Wishing you and your family a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving! 

Attend this 5-day interactive workshop series. This series covers the entire job search process from researching careers to landing your next job. Attend all 5 days to earn a certificate!
Seating limited. Call 847.377.3439 to reserve a seat.

Monday, Dec. 7 to Friday, Dec. 11 10am to 12pm
Job Center of Lake County 
1 N. Genesee St. 
Supported by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and the ISACorps of near peer mentors, high schools and other organizations across the state have been hosting numerous events to encourage and prepare prospective students for college and the costs that come with it.

On December 7, financial aid presentations will be presented in both English and Spanish at Zion-Benton Township High School:
-Financial Aid Presentation at Zion-Benton Township High School, 3901 W 21st St, Zion, IL 60099; 6-7 PM
-Financial Aid Presentation (Spanish) at Zion-Benton Township High School, 3901 W 21st St, Zion, IL 60099; 7-8 PM

Visit www.isac.org/calendar to stay up-to-date.
The face-to-face meeting is scheduled to bring together Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the four General Assembly legislative caucuses, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 18, the meeting has been reset for Tuesday, December 1. The new time will allow preparations to continue over the Thanksgiving holiday.

In addition to budget issues, questions dividing Illinois leaders include workers’ compensation, property tax relief, public-sector labor pay and benefits, tort reform, election process reform, and term limits. Many key items of House Republican advocacy have been barred from discussion and debate within the Illinois General Assembly in recent years. The role of House Speaker Madigan has come under discussion as an element in the overall operation of Illinois state government, often characterized in recent years as one of the “worst in the nation.” Illinois currently has the lowest bond and credit ratings of any of the 50 states.
The Ventra App is the first ever to allow customers to pay for rides on all three transit systems with a few taps on their mobile devices, transforming the way Chicagoans take transit each day. The free app, which was developed jointly by CTA, Metra and Pace, will provide a "one-stop shopping" experience that essentially puts a Ventra vending machine as well as a Metra ticket vending machine in customers' pockets. The app will be available for use on Apple and Android smartphone and tablet devices via the App Store and Google Play.

The Ventra App will offer our customers a wide range of functionality never before available on their phones, including mobile tickets for Metra, Ventra account management, loading of transit value/passes, and real-time transit tracker information for CTA, Metra and Pace. Customers will be able to use Ventra account funds, pre-tax transit benefits provided by employers, and/or credit and debit cards to purchase transit to ride CTA, Metra and Pace.
Here at the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) we have been busy preparing our equipment, training our drivers, and planning our snow removal response effort for the upcoming winter season. The LCDOT snow plows went out on a dry run last week to make sure everything was operating as it should, and to make sure there were no hazards or unforeseen obstacles along the routes.

When you are driving in snow and icy conditions, you will be sharing the road with LCDOT snow plows. We hit the road before the snow starts to fall, and we run the routes in 12 hour shifts until roads have returned to normal conditions. The two most important things to remember:
On Thursday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC’s application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct, operate and maintain a 600 kV, 4,000 MW capacity, high voltage electric transmission line.

The 780-mile Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission line will span from Kansas to Indiana. The proposed line spans much of south-central Illinois, including right-of-way in Pike, Scott, Greene, Macoupin, Montgomery, Christian, Shelby, Cumberland, and Clark Counties. The project will provide direct access for high capacity wind generation to the electricity markets.

The ICC’s order requires that Grain Belt Clean Line secure funds to cover total project costs before construction commences, prohibits project expansion without Commission approval, and requires further Commission approval prior to recovery of any project costs from Illinois retail ratepayers through regional cost allocation. The ICC also directed Grain Belt Clean Line to take specific actions to address landowner concerns that included potential impacts from the construction of the line on irrigation operations, soil compaction and erosion, wetland areas, and timber land.
This important statute, which will be amended by HB 1285 and/or SB 1941, covers the procedures that take place when a worker is laid off or otherwise subjected to no-fault unemployment. Many of the benefits created by the Illinois unemployment insurance (UI) statute were scheduled to sunset at the end of 2015, creating an incentive for Illinois business and labor to come to the negotiating table. Away from press scrutiny, and meeting under the guidance of a team headed by Rauner cabinet member Jeff Mays, longtime advocates for both sides described some of their concerns with current law. Relief for some of these concerns was contained in the agreed language of this week’s legislation. Governor Rauner’s announcement that an agreement had been reached was made on Monday, November 9. Key members of the General Assembly participated in the meetings on behalf of both political parties and all four caucuses.

In Illinois, most people in this position are granted the right to receive unemployment insurance (UI) for up to 26 weeks in any one-year period after they are laid off. UI payments are overseen by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which provided staff support for the agreement. Under an important provision of the agreement, the new UI law will explicitly protect the interests of employers that terminate an employee who has demonstrated grossly negligent conduct and thereby engaged self or co-workers, or damaged an employer’s property. Under the revised UI law, these individuals will not be eligible to receive UI payments. There is an appeal process that provides administrative review, upon separation, to former workers who believe they were improperly treated.


Donations: Celebrate Veterans Day by donating care packages or certain items to the men and women who are currently serving for us from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at FitNation, 1655 Nations Drive. Enjoy fun patriotic crafts, write a letter or draw a picture to send over to our troops. Most common items in need include personal letters, Halloween candy, Beanie Babies/Trolls, knit/crochet scarves, and paracord bracelets. Light refreshments will be provided. Cost is $6. Children under age 3 and veterans with a valid ID, and individuals bringing in care package items are admitted free. Details, 847-623-7788.

Ceremony: American Legion Post 771 will celebrate Veterans Day jointly with the village of Gurnee at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the America Legion, 749 Milwaukee Ave. Special guest speaker is U.S. Air Force Veteran Terry Waddell-Moenter of Gurnee American Legion Post 771. Details, 847-244-9282.
General Assembly watchdogs chart continued budget picture.
The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the in-house budget agency of the Illinois General Assembly, released their October 2015 fiscal report this week. The CGFA “Monthly Briefing” covers ongoing State revenues, particularly key State General Funds revenue numbers, and ongoing trends likely to affect future State revenues. For example, the October briefing includes a discussion, based on nationwide trends and economic models, of the likely health of the 2015 Christmas retail selling season and its expected impact on State sales tax revenues.

CGFA, working in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Revenue, uncovered continued dismal trends in State revenues this October. Illinois general funds revenues were $319 million lower in October 2015 (fiscal year 2016) than they had been in October 2014. General Funds revenues come from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources. As in previous months, the decline was paced by a year-over-year shortfall in State personal income tax revenues and corporate income tax revenues. The accumulated deficit for the four months of FY16 so far experienced is $1,456 million. The current fiscal year began on July 1, 2015.
The meeting is expected to examine the delayed FY16 budget process. Although the FY16 fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, a constitutional balanced budget has not been enacted by the Democrat supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate. The State has continued to operate under consent decrees, court orders, continuing appropriations, and school appropriations, but this has created many operational problems. Recipients of State services, and providers of goods and services to the State, have been affected by the lack of a legal budget document.

Spokespersons for all four legislative leaders, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, expressed positive interest in the meeting. The gathering was requested by a consortium of nonpartisan advocacy groups. Sponsors of the request included the Better Government Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Residents of the 61st District wishing to turn in an old U.S. flag and exchange it for a new one may bring their used flag to the district office of State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor).

In honor of Veterans Day, Jesiel is sponsoring the flag exchange to allow residents to obtain a new flag to fly at their home or business, while supplies last. Flags may be exchanged until Tuesday, November 10. Area residents that are not constituents of the 61st District may also bring their flags in for proper disposal, while veterans may receive a new flag even if they do not have one to exchange. The program is free of charge and provided at no cost to taxpayers.