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Many rural Midwest towns have become like my stereotype of Appalachia - main streets of mostly empty storefronts; lots of unskilled folks left behind, yearning for jobs "on the line" that are gone forever; too many single mothers struggling to make it on low-wage work, or welfare, lacking th…

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Gov. JB Pritzker signed the $45 billion infrastructure bill into law last week during a three-day fly-around to several Illinois cities.

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When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent res…

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"We are so proud of what we've been able to accomplish this first legislative session of ours," Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton told a TV interviewer earlier this month. "We said that we wanted to think big for the people of Illinois, we said that we wanted to get Springfield back on the track of …

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Back when this state was fairly well-run - meaning, before Illinois voters elected three anti-Springfield "populist" governors in a row - the general rule of thumb was that for every two dollars appropriated to K-12 education, higher education received one dollar.

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With my first legislative session in the General Assembly in the books, now is a good time to take a look back at what occurred, particularly in the final week of session.

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The governor and his top staff showed again last week that they can make things happen under the Statehouse dome.

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As the old saying goes, sometimes history has a way of repeating itself and after the May 20 Massac Unit One board meeting, it would certainly appear the board finds itself in the same situation it was about 20 years ago when it faced problems with aging buildings.

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The agricultural industry provides a variety of opportunities to professionals interested in this often misunderstood field.

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As the spring legislative session nears its end, I want to take a moment to look back on one of the scariest times of the year with the hope that one of you might recognize something and help bring a deranged person to justice.

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If you listen closely to what Democratic state Reps. Sam Yingling and Jonathan Carroll are saying in public about their opposition to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal, they appear to believe that Pritzker's proposed tax rates aren't high enough.

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The Chicago Police Department reported last week that the number of people murdered in the city fell ten percent during the first four months of 2019 compared to last year during the same period.

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There's probably never a good time for a news story about how a source claims you, your wife and your brother-in-law are under federal investigation. But when that report is aired just days before what is likely the most consequential five weeks of your entire governorship, that's definitely…

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Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) spent more than a year holding hearings and overseeing negotiations which eventually produced SB1829, a massive omnibus bill on sexual harassment.

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Freshman Rep. Terra Costa Howard (D-Glen Ellyn) was reportedly none too pleased when Think Big Illinois began running TV ads in her district.

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We were quite surprised to see the press release sent to area media outlets last week regarding the new duties of Shawnee Community College (SCC) President Dr. Peggy Bradford effective June 15. The joint statement from her and the Board of Trustees stated the resignation was her idea and she…

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Things change in this old world — that’s just a given.  The print journalism industry has taken some knocks and changed a lot over the past 10 to 15 years.  I don’t think newspapers suffered right when the Internet became “a thing.”  But definitely after the introduction of Facebook and Twit…

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We were quite surprised to see the press release sent to area media outlets last week regarding the new duties of Shawnee Community College (SCC) President Dr. Peggy Bradford effective June 15. The joint statement from her and the Board of Trustees stated the resignation was her idea and she…

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Things change in this old world -- that's just a given. The print journalism industry has taken some knocks and changed a lot over the past 10 to 15 years. I don't think newspapers suffered right when the Internet became "a thing." But definitely after the introduction of Facebook and Twitte…

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Are things getting worse, or better? That question bedevils me of late. I say worse, though I will note below that other respected sources say better.

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Now that the Ohio River levels are hopefully continuing to drop and the worst of the flooding appears to be over, local officials can take stock in the things that went well and things that did not go so well and plan for the next time.

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Both Illinois State Senator Dale Fowler and Illinois State Representative Patrick Windhorst voted against Senate Bill 1 due to the effects it could have on small business owners and

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Both Illinois State Senator Dale Fowler and Illinois State Representative Patrick Windhorst voted against Senate Bill 1 due to the effects it could have on small business owners and

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Based on what I hear from atop my perch in rural central Illinois, I worry that my farmer friends may become but serfs to Big Agriculture. That is, farmers provide the labor, soils and risk in service to a very few global chemical and other ag companies. The farmers must buy their inputs fro…

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We’ve known for weeks now that the FBI recorded Chicago Alderman Ed Burke’s mobile phone conversations over a period of eight months, listening in on 9475 calls. And then we discovered that the feds had wired up Chicago Alderman Danny Solis during his own conversations with Burke.

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Twenty-nineteen is the golden anniversary of the last Illinois Constitutional Convention, in 1969. This year also notes the half-century mark in elected office for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, whose served as a delegate to the convention.

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This past week, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) proposed doubling 2019-20 state school funding, from $8 billion to almost $16 billion, the equivalent of raising the individual income tax rate from 5 to 7 percent. Should the money be available, which it won’t be, the challenge wo…

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Here is a column from 1997 that falls into the “what goes around” category.  It is about Rae Oliver Davis, who is making the news now due to being named inspector general of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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I hate to play the skeleton at the feast, because Gov.-elect J. B. Pritzker has an apparently strong desire to do more and better for the state of Illinois. Yet, he must face the harsh realities of having inherited a fiscal system that is broke, deep in debt and bankrupt in the sense that Il…

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We’ve seen a big push over the past few weeks for an Arizona-style pension “fix” here. That state’s voters have twice approved constitutional amendments to limit future benefits for public employees — once in 2016 and then again last month.

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Gov.-elect J. B. Pritzker has begun the typical minuet of transition to office in January, creating committees to look, respectively, at how he can improve education, infrastructure, social services, what-have-you.

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I had the pleasure of meeting several Democratic women candidates from Lake County during the Illinois State Fair last summer. Sen. Melinda Bush was showing them around town and brought them to a reception I was attending. We chatted for a while before they went on their merry way.

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Over the past several weeks, we have had different questions arise about our policies here at the Metropolis Planet. Some of these are printed each week in the newspaper, while others are not. We hope this editorial will help our readers understand our procedures better.

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When NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope into deep space in 1990, the New York Times magazine published a story with the headline that went something like, “Looking back to look forward.” The reference, of course, had to do with the scope’s ability to “see” light long before it reached …

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How many times have you heard: “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” When I’ve taken photos on the scene of a fire, I’ve often wondered if I have what it takes to be a firefighter. On Nov. 3, I was fortunate enough to be able to walk about six hours in the boots and gear of a f…

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As a result of the election Tuesday, Democrats are totally—I mean totally—in charge of Illinois government. Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker won a resounding victory and his party achieved more than  three-fifths majorities in both the House and Senate. And the Illinois Supreme Court continues t…

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The media often receives a bad rap. Some people may think there is too much negative news and not enough positive, while others might feel there is too much “fluff,” and not enough hard news.

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In 2000, a national group that knows about such things declared Illinois to have the best higher education offerings among the states for quality and affordability. Today, in contrast, nearly half all Illinois high school grads headed to college flee to institutions out of state. This can be…