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Non-Profit Offers Educational Sessions on Immigration Changesposted November 25th, 2014
President Barack Obama will be back in Chicago today to tout his executive action on immigration. Obama's planned visit to the Copernicus Community Center comes four days after he outlined changes to the country’s immigration policy. While the political and legal debates surrounding the President’s actions are heating up, a local non-profit organization is coordinating outreach efforts aimed at educating those affected by the changes. World Relief DuPage and Aurora is hosting two informational events tonight. Catherine Norquist is the immigrant legal service director for World Relief. She tells WDCB News she’s anticipating a variety of questions. World Relief’s two informational sessions start at seven … one will be at St. Rita Parish in Aurora and the other will be at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
Staying Warm May Not Cost As Much This Winterposted November 25th, 2014
The region is dealing with the first significant accumulation of snow and forecasters say the rest of this holiday week will bring cold temperatures. Despite that, Nicor Gas doesn’t think this year’s home heating season will cost consumers as much as last year. The utility company’s Jae Miller says last week’s blast of very cold weather saw a record level demand for November. But she tells WDCB News overall Nicor expects it will cost less to stay warm this winter. Miller says Nicor is forecasting that this winter won't be as cold as it was last winter. The winter of 2013-2014 was the third coldest winter on record in the Chicago metro area. She says the increase in customer bills last year was primarily due to increased consumption. Nicor estimates the average residential customer will see a 15% drop in heating costs between now and the end of March 2015. But Miller admits that is based on milder weather and could change if weather brings increased demand for natural gas.
Reactions Vary on President's Executive Actionposted November 24th, 2014
President Barack Obama is dismissing criticism that he overstepped his authorityby taking executive action on immigration reform. While on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Obama said that presidents use ``prosecutorial discretion'' all the time. House Speaker John Boehner charged last week that Obama is ``damaging the presidency'' with his actions. Republican Senator Ted Cruz told ``Fox NewsSunday'' that Obama's executive order amounts to ``counterfeiting immigration papers”. Benedictine University political science professor Dr. Phil Hardy tells WDCB News Reporter Gary Zidek the legal debate comes down to interpretation.
PRC Pantry Braces For A Busy Weekposted November 24th, 2014
Over the next several weeks civic groups, churches, and families will make donations of non-perishable food items to area food pantries. The Wheaton based People Resource Center says the days before Thanksgiving are the busiest time of the year at its pantry. PRC Director Kim Perez says food insecurity is a year round problem in DuPage County, but there is a noticeable spike in demand this week. She tells WDCB News the pantry’s starting the season in a good position. Perez says thankfully the pantry's shelves are very, very full which is great. She says the waiting room at PRC was standing room only late last week and there was a line of cars waiting to get into the agency's parking lot when she arrived at work. Perez says the people who rely on food pantries are trying to time things so they will be able to have a complete Thanksgiving dinner for their family and even small gestures can make a big difference. Perez says dropping off an bag of dinner fixings is a truly easy way to make a difference. She says something as simple as a five dollar cash donation can help PRC buy five pounds of food for hungry families. The People’s Resource Center is able to buy more food with every dollar it gets through a relationship with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Along with an increase in demand for food support, the agency always needs more volunteers.
Campaign Season Begins Again In Chicagoposted November 21st, 2014
Chicago’s mayoral election is just over three months away. And incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t wasting any time. Emanuel filed his paperwork to get on the ballot and began airing a new campaign commercial this week. McCormick Foundation political scholar Dr. Shawn Healy says as of right now it looks like Emanuel won’t have much competition in his re-election bid. But Healy tells WDCB News a lot can happen between now and election day. Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia have both announced plans to challenge Emanuel. Healy says it’s unlikely another major candidate will enter the race.
Citizen Advocacy Center Concerned About Potential FOIA Changesposted November 20th, 2014
Wednesday, members of the Illinois House voted to override Governor Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that would weaken the state’s Freedom of Information Act. According to the bill's sponsor, state Representative Barbara Currie, the legislation would give municipalities a way to address FOIA requests that are considered to be "harassing”. The Citizen Advocacy Center is a longtime supporter of the state’s current FOIA requirements. The Center’s executive director Maryam Judar tells WDCB News she’s surprised lawmakers have taken this approach. The proposal will now head to the state Senate, where a three-fifths majority is required to override Quinn’s veto.
Pierotti Ready To Step Down From Dysfunctional Boardposted November 20th, 2014
The DuPage Forest Preserve Commission is looking for a new Executive Director, again. The commission hired Arnie Biondo this year and then forced him out in August. Commissioners tried to hire John Lapinski, they voted three different times to give him the job; but Lapinski decided against taking it. Soon-to-be retired Forest Preserve President Dewey Pierotti says the commission has become dysfunctional. He tells WDCB News the decision to approve a re-organization plan this week is an example of the problem. Pierotti says the new Executive Director's charge will be to implement the new organizational plan; but he or she had no input into the structure that will determine success or failure in the job. He says the Forest Preserve Commission hasn’t agreed on when it will begin the Executive Director search, or what is wants in the new leader. Pierotti officially steps down from his position as Forest Preserve President next week, he’s held the post for more than 20 years.
Could Executive Action Spur Immigration Reform?posted November 19th, 2014
Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said President Barack Obama should take executive action as quickly as possible to remake the nation's immigration system. Obama could act as early as this week to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The move would likely upset Republicans fresh off mid-term election victories. Michele Wucker is an immigration expert for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She tells WDCB News any executive action will be met with some opposition, but a prolonged fight doesn't benefit either side. As far as what changes the President can make through executive action, Obama is not able to grant citizenship or permanent resident green cards on his own, but he can offer temporary protection from deportation along with work authorization.
Municipal Leaders Oppose FD Staffing Billposted November 19th, 2014
Municipal leaders across DuPage County are working to make sure lawmakers know they don’t like a proposal being discussed this week. The State Senate Executive committee is holding a hearing Thursday on legislation that would make fire department staffing levels part of contract language. Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully says there is widespread opposition. He tells WDCB News the mandate’s unnecessary and would reduce local control. Tully says discussions of minimum staffing levels already takes place between Fire Departments and local leaders. He says the fear is that if the matter is part of contract language and is part of a disagreement it will be decided by arbitrators and people who don't have a connection to the local community. The proposal stalled during the spring session, and local leaders hope the General Assembly won’t resurrect it during the veto session. Tully says if it wins legislative approval Fire Chiefs and local leaders won’t be able to make decisions for their department.
Election Impact on U.S. Foreign Policyposted November 18th, 2014
It was two weeks ago today a Republican wave swept across a number of key states helping the GOP take control of the Senate. President Barack Obama now must figure out how to work with a Congress entirely controlled by Republicans for the first time in his presidency. The change in party control will surely have an effect on domestic policy, but what will the impact be on U.S. foreign policy? College of DuPage political science professor Dr. David Goldberg and North Central College political science professor Dr. Bill Muck joined WDCB’s Gary Zidek to discuss thepotential ramifications of this year’s election. Muck says when it comes to foreign affairs, the President is still in the driver’s seat.
Ride Sharing Regulations On Tap For Veto Sessionposted November 18th, 2014
When lawmakers gather in Springfield this week for the Veto Session one of the issues they’ll debate is ride-sharing legislation. Governor Pat Quinn rejected a bill that would have imposed work restrictions on drivers for ride sharing services. Chris Taylor is the General Manager of Uber Chicago. He tells WDCB News the company isn’t opposed to reasonable regulation. Taylor says unfortunately the proposed legislation isn't very reasonable and isn't something Uber agreed to or even had a hand in crafting. He says there should be a better plan for the people of Illinois. The legislation Quinn vetoed would have restricted Uber drivers to working just three days a week. Taylor says it wasn’t about regulating the smart phone based ride-sharing services, but rather a protection for Chicago’s taxi-cab industry. He says the service is attracting more and more users every week. It recently expanded to include a number of collar county communities. While ride-sharing services are popular in larger cities, Uber is now available to people in Oak Park, Naperville, and Wheaton. Taylor says it’s perfectly suited for areas where population is more widespread and on-demand service makes more sense.