I am Nancy J. Thorner.  It is a pleasure to have been granted permission to address the Zoning Board of Appeals this afternoon.

 In addition to my remarks, because my time is limited, I have prepared three handouts which I’ve already distributed to board members to supplement my remarks and to present facts pertaining to wind projects.  Since I’ve made 100 copes of each position paper, there should be copies available for the media and other if interested.  

1.  My first handout was done through email consultation with a nationally recognized expert on wind, solar and nuclear power, and a Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Connecticut – Howard Haydn.  One pithy comment made by Professor Hayden, besides explaining in understandable terms the basic physics underlying wind projects, goes like this:  “We aren’t going to run this country on chicken manure, sunbeams and breezes.  It is an unconscionable waste of money to subsidize phony energy sources (and to look for the Holy Climate Knob in the sky.)”

2. The second handout asks questions about a source of power where the infrastructure is already in place, and which stands close to the proposed SEXTON wind farm — the now-shuttered 2,100 MW dual Zion Nuclear plant which was shuttered prematurely in 1998.  In 2007 Exelon reportedly estimated that Zion could be restarted for $1.5 to $2.0 billion, which is incredibly cheap compared to building a new plant of equal size at $14 billion.  THE QUESTION THE MEDIA AND RESIDENTS OF LAKE COUNTY SHOULD BE ASKING IS:  WHY IS EXELON PREPARING TO DECOMMISSION THE ZION FACILITY RATHER THAN TO RESTART IT AND REAP 2,100 MG OF LOW-COST EMISSION-FREE ENERGY SUPPLY?

3. My third handout lists questions that might be asked of the Sexton Wind Farm Commercial Project and its proposed 9 wind turbines.  Professor Haydn’s response to my inquiry informed me that SEXTON would most likely wish to install 2.5MW turbines, 500 feet above the ground, with 330 foot diameter blades.  These nine turbines could provide enough energy (averaging over a year) for 5,500 people.  Given spacing requirement of at least 20 diameters apart so that one turbine does not appear in the shadow of another, the turbines would occupy about 1.5 square miles of land in Lake County.  Since large size turbines range from $1 – $1.5 million in cost installed, the $15 million price tag for the 9 SEXTON turbines, which could provide energy for 5,500 people, is not a great investment.

In comparison:  It would take a thousand of the huge 2.5-MW turbine units to equal a single 1,000 MW nuclear plant, but the fact is, is that a thousand wind turbines could not replace a single conventional power plant because turbines still require100% backup for when the wind doesn’t blow.  And what about the amount of land area required for wind turbines?  It would take 300 square miles for a turbine array here in Lake County to produce as much energy as the 2,100 MW dual Zion Nuclear Plant which sits on a total of 257 acres.  Even environmentalists are losing their enthusiasm for wind power, finally realizing that it would take huge tracts of land all over the country to produce meaningful wind energy.

  Facts about wind turbines:

  • Reliable 100% backup is needed for turbines when the wind doesn’t blow as on very hot summer days. 
  • Each giant turbine requires 700 tons of steel and cement to construct. How’s that for the environment?   
  • Most wind turbines factories are in China, so there go the green jobs. 
  • In most cases electricity from wind turbines can’t be stored.  Some turbines ony begin producing electricity when the wind reaches about 8.9 miles per hour.
  • Birds are killed flying into the whirring baldes.
  • Individuals living near wind turbines have experienced illness and fatigue from the light flicker and noise of the turbines.
  • There are recorded accidents of failed blades which have been known to travel over a quarter of a mile, incidences of fire where only 30-ft. ladders will do, and incidences of ice throw with hman injury.

In closing, wind power might be clean and abundant, but it is not a viable energy source.  It does not represent the future, as was indicated in the short video I viewed on the Lake County website: “Green Energy:  Wind Power”   The largest turbine spotlighted on the short video was a 7 kilowatt one.

Why then are wind turbines the flavor of the day when we have no shortage of energy and we are not causing dangerous global warming?  Three resons:  1) Generous government tax breaks and subsidies are given to encourage investments in turbines and wind farms.  2)  Illinois law mandates that 18% of its power must come from wind by 2025.  3)  Rich people and businesess invest in them because they can and because it looks good to go green!

And where are the green jobs?  President Obama cited Spain as a model for the construction and production of electricty through renewable sources.  The actual result of the ‘green  jobs’ programs in Spain is that 2.2 jobs are destroyed for every one job created.  Following the example of Spain, it seems plausible to conclude that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created! 

  

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WHY IS EXELON WITHHOLDING 2,100 MW OF LOW-COST, EMISSION-FREE SUPPLY FROM THE MARKET?

FACTS ABOUT THE 2,000 MW DUAL NUCLEAR FACILITY UP IN ZION, IL, ON LAKE MICHIGAN ABOUT 40 MILES NORTH OF CHICAGO

The largest wind turbine built is 2.5 megawatts (One Kilowatt is equal to one thousand watts; one Megawatt is equal to one million watts.). The wind turbines noted in the video, “Green Energy:  Wind Power” on the Lake County website, didn’t go above producing A measly seven Kilowatts of energy. Chinese wind turbine firms are aggressively capitalizing on America’s clean energy push and are the beneficiaries of the often touted green jobs here in America.

  • Zion was operated for several years until pre-maturely mothballed in 1998 for “economic” reasons.  Both licenses are set to expire around 2011.  License extensions are routinely granted for an additional 20 to 30 years by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • In 2007 Exelon reportedly stated that it estimated that Zion could be restarted for $1.5 to $2.0 billion (see “White Tornado Headed for Zion” by Steve Daniels for Crains Chicago, Dec. 3, 2007).  $1.5 To $2.0 billion is incrediably cheap when compared to building a new plant of equal size which would cost about $14 billion for the same 2,100 megawatt output as the Zion facility whose infrastructure is already in place.
  • Exelon has never provided any detailed explanation underlying its public statement for not restarting Zion.
  • When prematurely mothballed in 1998, it was believed that some steam piping may need replacing, but this has been done in other nuclear plants which are still operating today
  • When Exelon noted “economic” reasons for prematurely shuttering Zion, might it have been because Exelon thought the restarting of Zion would inject more supply into Exelon’s market area and drive down prices?
  • This would mean that Exelon, rather than restarting Zion and lowering energy prices, is withholding energy supply to the public in order to manipulate and maintain high market prices.
  • IF PROFIT IS THE MOTIVE FOR EXELON TO DECOMMISSION THE ZION FACILITY SO ENERGY RATES CAN BE KEPT HIGH FOR THE CONSUMER, RATHER THAN TO RESTART ZION, SUCH ACTION IS ILLEGAL!
  • Exelon’s contract with Energy Solutions to dismantle Zion is NOT a done deal. Exelon’s dismantling contract with EnergySolutions allows both parties to withdraw at any time before the end of 2011.
  • Informed a few days ago by Senator Michael Bond of Grayslake that a new contract will be signed in May by Exelon with Energy solutions for the decommissioning to begin.

POSITION PAPER #1 CONTAINS COMMENTS MADE IN FRONT OF THE ZONING COMMISSION OF LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS, ON MONDAY, APRIL 26, REGARDING THE ZONING OF WIND TURBINES AND WIND FARMS IN LAKE COUNTY ON MONDAY, APRIL 26.

I am indebted t0 the following individuals for their time and effort in supplying factual information about the nature of wind power as a viable source of power for fulfilling future energy needs.

  • Joseph Bast, President and CEO, and Jay Lehr, Science Director, of the Heartland Institute of Chicago.
  • Howard Hayden, Prof. Emeritus of Physics at the University of Connecticut, an expert on wind, solar and nuclear power, and publisher of The Energy Advocate, Vales Lake Publishing, LLC (www.valeslake.com).

Pithy comments by Howard Hayden:

 ~”People will do anything to save the world. . . except take a course in science.”

 ~”We aren’t going to run this country on Chicken manure, sunbeams and breezes.  It is an unconscionable waste of money to subsidize phony energy sources (and to look for the Holy Climate Knob in the sky).

 ~HOWARD HAYDEN EXPLAINS THE BASIC PHYSICS UNDERLYING WIND PROJECTS ~ :

1.  Wind power is proportional to the cube of wind speed.  A drop from 20 mph to 10 mph reduces the power by 87.5%.  A doubling of wind speed from 10 mph to 20 mph octuples (eight times) the power.  Therefore, wind machines provide VERY variable power, and not through any fault with the engineering.  Somebody somewhere must smooth out the power on the grid by adding more or less power to compensate for the violent swings produced by the wind machines.  EXPLANATION: There isn’t wind all the time.  When there is wind It isn’t always at the same speed, so the power available varies widely from 0% of the turbine’s (or wind farm’s) rated output to 100% of capacity.  Assuming that a town has a 100MW windfarm that it prefers to depend on for power, it means that if a town needs 100MW peak power sometime during every year, then there has to be a conventional source of 100MW of power –the grid– to provide the power needed when there is no wind.

  • Today’s wind machines are designed to have a capacity factor of about 35%.  That is, if the nameplate says 2 megawatts, they will produce an average of 35% of that, namely 0.7 megawatts on a year-round basis.  EXPLANATION:  There are 8,760 hours in a 365-day year.  A 2MW wind turbine that was able to operate at 100% capacity for the whole year would produce 17,620MWh of power in the year.  What the “capacity factor of about 35%” means is that it would only produce 35% of that in a typical year, or 6167MWh.
  • Nukes?  The 3-year capacity factor averaged over the nation’s 104 nuclear plants is a little over 90%.  EXPLANATION:  For every 2MW capacity of the nuke plant, at 90% “capacity factor”, it would be expected to produce 15,858MWh, or 257% more than the wind turbines.

2.  The job of a wind turbine is to extract energy from the wind.  Therefore the air behind the turbine must be slower than the incoming air.  Trubines must be placed (typically) 10 diameters apart to get out of the wake (and similarly the turbulence).   EXPLANATION:  This is how far apart wind turbines must be placed so as not to interfere with each other.  It would be a waste of good wind to have one turbine in the “shadow” of another.

  • Doubling the diameter quadruples the power.  However, the turbines must be place twice as far apart in both directions, so the power produced per unit of land (or ocean) area is independent of the size of the turbines.
  • Wind turbine arrangement in good windy areas produce a year-round average of about 5 kilowatts per acre. That amounts to about 300 square miles to produce 1,000 megawatts, which a nuclear plant produces on a few acresA typical large coal or nuclear power plant produces 1,000 megawatts around the clock.  EXPLANATION:  For large-scale power production, land area required is extremely important.  For the same amount of power to be produced it would take 300 square miles (an area 17 miles on each side, if square) for a turbine array, while the dual Zion Nuclear plant sits on a total of 257 acres.

3.  The “home” is a poor unit to use.  If you take the U.S.-wide average over all people for all uses, we use 1.3 killowatts of electricity per capita; that is a city of 700,000 needs 1,000 megawatts to power its homes, factories, street lights, and shopping malls.  On the other hand, each home consumes roughly one killowatt (one thousand watts) of electricity on a year-round basis, averaged over all homes.

4. When promoters say that a wind farm will supply enough electricity (say) for 100,000 homes, they are claiming that the average power output will be 100,000 times 1,000 watts, or 100 megawatts — enough to meet the energy needs of a city of 70,000 people using 1.3 killowatts per capital.   The promoters, however, are not being truthful.  EXPLANATION:  Wind turbines could do no such thing without conventional power to level out the voltage on the grid.  The wind doesn’t blow all the time.  When it doesn’t, where’s the power coming from?!

5. There is not a single wind “farm” in the world that pays for itself without massive subsidies.  Every one is a financial failure:  EXPLANATION: THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY WIND FARMS AND TURBINES ARE THE FLAVOR OF THE DAY:  1.  ILLINIOS LAW MANDATES THAT 18% OF ITS POWER MUST COME FROM WIND BY 2025.   2.  MASSIVE FEDERAL AND STATE SUBSIDIES ARE HANDED OUT FOR INVESTMENTS IN WIND TURBINES AND WIND FARMS.   3.  RICH PEOPLE DO SO BECAUSE THEY CAN AND BECAUSE IT’S FASHIIONABLE TO GO GREEN.

6.  It would take a thousand of the huge 2.5-megawatt wind turbine units at 35% to equal a single 1,000 megawatt nuclear plant averaging 90%, but in fact the thousand wind turbines cannot replace a single conventional power plant because they still require100% backup for when the wind doesn’t blow.

7.  Keep in mind that each giant 2.5-megawatt turbine requires 700 tons of steel and cement to construct.  How is that for the environment!

8.  THE BOTTOM LINE:  Every source of energy besides fossil fuel and nuclear is either less convenient, or more expensive, or both. Since the mid-1970s, the Federal government, through national laboratories and research grants and educational institutions, has spent well over $20 billion to research alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power.  There have been some really bright people working on it.  The truth is, if it were easy, even if it were difficult, we’d already be doing it.  Right now there is no alternative that is economically competitive with fossil/nuclear.

 

 

 

 

Much has already been written by others who attended Illinois tea party rallies on Thursday, April 15. 

I attended the 2nd annual Chicago Tax Day Tea Party rally on Thursday, April 15 at Daley Center from noon to 1:30 p.m.  Along with other tea party participants, and not unlike similar rallies held all over this nation, the call was to hold government responsible, stop government spending, and stand up for freedom and individual liberty.

May the enthusiasm I saw displayed at Daley Plaza, and which was reported across the nation in the aftermath of the April 15th tea parties, not be daunted by attempts on the left to malign and marginalize tea party gatherings as angry mobs.  It will be a challenge to sustain the enthusiasm, but it can be done.   As of Thursday, April 15,  201 days remain until the November 2nd elections

Those speaking at the 12 noon Tax Day Tea Party included Adam Andrezejewski; U.S. Congressional candidates Joel Pollack, Joe Walsh, and David Ratowitz; Kathy Bakulis who became nationally known when videos were circulated nation-wide featuring her confronting a CNN reporter at last year’s Chicago Tax Day Tea Party; Dr. Ari Freidman, speaking as a physician against the recently passed ObamaCare and who ran as a U.S. Congressional candidate to replace Mark Kirk in the 10th District; John Arrington, a candidate for Cook County Regional Superintendent of Schools; and three from the Illinois Policy Institute.

As a Liberty Leader at the Illinois Policy Institute, and also a tea partier, the trio of Illinois Policy Institute speakers were of particular interest to me — John Tillman, CEO; Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President; and John O’Hara, Vice President of External Relation and author of A New American Tea Party.

 It was in February of last year when John O’Hara became concerned about  the direction of this nation.  At that time John O’Hara and friend Rick Santelli conceived the idea of a tea party movement to help defeat the Obama administration’s radical political agenda.  As O’Hara remarked at the rally, “The tea party movement has come a long way from the first one held nationwide on Tax Day in Chicago in 2009.”  I was in attendance last year at Chicago’s first Tax Day Tea Party.

When an email was sent out to Liberty Leaders for volunteers to hand out Illinois Policy Institute literature to inform tea partiers of its new and exciting plan to put Illinois back on path to prosperity and turn the state around, I answered the call.  About midway through the rally John Tillman mounted the stage to formally unveil the Institute’s plan to those assembled, the Illinois Turnaround Campaign.

It cannot be disputed that both the national government and Illinois are in a mess.  Illinois politicians for many years have been moving the state in the wrong direction and toward financial ruin.  If New Jersey is moving toward responsible government, why can’t Illinois?  New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie is leading a dramatic campaign to enable New Jersey to live within its means.

The Illinois Policy Institute’s Turnaround Campaign will be launched this summer.  It consists of the following five practical, common-sense solutions to help solve the serious problems facing Illinois.

  •  Stopping out-of-control state spending.
  •  Expanding government transparency.
  •  Reforming our bankrupt state pension system.
  •  Removing government roadblocks to prosperity.
  •  Expanding school choice and educational freedom.

But the Illinois Policy Institute can’t do it alone.  The Institute needs your help to turn the state around.  By visiting www.IllinoisTurnaround.org you can sign up to become involved in helping to change the direction of Illinois.

Working together for a common cause, tea party participants across this nation can begin to take their states and nation back on November 2nd.

On Wednesday, April 13, the Illinois Policy Institute, CEO John Tillman, was host of an event featuring Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell, a national expert in tax issues and formerly a Heritage senior fellow and Senate Finance Committee economist.

Dan Mitchell’s remarks centered around this theme:  “Chasing Away  Prosperity:  Will Illinois politicians make the State less competitive?”

Mitchell spoke of the present path of Illinois as unsustainable and one that will lead the state off a cliff.  Despite the current recession, however, Mitchell indicated that economies do come out of depressions given time. 

According to Mitchell, bad budget policy got the nation into its current mess.  Mitchell further labeled  Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as the “Bobbsey Twins” of big government because of their mostly unsuccessful Keynesian fiscal policies meant to stimulate the economy. 

Mitchell continued by saying that fiscal policy is but one piece of the puzzle.  Important also is maintaining a long-term growth rate which can be done by rewarding people instead of penalizing them.  Future consumption was called savings and investments.  According to Mitchell, the American people don’t save as much as they should because government taxes them again and again on the same income. 

Regarding methods of taxation. Dan Mitchell discussed these three:

  1. State Income Tax.  States with no income tax are doing better than those who have an income tax, eg., Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.  Illinois with its income tax is a vast exporter of jobs and has the 6th worst debt burden in the nation. People and businesses are voting with their feet!
  2. VAT Tax is a national sales tax that is assessed at each stage of production with the bill passed along to the customer at the cash register.  Mitchell expressed very negative views about the VAT tax as the tax usually starts small and always increases.  Consider the VAT taxes in these countries:  Denmark – 9% to 25%; UK – 8% to 17.5 %; and Germany – 10% to 19.7%.  Mitchell called the VAT tax a “money machine” for the government, a “never ending sandbox for politicians to play in, and a tax that must not be  allowed to happen unless the 16th amendment (income tax) is first repealed.
  3. Flat Tax is a tax system with a constant tax rates.  All income is taxed only once and everyone pays the same rate.  Over 35 countries have adopted the flat tax with good results.  The Left claims the flat tax is unfair to lower income people.  The resulting economic growth, however, is beneficial to those at the lower end the scale.  The same cannot be said about the policy of wealth redistribution.

Mr. Mitchell, using a Laffer Curve slide (trade-off between tax rates and tax revenues) illustrated how punitive tax rates discourage earnings and economic activity.

In conclusion, Dan Mitchell listed four reasons why keeping tax rates low will help the poor and disadvantaged and grow the economy.

  • High tax rates are bad for growth.
  • High tax rates increase tax avoidance and tax evasion.
  • High tax rates do not raise much revenue and many reduce revenue.
  • High tax rates on savings and investments are especially damaging to economic performance.

A quote made by Dan Mitchell attributed to Winston Churchill:  “Capitalism equals sharing of the blessings; Socialism equals sharing of the misery.”

The November elections will mark a watershed event in American history.  It will determine whether the American people cherish individual freedom and liberty or wish to continue a steady march toward  big government with all the trappings of an European Socialist society.

 During the Bush administration when anti-Iraq fervor ran high, dissent was considered akin to being a patriot by members of the Democrat Party.  At the time both the policies and the character of former President Bush were viciously and unmercifully attacked. 

Fast forward to 2010 when the same liberal Democrats are using terms such a racist and radicals to describe ordinary citizens who have banded together to form Tea Party groups all across the nation.  Tea Party participants are not part of an organized group.  Rather, they represent a movement of like-minded citizens who are concerned about the direction of their country, given the sneaky and arrogant way ObamaCare was passed without the consent or the approval of the American people, and who beliefs are compatible with the founding principles of this nation. 

Because Tea Party participants pose a threat to those in power who seek to establish an European Socialist-left nation, those on the radical left are attempting to brand participants as racist and angry mobs of protesters in an effort to counter the positive message of Tea Party participants.

And what is that message?  John O’Hara, vice president of external relations at the Illinois Policy Institute in Chicago, who further played an integral role in starting one of the first modern-day tea parties right here in Chicago on April 15 of last year to launch a grassroots movement, described the tea party movement accordingly in his must read book, A New American Tea Party:  “The counterrevolution against bailouts, handouts, reckless spending and more taxes.”

Chicago Tea Patriots will be hosting the 2nd Annual Tax Day Tea Party this coming Thursday, April 15, at the Richard J. Daley Plaza from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m.   Similar Tea Party rallies will be held on Thursday throughout Illinois and across this nation, all with the rallying cry of “We’re taking our country back!”

The Tea Party movement is not going away.  According to a recent Gallop Poll,  “More than a quarter of Americans count themselves as supporters of the tea party movement.”   Among those supporters are Republican, Independents and Democrats.

Democrats would be wise to heed the warning of pollster Scott Rasmussen in his book, In Search of Self-Governance: “The American people don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or the center.  They want to govern themselves.”

With pseudo Republicans like former governor Jim Edgar speaking out in an attempt to dictate Republican Party policies here in Illinois, does it really matter which party controls Illinois?

During the week of April 5th, Jim Edgar hurled a double whammy against Republican Party members throughout the state when he not only criticized GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady’s opposition to a state income tax hike of 33%, but also sided with Governor Quinn in calling Brady’s plan to cut the state budget by 10% across-the-board “naive” and impossible to achieve. 

Whammy number two took place when Edgar made a pitch for the legalization of immigrants at a news conference at the Merchandise Mart on Thursday, April 8th, at which time he announced the formation of a new coalition to push for federal immigration reforms.   Later on in the day Edgar addressed 200 area businessmen informing them that the estimated 540,000 illegal immigrants here in Illinois would result in billions of dollars of new economic activity for the state.

Edgar’s intension to convince his Republican colleagues here in Illinois and those serving in the U.S. House and Senate of the economic merits of granting legal status.  Further, that the failure to support legalization of immigrants will bring lasting political damage to the Republican Party.  It is evident that Edgar cares only about satisfying his Big Business Buddies who want cheap labor and who could care less about the American worker.

Edgar’s push for legalization should be soundly rejected as naive and in direct opposition to what is good for the economic welfare of this state and nation.  There is no bailout needed for the estimated 540,000 illegal immigrants here in Illinois!  It is Illinois taxpayers who are in need of a bailout.  Illinois taxpayers are now footing the bill for services given to illegal immigrants at the cost of $4 billion dollars a year.  Given that the state’s unemployment rate is at 11.3%, the highest in 27 years, and that undocumented workers claim 5% of the metropolitan Chicago workforce, it makes no sense to push for amnesty. 

Has Governor Edgar considered the consequences of amnesty and its aftermath, chain migration?  Once granted citizenship, immigrants can also send for their spouses, siblings, parents and adult children.  Richard Rector of the Heritage Foundation reported back in June of 2007 that while college-educated immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits — low-skill immigrants do not.  Rector also estimated that amnesty would cost the U.S. taxpayers at least $2.6 trillion.  www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/wm1490.cfm  

Just as flawed and unacceptable  is Jim Edgar’s knee jerk reaction to Illinois budget woes. 

Edgar seems more than willing to kick the can down the road.  It cannot be disputed that Illinois is in terrible shape with $6 billion in unpaid bills, a bond rating of second lowest in the nation, and an unfunded pension plan for public employees with a liability of over $80 billion.  A policy paper published by Kristina Rasmussen of the Illinois Policy Institute on April 7 — Illinois Economic Outlook Drops from 44th to 47th —  reported how Illinois ranks 48th in economic performance and 47th in economic outlook.  http://www.illinoisopolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=2406&utm_source=Illinois+Poli   

Jim Edgar, as a former governor, should realize that the practice of searching for new revenue from taxpayers over the years to pay for more government workers and unpaid pension liabilities has only resulted in crowding out core spending for the truly needy. The recent pension reform passed in Springfield and touted as historic legislation only nibbled around the edges.

It would be wise for Republican, even pseudo Republicans, to study and take action on a series of reforms published by the Illinois Policy Institute on 3/15:  Budget Solutions 2011:  A New Way Forward..  http://www.illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=2284  There are three key elements of the plan which would require no increases or borrowing to balance the budget. 

If the Illinois Republican Party really cares about its future and wishes to remain a party that can make a difference, it must reject destructive musings from pseudo Republicans like Jim Edgar.  Otherwise the Republican Party will continue to remain on the fringe of politics here in Illinois, picking up crumbs here and there, while forever searching for that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  

Nancy J. Thorner   331 E. Blodgett Ave., Lake Bluff, IL  60044   (847) 295-1035

On Saturday morning, March 20, state representatives, Sen. Susan Garrett and Karen May, co-hosted a constituent outreach meeting in Lake Bluff in the community room of the Lake Bluff Police Station on Center Avenue.
Fifty plus concerned and well informed citizen constituents attended, in what unfolded to be a somewhat contentious and unexpected show of disapproval toward Garrett and May over the way the Democrat-controlled General Assembly is dealing with the mismanagement of state government, the unfunded pension fund, and the inability of Springfield legislators to come to grips with the state’s critical financial situation.
Asked about Governor Quinn’s proposed tax hike of 33% in his proposed FY 2009 budget, Susan Garrett did commit to no new taxes until meaningful cuts were made in the budget.  One concerned citizen related how she wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes if she knew where the money was going, but that the reputation of Illinois is the “farce” of the fifty states.  Both Garret and May expressed their support of Governor Quinn in the November General Election.
Regarding the pension bill sponsored by Karen May which passed the House on Friday, March 19, and which created a 2-tier benefit structure for newly hired employee, many in attendance voiced concern that HB 6368 didn’t go nearly far enough in solving the whopping $83 billion in unfunded pensions, as it affects only state employees and those in the state educational system.
Also questioned was why the state pension system couldn’t be changed over to a 401K pension plan system?  To which Susan Garrett replied:  “There is a perception that this may not be a stable place to put money.”  Garrett also reminded those gathered that a giant step had been taken and that this is the first time in a decade that pension reform is being addressed.
Karen May disagreed that Illinois ranks 48th in the nation in job creation.  According the May, “Illinois is not as bad off as CA, NY, and NJ in job creation.  We are where we should be.”
Both May and Garrett expressed skepticism over a complaint by a businessman who told how his business was being driven out of Illinois due to a high corporate tax rate and out of the country in order to compete.  Karen May insisted that Illinois is extremely aggressive in attracting new businesses and that the corporate tax rate in Illinois is lower than the rate in CA (CA 7.6 % to IL 7.3%).  The businessman’s response was that the assessed corporate tax rate in IL is determined using a different formula from the one in CA.
Illinois’s deficit problem was addressed time and again.  Garrett and May were told in no uncertain terms that throwing more money at something doesn’t make it a better product.  It was pointed out that the shortfall in this year’s FY2011 Illinois budget is $4.7 billion, which Governor Quinn wants to borrow.  Added to this $4.7 billion shortfall is an additional accumulated past debt of $6 billion and $83 billion of unfunded pension debt.
Susan Garrett and Karen May were reminded that the budget mess wasn’t a recent happening.  There were good times of economic growth — the recession kicked in only two years ago — yet debt accumulated because more was spent in Illinois than was taken in.  Mentioned was a recent “Wall Street Journal” article which named Illinois as having the largest deficit of any state, with CA coming in second.
A problematic remark by Susan Garrett suggested that Democrats didn’t create the debt problem.  Instead, it was caused by a lack of oversight by Illinois legislators.  Senator Garrett then spoke about her bill to prioritize agency spending so each agency could report back with a list to the General Assembly of the state’s most critical program.
It is true that little cuts to the budget do add up in time, but it was quite astounding for Susan Garrett to speak approvingly of taking furlough days without pay along with her fellow legislators, given that Illinois has a debt of $94 billion!
This question followed:  “Why are legislators attempting to deal with the budget problem while at the same time they keep proposing new spending programs?”  Garrett and May denied the accusation, even though a constituent reminded them of a bill recently passed that prevents the state from taking away funding for abortion at any time in the future.  Karen May found this bill acceptable because “there are many poor people living in some areas of Illinois.”
Karen May’s comment about the need for bi-partisan support to get things done in Springfield did not go over well with the already skeptical assembled constituents, who were not about to let May’s comment go unanswered.  Both Garrett and May were informed, in no uncertain terms, that both in Springfield and in Washington, D.C. the Democrats are in the majority.  They can get whatever they want done without the support of Republicans (Consider the recent passing of Obamacare in D.C.).
Immediately following the Lake Bluff Forum, Senator Garrett and Representative May travelled to Highland Park to co-host a Town Hall meeting at the Highland Park Police Department.
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North Suburban Symphony partners in a “Diverse Generations” concert with Lake Forest High School orchestra students

Kelli Murray/Triblocal.com assistant managing editor 03/22/10 10:55 AM 49 hits

On the afternoon of Sunday, March 21, a noteworthy orchestra concert, Diverse Generations, was presented in the Lake Forest High School Auditorium at 1285 N. McKinley Road, Lake Forest.  The North Suburban Symphony, a community orchestra of 35 volunteer musicians based at Gorton Center in Lake Forest, with roots dating back to the Lake Forest Chamber Orchestra organized in1955, and who has enjoyed an association with the Lake Bluff Park District since 2001, partnered with student musicians of the Lake Forest High School Orchestras to blend their talents in making music together.

The combined concert in no way was meant to pit one orchestra against another; instead, it was a display of unity and cooperation in a community that values and supports a fine orchestra program and which is also home to a non-professional, all-volunteer community orchestra.   Such a partnership has great potential value, as it enables high school orchestra members to learn and perform repertoire that might otherwise be impossible.  Also, student musicians do graduate and go off to college to pursue careers.  Community orchestras function as avenues through which students, as adults, can continue to play their instruments.

It was last year that Ron Arden, now in his third year as music director and conductor of the North Suburban Symphony, approached Robert Bassill, director of orchestras and theory at Lake Forest High School for the past seven years, about the possibility of a joint orchestra concert with the North Suburban Symphony as part of its 2009-10 concert season.  Bassill and Arden already knew each other professionally, but, as music educators, the idea of combining students with more seasoned players seemed the right thing to do.

While North Suburban Symphony players started rehearsing for the March 21 concert during the second week of February, Bassill’s preparation of his Lake Forest High School orchestra students began in January.

When asked if his students were excited about playing the concert, Bassill had this to say:  “Yes, they are a little nervous about not being good enough, but they are excited!”

Concerning talent, Bassill feels that talent is a misleading word and that anyone who works hard while learning a musical instrument can be a top musician at the high school level.

Two combined orchestra rehearsal for the March 21 concert were held March 18-19, so players could get to know each other and deal with balance and ensemble playing.

As a cellist in the North Suburban Symphony, I can attest to the musical talents of Bassil’s LFHS string players.  Paired with a student cellist, I was both pleased and amazed that my student partner, and the students I observed all around me, were enthusiastic, well prepared, extremely talented, and pleasant to “old folk” like me.

It is a credit to the Lake Forest School System that stringed instruments are introduced and emphasized beginning in the 4th grade I was informed by SarahTruding, who heads the string program at the Deer Path Middle School, that 90 4th graders were started this school year at Lake Forest’s three elementary schools — Everett, Sheridan, and Cherokee — and that between the 4th and 5th grades it is expected that 65 percent of the students will continue to play their instruments.

Truding further told me that 200 string students are presently participating in her orchestra program at the Deer Path Middle School. Another achievement deserving praise is that since 2002 the string program in the Lake Forest School District has tripled.

For the May 21 concert, Bassill was able to add roughly 33 violins, 10 violas, 11 cellos and 5 bassists to the NSS string section.  Also given a chance to perform with North Suburban Symphony players were LFHS brass, woodwind and percussion players.  When possible, each high school musician was paired with a North Suburban Symphony player.

Arden and Bassill shared the podium.  As both conductors are fine string players and musicians in their own right, Ron Arden sat in the orchestra to play viola when Robert Bassill was conducting.  Bassill did the same but played the violin during Arden’s time on the podium.

Bassill began the concert by conducting Concerto Grosso by Ralph Vaughan Williams, scored for String Orchestra in five movements.  String players from  Bassill’s two Lake Forest High School Orchestras were on stage with  NSS string players. Bassill has two high school orchestras, the more advanced Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra.

Following the Vaughan Williams selection,  Arden led a chamber work, “Le Bal de Beatrice D’este,” scored for wind, brass, and percussion by Reynaldo Hahn.  Hahn is not a composer known to many individuals, even professional musicians, but the music was delightful, very much in the French style, although Hahn was Venezuelan-born and then French naturalized. The six movement of “Le Bal de Beatrice D’estra” were sweet, lyrical and easy to listen to.  Only one of  Bassill’s orchestra members performed in the Hahn selection, Christian Schmidt, percussionist.

The other instrumentalists were mostly first chair players from the NSS.

After intermission, the audience experienced for the first time ever, the merging of Bassill’s Symphony Orchestra with the full NSS, numbering more than 100 musicians on stage, in a performance of Beethoven’s glorious Symphony No. 5, Opus 67, in C Minor.

For information about the North Suburban Symphony check out  www.northsubsymphony.org <http://www.northsubsymphony.org/> .

Submitted by Nancy J. Thorner, citizen contributorShe is a cellist in the North Suburban Symphony

(Click on a photo to see a larger view)


Robert Bassill is in his seventh year at Lake Forest High Schoool as the Director of Orchestras and Theory andRon Arden is in his third season with the North Suburban Symphony as its Music Director and Conductor

Lake Forest High School Director of Orchestras, Robert Bassill, is conducting the first selection on the March 21st program, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Concerto Grosso for string orchestra.

Anna Zhou, principal cellist in the Lake Forest High School Symphony Orchestra and Julia Fiore, principal cellist in the NSS

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 Not all that long ago descent was considered the highest form of patriotism, a remark often attributed to Thomas Jefferson.  That was in years past when anti-Iraq fervor ran high among members of the Democrat Party.  Back then to protest was considered akin to being a patriot.  Both the policies and the character of former President Bush were viciously and unmercifully attached,

Fast forward to 2010 when liberals are screaming bloody murder over ordinary citizens who band together to form Tea Party groups all across this nation.  Tea Party participants are concerned, as should all informed Americans, about the direction of their county given the  sneaky and arrogant way ObamaCare was passed without the consent or the approval of the American people. 

Tea Party participants are passionate about what they believe, beliefs which are compatible with the founding principles of this nation.  But because they pose a threat to those in power who seek to establish an European Socialist-left nation, the Tea Party Movement is seen as a threat that must be curtailed through branding its participants as racists and as angry mobs of protesters so their far left agenda can be imposed on the American People.

A must read book is A New American Tea Party by Chicagoan John M. O’Hara, a book chronicling the history and principles of the tea party movement, with a foreword by MIchelle Malkin.  Mr. O’Hara is vice president of external relations at the Illinois Policy Institute.  Before joining the Institute, Mr. OHara worked as the assistant director of communications at Chicago’s Heartland Institute.  O’Hara  played an integral role in starting one of the first modern-day tea parties in Chicago on April 15 of last year, which launched the nationwide grassroots movement. 

O’Hara describes the Tea Party Movement as “the counterrevolution against bailouts, handouts, reckless spending, and more taxes.”  His book is engaging, clever and informative to read at a time when the media and well-funded and politically powerful organizations are attempting to silence the voices of concerned citizens.  The final chapter of O’Hara’s book discusses what it will take to turn tea party momentum into lasting public policy changes

Tea Party Express III, the largest national tour to date, started out on March 27 with a rally in the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Searchlight, NV, and is on route to reach Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 15.  As it rolls across this nation the Tea Party Express will make 47 stops. Check the following link to see where the nearest stop is to your home. http://www.teapartyexpress.org/  

This message will be heard at each and every Tea Party Express stop:

“You, the politicians in Washington, have failed We The People with our bailouts, out-of-control deficit spending, government takeovers of sectors of trhe economy, Cap & Trade, government-run health care, and higher taxes!  If you thought we were just going to quietly go away, or that this tea party movement would be just a passing fad, you were mistake.  We’re taking our country back!”     http://www.teapartyexpress.org/

Chicago Tea Patriots will be hosting the 2nd Annual Tax Day Tea Party on Thursday, April 15 — Chicago being the city whose last year’s tea party lit the spark that ignited a nationwide movement.  A New American Tea Party  The event will take place at the Richard J. Daley Plaza from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.  http://teapartychicago.org    Similar Tea Party rallies will be held across this nation for those unable to travel to D. C. to join the Tea Party Express III.  Consistent at all rallies will be a call to take our country back. 

The Tea Party movement is not going away.   It is not a fringe movement; it represents Mainstream America.   Although their are kooks in every movement, that has not been my experience as a Tea Party Patriot.   According to the latest Gallop Poll of Monday, April 5, “More than a quarter of Americans count themselves as suppporters of the tea party movement.”  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35395.html 

Another poll conducted by the Winston Group on Sunday, April 4, reported that “43% of the people in the Tea Pary movement are not Republicans and their major concern is jobs and the economy.”  http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2010/04/et-tu-gallup-second-polling-org-shows.html

Last week Rasmussen released data “showing the 47% of voters felt closer to the views of Tea Party Memebers than to Congress.  Only 26% felt closer to Congress.”  http://www.rasmussenreports.com/publiccontent/politics/generall_politics/april2010/teap

Democrats would be wise to heed the warning of Scott Rasmussen in his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, as to why voters are continuing the patterns of 2006 and 2008 in opposing the party in power:  In his new book Scott Rasmussen makes the case that “the American people don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or the center.  They want to govern themselves.”  Scott W. Rasmussen (author)