force, Department on Aging Director PAULA BASTA accidentally introduced Pritzker as a senator.

 

“Despite what Paula says, I’m not running against DICK DURBIN in 2020,” Pritzker said. “I don’t want to be a senator.”

 

Pritzker’s probably got the better job right now.

 

 

* For the second consecutive year, a press release writer for the state fair referred to the Governor’s Sale of Champions as the “marquis event” of Agriculture Day.

 

This is, of course, incorrect since no nobles are involved with the sale. The apparently elusive word being sought by the press staff is “marquee.” Or simply avoid words with tricky spellings and simply call it the crowning event of Agriculture Day.

 

* Democratic presidential candidate PETE BUTTIGIEG said last week he is opposed to the designated hitter in baseball.

 

If this presidential thing doesn’t work out, maybe he can be appointed baseball commissioner and end the madness.

 

Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr

Statehouse Insider: State fair political days over for another year. Happy?
State Journal Register
Sunday, August 18, 2019  |   Article  |   Doug Fink

* What would the state fair be without the two political parties descending on Springfield for their annual pep rallies?

People who go to the fair to get away from all of the political turmoil would probably like to find out. In the meantime, here’s some odds and ends from the Governor’s Day and Republican Day events.

* U.S. Rep. STEVE SCALISE of Louisiana, the House Minority Whip, was the keynote speaker at Republican Day events at the fair.

He said that once-Democratic Louisiana now has Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and will hold every statewide elected office by the end of the year.

In other words, the mirror opposite of Illinois.

“That’s how far we’ve come,” he said. “And in just a short period of time, you can do that too.”

* There’s a lot of rah-rah by both parties on the fair political days. House Republican Leader JIM DURKIN of Western Springs took things a step further.

Speaking to Republican county chairs before going to the fair, Durkin flat out said the “Metro East will be ours too” after the next election.

So that’s something concrete you can put on your calendars for next year to see if the prediction holds up.

* Signs at the Republican Day rally at the state fair had the famous hammer and sickle symbol from the Soviet Union flag along with the words “reject socialism.”

Oooookay. The hammer and sickle are symbols of communism, which is a different ism from socialism. But whatever works.

* The keynote speaker at the Democratic County Chairs’ Association brunch last week was, of course, U.S. House Speaker NANCY PELOSI. She is the highest-ranking politician to ever speak at the event.

During many of the other speeches leading up to Pelosi’s, people heaped praise on Pelosi and her skills leading the U.S. House, including U.S. Rep. CHERI BUSTOS, D-Moline.

“She is running circles around DONALD TRUMP every single day,” Bustos said. “What is awesome is that she’s doing it in heels.”

* “Look at all of these Democrats. Coordinated. In your seats exactly on time. It reminds me of a session day in the Illinois Senate.” Senate President JOHN CULLERTON, D-Chicago, at the Democratic brunch, making an inside joke about the notoriously unpunctual state Senate.

* “I make one promise right now, I will be your shortest speaker today.”

So began House Speaker MICHAEL MADIGAN’s comments to the Democratic gathering. He then conducted a “poll,” asking the audience if they liked the fact the state has a balanced budget, a capital plan, a contract for state workers and raised the minimum wage.

In conclusion, Madigan said, “I’m going to keep my promise. I’m done. Enjoy your day.”

Time of his appearance: approximately 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

* Gov. J.B. PRITZKER appointed an elder abuse task force last week to look at ways to combat abuse of seniors

During a ceremony to announced the task force, Department on Aging Director PAULA BASTA accidentally introduced Pritzker as a senator.

“Despite what Paula says, I’m not running against DICK DURBIN in 2020,” Pritzker said. “I don’t want to be a senator.”

Pritzker’s probably got the better job right now.

* For the second consecutive year, a press release writer for the state fair referred to the Governor’s Sale of Champions as the “marquis event” of Agriculture Day.

This is, of course, incorrect since no nobles are involved with the sale. The apparently elusive word being sought by the press staff is “marquee.” Or simply avoid words with tricky spellings and simply call it the crowning event of Agriculture Day.

* Democratic presidential candidate PETE BUTTIGIEG said last week he is opposed to the designated hitter in baseball.

If this presidential thing doesn’t work out, maybe he can be appointed baseball commissioner and end the madness.

Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.


With some blunt talk, GOP candidates take on Durbin
State Journal Register
Sunday, August 18, 2019  |   Column  |   Bernard Schoenburg
Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a)

Republicans in Springfield last week got a preview of the field of possible candidates to take on U.S. Sen. DICK DURBIN, D-Illinois, in 2020. Some of the rhetoric was not subtle.

“I need you to help me kick slick Dick to the curb,” said former Lake County Sheriff MARK CURRAN, 56, of Libertyville.

 

“Dick Durbin is not for us. He’s not for this country,” said PEGGY HUBBARD, 55, of Belleville, who is retired, served in the Navy and worked for the IRS.

 

“Dick Durbin isn’t taking care of the working man, he’s taking care of the illegal immigrants,” said Dr. TOM TARTER, 67, a cancer surgeon of Springfield.

 

“He’s done nothing for this state for the past 20 years and it’s time for him to leave,” said Dr. ROBERT MARSHALL, 76, a radiologist from Burr Ridge.

 

Durbin, 74, of Springfield, was first elected to the Senate in 1996, and is seeking his fifth six-year term. He was in the U.S. House from 1983 until early 1997, when he left for the Senate.

 

Curran was elected sheriff as a Democrat in 2006, then changed parties in 2008 and won two terms as a Republican. He told the combined meeting of the GOP state central committee and county chairs’ organization in Springfield that he changed parties because he thought Democrats were “headed for evil.”

 

“I burned every bridge, and I have been the biggest target in Lake County forever,” he said of that move. He said he lost his 2018 race for re-election by just 137 votes out of a quarter million cast. And he raised eyebrows during this talk at the fair in the way he referenced his home county.

 

“Lake County is not purple, it’s blue, folks,” Curran said. “You know, the wrong people moved in, what have you. We need to change that and we will.”

 

Curran said later that he was saying that “it was a Republican county and then Democrats moved in,” and the “wrong people” comment had nothing to do with race. “The ethnic groups haven’t changed,” he said. “We’re the same percentages.”

 

He also said Durbin is “not really a Catholic,” noting that Durbin, who is Catholic, has been denied communion in his home diocese in Springfield because he backs legal abortion.

 

Curran said he is pro-life and would only allow abortion to save the life of the mother.

 

Hubbard, a mother of six and grandmother of 18 in a blended family, got applause when she told of how she thought she was in love and became pregnant when in the Navy, but at the time couldn’t stay in the service pregnant and unwed. She said a lieutenant suggested she have an abortion, but when she was about to have the procedure, hearing the heartbeat and seeing the ultrasound of “that little being” changed her mind.

 

“They tried to hold me down and force me to have an abortion,” she claimed. “I fought with every ounce of my being.”

 

“That child is now 32 years old, served in the Navy eight years, graduated Magna Cum Laude,” and is married with two children in Green Bay, Wis., Hubbard said of daughter ASHLEY CAPPELLE.

 

She said she lost a brother to gun violence, and her husband, CHARLES HUBBARD, had to retire from St. Louis Police after being shot twice in the line of duty.

 

 

“It’s not the gun, it’s the morals of people,” she said. “Cain killed Abel with a rock.”

 

She also said she successfully fought to keep a Confederate monument in Forest Park in St. Louis.

 

“Back during the Jim Crow era, when I was a girl, that was the only place we were allowed, as blacks, to congregate and have have picnics,” she said later. “My grandmother ... told us the significance of the history of that monument.”

 

“And I tell our black community, who were against me doing this, ‘If we’re hollering about slavery and you take away the monuments, where’s your proof it ever happened?’” Hubbard said. “We need to start teaching our children our history.”

 

Hubbard said Durbin “does not stand with our president. He does not stand with the working class. He does not stand for the inner city. He does not stand for law enforcement. Guess what – Peggy’s coming.”

 

She also chided her own party members because so many officials were absent at the meeting.

 

“Peggy is going to say what she’s going to say,” she said, “and she doesn’t care how it comes out. I’m pretty much like our president in that.” Seeing the number of absences, she asked, “Are we gladiators, or are we bitches?”

Tarter, who formally announced his campaign last week, joked about being an “older white male.”

 

“We do need to be seen as the party of inclusion, and we are,” he said. “So I have decided I’m not going to change my age, race and sex just for this campaign.”

 

He said he’s the most qualified candidate on health care, and he strongly opposes a single-payor plan.

 

“When they say Medicare for all, do not believe it,” Tarter said. “It’s a lie. It’s an inferior plan.”

 

If Durbin is re-elected, he said, unions should know their health-care plans will change. He added the part about Durbin being for “illegal immigrants,” and not “the working man.”

 

Marshall is a perennial candidate who has run as a Democrat and Republican for various offices. As a Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary, he proposed splitting Illinois into three states, revising it during the campaign to call for four states. He now wants it to be two states. His card says he supports Trump “in all of his policies, including confirming pro-life judges.”

 

GREG BALES, Durbin’s campaign manager, noted Democrats, as well as Republicans, had a day at the State Fair last week.

 

“While Democrats gathered ... and highlighted their efforts to improve health care and support working families in Illinois, Republicans instead held a Trump rally to cook up insults, nicknames, and blatant lies just like their Dear Leader,” Bales said. “Illinoisans demand and deserve better than that.”

 

Contact Bernard Schoenburg: bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg.