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home : insight & opinion : guest columns February 06, 2016


1's and 0's lack the 'whiff of history'
Knowledge is not what it used to be, and the change isn't all good. 
Friday, February 05, 2016

College needs community's support
This is a reflection back on what my 35 years at Lincoln Trail College has meant to me, and what LTC should mean to you.

For those of you who may not know me, for the last 35 years I have been employed by Illinois Eastern Community Colleges and in particular LTC. I was hired in 1981, as a full-time instructor and the women's basketball and softball coach

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Is there PTSD in our daily local lives?
In April of 2013, a small fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded. People died, property was damaged, and many were terrorized by a threat they had not appreciated.

The plant. which was close to homes and fairly near a school and a nursing home, had been there for some time, peacefully doing business. Then the worst happened.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Friends enjoy 'surge' of meaty gifts
Although we try to be smart about things, it doesn't always work out. We elect presidents, for instance, who looked good as candidates and said things that made sense to us, only to discover in the four or eight years that followed that they were ineffective in office and lost their vision while sacrificing their principles in compromise.
Thursday, January 07, 2016

True friendship is free of obligations
The sun rose from the ocean this morning in spectacular fashion. It might every day, but I am not here to see it, so I can't really confirm that. Some might think it a bit out of the ordinary that I saw it, having seen me in Wal-Mart just the other day, but we assume a great deal about one another and are as often wrong as right. So it's no surprise to me if you didn't wake up this morning thinking, "I bet Bonelli's watching the sunrise at the beach again."
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

'All of the above' approach needed for broadband
In August 2008, minutes after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi shut the chamber's lights out during a debate over what to do in response to high gas prices, I helped lead my Republican colleagues in a revolt on the House floor that turned "all of the above" into a household name for the kind of energy policy America needed.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trustworthy news is close to home
Praise is hard to come by these days. We "like" things someone may post on social media, which encourages them to post more things like it, but otherwise we seldom praise people for doing their job.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

With ISIS, it's pacify or be pacified
Paris... The last time I saw Paris her heart was young and gay, no matter how they change her, I'll remember her that way.
Thursday, November 19, 2015

War, greed keep producing refugees
I suppose we could blame the English, but then they would just be even more smug about things than they are already, so I won't do it. Somewhere in mankind's past, the idea caught on that rights were personal and individual, rather than only available to a select few. 
Thursday, November 12, 2015

Friday's a special day to remember our POW/MIAs
Sept. 21 is POW/MIA Day - a day to recognize our nation's prisoners of war and those missing in action. It is a day set aside to salute the men and women who have served and sacrificed to keep America free, and to recognize the families of our missing service members (who continue to hope and pray that their loved ones will someday come home).
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Intern expands her horizons with Daily News gig
I wasn't sure what to expect this summer. After all, I was entering a town I wasn't familiar with, and I was starting my second newspaper internship.
Friday, August 17, 2007

Preservation is an opportunity
How magnificent it would be in the not too distant future - two, five, 10 years from now - to be able to market Robinson by saying, "We have preserved our old high-school gym built in 1938 by the Public Works Administration..."
Friday, August 10, 2007

Little worth celebrating in rate deal
Like most sports fans, we have a true appreciation and even admiration for gifted athletes. Over our many years of watching all types of sporting events, we've seen talented men and women make plays and set records that still, to this day, leave us wondering how they did it.
Friday, August 03, 2007

Springfield mess: it's not the process, it's the people
Since the Illinois General Assembly's spring session passed the May 31 deadline and lurched into overtime, a growing chorus of media outlets, special interests and taxpayers are declaring "the system is broken."
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Overtime session: Casinos may play part in solution
It was indeed an interesting week in Springfield leading up to the May 31 budget deadline. A budget did not pass both the House and Senate before the deadline, so it seems that any budget that is passed will now take a super-majority rather than a simple majority.
Thursday, June 07, 2007

Power-rate 'relief' doesn't fix the larger problem
It has now been almost five months since Ameren and Commonwealth Edison customers saw their electric rates spike in January. In Springfield, this issue has been the subject of much discussion and heated debate, but very little action. While members of both parties have pushed for rate relief in varying forms, the state's leaders have thus far refused to work together to allow for any solution.
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tough decisions needed this week on state budget
With the deadline for a budget to be completed looming Thursday, there are very few who believe an agreement will be reached before the scheduled end to the 2007 spring session of the Illinois General Assembly.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Prospect of late session only part of budget puzzle
Most of the discussions in Springfield this past week centered on the realization that now that the governor's gross-receipts tax has been defeated, a budget still must be crafted within the next couple of weeks to avoid an overtime session of the General Assembly. The scheduled adjournment date for the spring session is May 31.
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Few options left to deal with tax, spending issues
The biggest news in Springfield this week was the House Committee of the Whole hearing regarding the governor's proposed gross-receipts tax and the vote the following day that pronounced unanimous opposition to the plan.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Laying down lives for strangers is what cops are all about
The Bible tells us in John 15:13 that Â""greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends."
(1 comments)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finger-pointing continues on power rate issue
Another week has passed by without final action by the General Assembly on the electric rate issue.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Legislators have plenty of gun bills to consider
Last week, I mentioned that a bunch of gun-related bills are awaiting consideration. Since I have not focused much on gun-related bills in any of my columns and there was no legislative action last week, I will review gun legislation this week.
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who wants to talk about spending?
As the Illinois General Assembly's 2007 session progresses, several topics of importance are beginning to dominate the debate in the Capitol. But by far the most prominent discussion is whether a major tax increase will be enacted, and if so, how much that may be.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Democrats coming out against GRT
Claiming that he "has the Lord on his side" in his attempt to impose the largest tax increase in Illinois history, Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues to trumpet the virtues of the implementation of a gross-receipts tax in Illinois.
Thursday, March 29, 2007

A confession: In praise of cowboys
I've got a confession to make: I am not a cowboy - and never was.

Oh, I wear cowboy boots, Levis, Western belts and shirts and don't get my hair cut much. But I am not a authentic cowboy, even though I got my first pair of cowboy boots when one of my father's friends gave me a pair of his when I was about eight and helped out on the farm.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

'Current Occupant' out of touch on taxes
"Brother, can you spare a dime?"

That may be the refrain of Illinois small business after another four years of Democrat Rod Blagojevich.
(1 comments)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gross-receipts tax a 'dangerous' way to raise revenue
Last week, Gov. Rod Blagojevich delivered a combined "State of the State" speech and budget address. This week, I will concentrate on providing you with information on the budget proposal and try to update you on where the electric rate issue stands.
Thursday, March 15, 2007

1,000 bills filed in House so far as session starts
The first week of session for the 95th General Assembly is over. The renovation of the Capitol delayed the start of session for a few weeks. However, the renovation did not slow down the filing of potential legislation.
Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spring session brings lots of new initiatives
When members of the House of Representatives return to Springfield on Feb. 6, hundreds of bills will already have been filed for consideration. Committees will begin to hear testimony on these proposals and important legislative deadlines will start to occur. I count on constituents to contact me with their feelings about proposals.
Thursday, January 25, 2007

Democracy Project puts 'we the people' back in control
Last week, I described a real problem that I believe exists in the current process regarding the way certain legislation is pushed through the General Assembly.
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Flawed legislation, and process, led to power-rate mess
Well, the seemingly never-ending war of words between House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones over the impending electric rate increases continues.
Friday, January 05, 2007

Reviving draft is an ill-advised idea
I return for service in the 110th Congress Jan. 3 and a very different world it will be.

The leaders of this new Congress have promised many changes involving health care, taxes, ethics reform and other issues.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Better compromise needed on rates
Before I get into this week's column regarding legislative news, I want to wish everyone a happy new year! My sincere wish is that 2007 is the best year yet for you and yours!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Allowing huge increases not an option
Week 2 of the fall veto session was much more active as far as important legislative proposals being debated and acted upon than was the first week. The 94th General Assembly has adjourned until Sunday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m.
Monday, December 04, 2006

Best solution is to 'phase in' power rate increase
Over the past several weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion, debate, and political rhetoric concerning what consumers in Illinois will be paying for electricity beginning next year.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lots of history, not much action in first week
As expected, Week 1 of the fall veto session was more notable because of the location than the legislative action.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Power rates electrify veto session
As I mentioned last week, there are really only a couple of pieces of legislation that will be the subject of veto override attempts.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Veto of sex-offender bill will be reviewed
Last week, I mentioned that there are only a handful of bills vetoed by the governor that will likely be voted upon this fall during the veto session in an effort to override the governor's veto.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Veto session: Just about anything can happen
We are in the final weeks leading up to the fall election, but it is also soon time for the General Assembly to meet in what is known as the "Fall Veto Session."
Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Being "at peace" is a choice we make
Sunday morning, and that familiar whine let me know that it must be 5:30.
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Students from abroad bring the world home to us
Maybe, like me, you've yearned to experience the grandeur of Europe, the stateliness of Russia, the traditional customs of Asia.
Monday, July 17, 2006

The new state budget: perception won't pay the bills
Now that the 2006 spring legislative session has concluded, lawmakers are back home in their districts visiting with constituents, discussing what occurred over the last four months in Springfield, and soliciting their feedback.
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Budget passes, but tough issues remain
As anticipated, the FY 2007 Illinois budget was pushed through the General Assembly last week and the spring session of the General Assembly came to an end.
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Crawford County soldier tells his side of the Iraq war
My parents recently submitted my picture to the Daily News with a few lines regarding my recent deployment to Iraq. Over the past couple of weeks I have received e-mails from folks back in Robinson, most of whom I haven't spoken with for a number of years.
Monday, May 08, 2006

Chicago bunch will have the last say on budget
Before I get started this week on updating you regarding issues in Springfield, I want to take a moment and thank some very special people for their work.
Monday, May 01, 2006

50th birthday didn't come with all the facts
I don't know when it all started, but as I recall, I do remember the look of pity on the faces of those over 50 at my 50th birthday party.
Monday, May 01, 2006

Eminent-domain bill has protection for property owners
The House of Representatives met for only two days last week and is scheduled to meet two days this week. While there was not much news on progress related to the budget, an important bill did pass related to the topic of eminent domain.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Garden hose helps in flash-flood resuce
On Saturday, April 8, I was on my way home from work when I started to pass by the road that I usually take to work which had been flooded from overflow of the Embarras River that morning.
Monday, April 10, 2006

Lawmakers late, but not "overtime"
The originally scheduled adjournment date for the 2006 Illinois General Assembly was last Friday, April 7. Because of continuing problems constructing a budget for FY 2007, the General Assembly will meet beyond the original adjournment date.
Monday, April 10, 2006

More than 100 bills going to governor
As expected, the past week was very busy. The General Assembly approved more than 100 bills last week that will be sent to the governor for his consideration.
Monday, April 03, 2006


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