Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peoria Riverfront Museum Building Bids Are In

Official News Release

For immediate release

November 30, 2010 (41)

Peoria County Administration 309-672-6056

Link to this news release: http://www.peoriacounty.org

Museum Bids Are In!

Peoria - Peoria County conducted the Peoria Riverfront Museum (PRM) bid opening this afternoon at the Peoria County Courthouse. Five companies submitted bids for construction of the PRM: Core Construction of Morton, IL; PJ Hoerr of Peoria, IL; River City Construction of East Peoria, IL; Walsh Construction of Chicago, IL; and Williams Brothers Construction of Peoria Heights, IL. The following table shows respective bid amounts:

Core Constr.
PJ Hoerr
River City
Walsh Constr.
Williams Bros.

Base Bid

Alternate Total*

Bid Total
$ 30,268,000
$ 28,152,832
$ 30,093,500
$ 29,388,300
$ 27,426,900

*Alternate totals reflect the cumulative amount submitted for 31 items not included in the base bid.

Construction costs for the PRM were estimated at $35,829,249. Andrew Rand, Peoria County Board Member and Chairman of the County's PRM Construction Committee, remarks on the cost savings realized by the bid amounts: "Peoria County is very pleased with the results of today's bid opening. Protecting the tax payers' investment is our top priority and, with bids coming in as much as $8 million below our estimates, we are able to do that. The museum project is moving forward at a time when construction costs are the most favorable we've seen in recent years and I believe this downtown development project bodes well for our economy and our workers."

Over the course of the coming days, county staff will conduct its due diligence to verify that all bid requirements were met and subsequently recommend the lowest responsible bid to the Peoria Riverfront Museum Committee at its meeting next week; meeting date and time are yet to be determined. Then, on December 9 at its regular meeting, the County Board will vote to award construction of the Peoria Riverfront Museum to the company submitting the lowest responsible bid.

Dave Ransburg, President of the Peoria Riverfront Museum Board of Directors, outlines the project timeline: "Over the past few months, we've all watched the progress of the parking deck in anticipation of the next phase: construction of the museum itself. Next week's bid award is a major milestone in a project that's been a long time coming. Now we just have a few short winter months to wait until construction begins and what has been known as the museum project will become reality in the fall of 2012!"

County Board Chairman Thomas H. O'Neill III echoes Ransburg's enthusiastic sentiments: "The museum is happening and it is bringing jobs to our community when jobs are scarce across the country. It is a credit to the local construction trades that four of the five companies submitting a bid for this project are based right here in central Illinois. Using local labor to build the museum will help build our economy and there's no better time for that than now."

For more information on the Peoria Riverfront Museum construction bids please call County Administration at (309) 672-6056.

# # #

Peoria County Courthouse, 324 Main Street, Room 502, Peoria, Illinois 61602

An Apology to My Readers

My only excuses for my erratice posting this month were changes in my personal life. The premature death from ALS of my Son-in-Law, Bill Greytak, Sr.,the earlier death of my fifth sister, the loss of other friends, realization that my political career had ended, a general fall cleanup of old records, the overall well-being of family members. Also, my successful involvement in helping get two Republicans (out of three) to replace Democrats on the County Board weighed heavily on my time to blog and my desire to blog.

The County Board now consists of 8 Republicans and 10 Democrats. My desire to see a board less influenced by special interest took a major step forward.

I also failed to note that my links on my blog site had disappeared. When Bloggrolling ceased operations, I didn't understand they would delete my links. I'm getting help to recreate and add more if my blog readers will email me the information I will need.

Thank you.

IMAX Passe? - Probably Not

If you bought 1000 shares of IMAX @$12.17 a share, in July, 2009 and sold it today, you would have a tidy paper profit of $15,000.00. In October, the JS reported that an IMAX theatre was coming to Peoria, opening in early 2011, but that it would be owned by a private tax-paying firm. This news somewhat negated the Peoria Riverfront Museum widely promoted claim that it would have the best IMAX 3D theatre.

An IMAX theatre was widely promoted by the PRM Committee in the selling of the Facility Sales Tax referendum. This referendum barely passed despite a reported spending by the committee (then Lakeview Museum) of $640,000 for "educational" advertising educating voters as to why they were closing Lakeview Museum and replacing it with a now $94+ million PRM.

The estimated total cost of the Riverfront Experience is $145-7 including a Caterpillar Visitor Center. Caterpillar's total investment in the riverfront experience is estimated to be $53 million.

As soon as the news that the private sector was getting an IMAX was publicized, Doug Beasley from CAT and PRM Committee Chairman, Dave Ransburg, said basically that their were "other fish in the ocean" and they were casting their nets to get the best HD 'cultural' big screen for the museum. Really? It was only 5-6 months ago that Beasley stood before the full Peoria County Board; the board who will own the new museum and near surroundings, saying that the PRM was in 'intense' negotiations with IMAX. I had the audacity to ask Mr. Beasley if he could show me any document that verified (remember, 'trust, but verify', a shortcoming of the Peoria County Board) that these intense negotiations were ongoing.

I have yet to hear from Mr. Beasley but then again, I never expected to hear from him.

So here we are, an IMAX 3D theatre who local PRM officials and Davenport, Iowa officials were making broad hints that there were better, less costly screens available to install in the PRM. Yet IMAX stock was going bonkers on the NASDAQ and the private sector was going to open an IMAX early in 2011 out near tne Shoppes.

Is it possible that show goer's would rather see first run digital programs on a slightly smaller screen at a location that provides free parking or go see cultural show at the PRM on a perhaps larger screen while paying to park in an underground garage?

Someone posted on IGN "That you are an idiot if you think that other imitators come close to a real IMAX 3D theatre."

Anyway, it appears that investors have a lot of faith in IMAX stock. I'm jealous that I didn't get in on the action. Maybe someone will tell me how the other big screen 3D companies are listed on the stock exchange and maybe when I see one, I'll more than double my investment as IMAX investors have done.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue as to exactly what will be in the new museum. After all these years of $14 million plus planning.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Peoria Riverfront Museum Funded at Last!! Or is it?

A week ago Thursday, Peoria County Administrator, Patrick Urich, when questioned by the writer as to how the funding of the PRM was coming, stated that PRM Committee Chairman and former Mayor, Dave Ransburg, advised that he plans to not only raise the missing $10 million or so but he intends to raise $20 million. When I had earlier asked Ransburg where this money is coming from, he declined to comment.

It was only 2 years or so ago that Chairman Mike McCord said he would have no problem raising $10 million. As last I heard the situation is this:

The PRM Committee and Lakeview had spent $14 million of the funds raised to date. That the Committee, I hear, is asking that outstanding pledges, $16 million or so, be paid.

That the actual federal pledged money, $3.6 million, had not come in from the federal government to help fund the underground parking lot that is under construction.

That the $5 million pledged by Pat Quinn and the State of Illinois was still a pledge.

The paperwork committing the Federal and State funds are allegedly in town but no checks as of 10 days or so ago.

That many pledges had been considered non-collectible; $1.2 million known by the end of fiscal year 2009, 17 months ago. (PRM's fiscal year ends June 30) So much of the $16 million pledged is still in pledge form.

Where will the new $20 million Ransburg is promising come from? It is always possible that the wealthy elite will shed some big dollars to avoid income taxes this year. Jim Owens, former CAT CEO, owns 445,000 shares of CAT stock, so he could be good for another million or so. Or, more likely the money will eventually reach town from the stimulus funds, earmarks committed earlier or some type of grant.

It is also possible that the County Board will increase the $41 million from the approximately $72-80 million they plan to collect from the Facility Tax; remember, this is the tax that will only cost each person living in Peoria County just $17 a year for 20 years. An astounding $72+ million taken out of our regional communities.

Yes,after fees and interest of around $16 million, this money will create a short window of jobs and materials before it continues as a tax-collector and takes charitable funds away from worthy social projects.

Since the museum is going to be a reality, I thought I might give you an upgrade. You won't get it from the local news media.

For all of you who wanted this museum and now see that the cash you gave has mostly been spent, I say have a merry Christmas, but dig a little deeper. The taxpayer has already contributed 70% plus to this tax money sucker-upper. Meanwhile, Bonnie Noble is designing the old Lakeview Museum into a new 33,000 sq. ft. PPD Administration offices while the Children's Playhouse folks are still trying to figure out where to get the missing $2.5-3 million to move into the then vacated PPD Pavilion.

I continue my quest; "show me the money" and I don't mean more tax dollars.

When the $5 million, the $3.5 million, the $10-20 million come in in check form, I'll cheer, but not until the checks clear the bank.

Don't forget; we residents of Peoria County get a 15% admission discount while those folks over in Tazewell County, etc., who are help paying to fund the museum will pay the full fee.


Children's Museum - Bloomington, Il.

local new reported tonight that this museum had received a $51,000 stimulus grant to install solar panels that will save the museum approximately $2,000 a year. Let me use my math abilities. Let's see, it will take 25 years to recoup the expense. How much will be needed to maintain and replace these panels over 25 years??? Good question, Merle.

So the supplier of electricity loses revenue but the manufacturer of the panels makes a bundle.

I hear the local unfunded PRM is seeking stimulus money also to go green. I also heard today that federal spending is up 13% over last year.

But Obama says with the feel good season now here, our financial problems will be offset by knowing deep in our hearts that we are "doing the right thing" and we will all have that good fuzzy "green" feeling.

Someday Dick Cheney's memoirs will make him look pretty good and oil will still be at $80-100 a barrel.


Freedom Encroachment: Leave it to Politicians Like Obama, Holder, Waters, Napolitano, Boxer, Reid and Their Ilk

The Frogs Finally Notice the Water is Boiling
By Arnold Ahlert Thursday, November 18, 2010

...“but what we’re doing, what we’re putting up with, what we’re accepting at this airport is so symbolic of us just not standing up and saying ‘enough is enough.’”—Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)

Maybe it really did need to come to this. Maybe Americans had to literally have their privates groped by a government bureaucrat to finally realize that they have been the proverbial frogs sitting in a pot of water, unaware that they are being incrementally boiled to death. For those of you who still don’t get it, let me make it clear:

The ultimate destination of Political Correctness is totalitarianism.

For decades, Americans have tolerated the drip, drip, drip of Marxist-inspired progressivism right under our collective noses. We’ve watched our public schools eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance, because patriotism is “unseemly.” We’ve watched the same do-gooders eliminate keeping score in kids’ sports because competition is “evil,” and anything which produces winners and losers—including free-market capitalism—is “damaging to one’s sense of self-esteem.”

We stood by while a Supreme Court said it was OK to take private property from one individual and give it to another one because the second person could improve the tax base. We ignored the Obama administration’s obliteration of bankruptcy laws in order to hand GM over to the unions which ran the company into the ground.

We’ve watched our soldiers get wounded and die to protect us, and said nothing when state governments didn’t get them ballots in time to vote in the last election. We’ve watched them struggle to “win hearts and minds” of people that hate us, and attempt to kill the bad guys with one hand tied behind their backs, due to the politically correct obscenity known as the Rules of Engagement.

We’ve watched our borders being overrun by millions of illegals, and then tolerated sanctuary cities which protect them, and idiotic court decisions which grant them such things as drivers’ licenses, bank accounts and in-state tuition breaks at colleges. We’ve watched many of our state governments imploding because we allowed socialist/Marxists to bloat budgets with unaffordable union contracts, and then we meekly surrender when those same hacks outlaw smoking, trans-fats, soda pop and kiddie toys at hamburger joints “for our own good.”

We’ve allowed the complaints of whiny individuals to eliminate voluntary prayer before high school football games, and Christmas creches in the town square. We stood by while feckless politicians turned buying a house into an affirmative action program, where good credit and down payments were “for suckers only”—even as most Americans don’t know the same language was written into the new FinReg bill, sowing the seeds for yet another round of government-enforced, irresponsible lending, exactly like the one that killed the housing market.

We’ve been sucking our collective thumbs while these same people championed “alternative lifestyles” which have led to a 40% out-of-wedlock birth rate, relegating millions of fatherless kids to miserable lives of poverty and crime. We’ve allowed the media marxists to corrupt the popular culture and turn morality into an “anything goes” affair in which “feeling good” is the only thing that matters.

Government of, by and for the people? Not when some TSA clock-puncher can put his hand on my “junk” as a condition for flying. Not when all of this invasive garbage is all about protecting political correctness at the expense of freedom—and sanity.

It’s “insensitive” to single out certain people for different treatment? Baloney! The progressives have been doing it for years. They’ve been playing the rich off the poor, the blacks off the whites, the gays off the straights, one grievance group off another, ad nauseam. And if the aforementioned concept of affirmative action isn’t the essence of singling out particular groups for different treatment, then I don’t know what is.

I’m sorry that innocent Muslims might be forced to endure greater scrutiny than other groups of Americans when it comes to flying. But not nearly as sorry as I am for the soldiers and others whose lives are dedicated to keeping American free, even the real enemies of freedom hide behind political correctness and pretend an “overseas contingency operation” isn’t a war against radical Islam. Not nearly as sorry as I am for the millions of Americans forced to endure de facto totalitarianism every time they wish to fly, because the elites refuse to bow to the reality that terrorism is overwhelmingly a Muslim phenomenon—and has been for decades.

It’s time to fire the Queen of Cluelessness, aka Homeland Security Secretary Janet “The System Worked” Napolitano. It’s time to find out which government officials made the sweetheart deal with former HS Secretary Michael Chertoff who, it turns out, has been repping the Rapiscan full-body scanners the TSA is buying and installing—at a cost $300 million. It’s time to tell Muslims that while we understand your concerns, reality is reality, and we’re not about to turn our airports—and maybe our train stations, bus depots, shopping malls and our schools into armed camps in order to placate the folks at CAIR or the ACLU. And it’s way past time to put Muslims around the world on notice that their radical people are the sponsors of most terroism. And the major cause of unrest in the MidEast.

One more thing: if the Republics have an ounce of guts, they’ll offer up a bill on the floor of Congress. It will state one thing: Every law Congress subjects Americans to, they will live under as well. That goes for everything from enduring the same pat downs inflicted on ordinary Americans at airports, to the same Social Security and Medicaid programs good enough for the rest of us, and everything in between.

Like Ron Paul said: Enough is enough.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The United States of Islam - A Must Read

The United States of Islam

A fast-growing Muslim minority is making its voice heard in America. Some applaud the trend, while others worry that our traditional Judeo-Christian culture is at risk.

What is the truth about Islam in America?

Newsmax magazine's special report "The United States of Islam" takes an in-depth look at Muslim-Americans and Islam in the U.S. as controversy rages around the nation over a ground zero mosque, Shariah — strict Muslim religious law — and home-grown terrorists.

The report uncovers surprising facts about Islam in America — and dispels widely held notions about Muslims in the American melting pot.

The new edition of Newsmax magazine is hitting newsstands across the country, including many Barnes & Noble bookstores and Hudson News airport newsstands.

Dr. Rida Boulos on ObamaCare

If you missed my distinguished friend, Dr. Boulos's letter to the JS editors on 11/14, I will highlight the reasons why Dr. Boulos says most Americans reject this bill.

1) The process by which the 2,000 plus-page legislation was passed was flawed. It involved backdoor deals, bribery and lack of transparency.

2) Tort reform is not mentioned. Malpractice premiums run from $80,000 t0 $150,000 per year plus defensive medicine costs.

3( Those who wish to repeal the bill do have workable solutions, many of which were rejected such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state line, tort reform, and health care accounts. Both parties did agree on eliminating denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and having children covered until the age of 26.

4( Ideology and politics were the driving factors in ramming through a major reform in 100 days instead of correcting the problems in increments over three to five years. While some provisions will take place in 2014, that is because they will take place AFTER presidential elections.

5( This bill will take $500 billion out of the future, anticipated growth in Medicare which will lead to rationing and cutting services.

6( Penalizing citizens who do not buy insurance is akin too saying that because the sun is a cause of skin cancer, the government should mandate that everybody stay in the shade. We can already see corporations dumping health insurance and paying the fine.
This will lead to the health exchange becoming the "public option." The latter will not work in the U.S. due to its size, non-homogeneous population, health habits, high homicide rates and drug problems. These put a huge burden on the cost and cannot be sustained.

7( This bill was passed at a time when the housing industry and financial markets were collapsing and our deficit soaring.

The public has rejected the health care bill in this election. Republicans and Democrats should revisit the legislation and correct its many flaws.

Well put, my tennis playing friend, Rida.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ObamaCare Reviewed - Not Funny

Forwarded to me by a friend.

Let's say approximately 40% of the recent voters were pleased with what "change" provided. Interesting also is that some of the trucked in voters couldn't even spell the "write-in" candidates name.

So sad.


Let me get this straight . . . .
We're going to be "gifted" with a health care
plan we are forced to purchase and
fined if we don't,
Which purportedly covers at least
ten million more people,
without adding a single new doctor,
but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
written by a committee whose chairman
says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that didn't read it but
exempted themselves from it,
and signed by a President who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who
didn't pay his taxes,
for which we'll be taxed for four years before any
benefits take effect,
by a government which has
already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
all to be overseen by a surgeon general
who is obese,
and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!
'What the hell could
possibly go wrong?'

(Obesity is no stranger to some governmental jobs in Peoria, including the health department) Thought maybe you didn't notice.


That Describes My Deceased Son-in-Law, Bill Greytak

Hi Merle,

My name is Steve Basciano. I became friends with Bill a few years ago. I helped him with computer repairs, technical issues, etc with this E-Chair business. I am really good at computer repair, etc. I also set up things for him in his office to make it easier with his illness, with a speech to text program and large key Keyboard. Bill always paid me for my help, which was very appreciated, but Bill was my friend. He was a great guy, and I was totally devastated when I found out he passed away. It is very sad, and I will miss him. He was never sad, or down, no matter how much his illness (ALS) effected him. I never once heard him complain. He was always happy and optimistic. He was a great guy and will be remembered a very long time. I pray for his family to make it through these hard times.

Steve Basciano

Thanks, Steve for your kind comments and for making Bill's life a little easier.

Peoria Journal Star Says "Be Pragmatic"

It was recently announced that the near bankrupt federal government had issued a $10 million grant for development of the "Peoria Warehouse" District. The JSEB says today that "...Peoria with a history of over-hyping project after project should be mighty careful about repeating that history here, in the midst of the parade, sometimes we lose our pragmatism".

Webster's Dictionary defines paragmatism "a practical approach to problems and affairs". I consider myself a pragtimist; how dare the JSEB claim to be pragmatic??

JSEB, don't be too sure when you say that people who move down there to live might notice the smell. Many Peorians don't seem to mind the smells that emanate (other than ADM and others) from some of the "projects" foisted on a gullible Peoria populace in recent years. They never admit that this $10 million will be spent on "soft costs", consultants, designers, architects, engineers and yet more consultants, planners, peer engineers, more designers, all without one shovel of dirt being turned. An example is currently in progress where the Peoria Riverfront Museum Project spent, so far, over $14 million on all the above, plus trips, meals, travel expense, advertising, etc., without one shovel of dirt being turned until a couple of months ago. At that time, they turned dirt for an underground parking garage for the PRM and the CVC, mostly funded by Uncle Sam and Caterpillar.

Where will the money come to DEVELOP this project once the $10 million is gone? I suspect it will go on the shelves to join dozens of other plans now gathering dust for lack of more taxpayer dollars. Earmarks and stimulus grants may be history by 2014 and today's entrepreneurs won't budge unless they have guaranteed taxpayer support (Witness Bass Pro and GEM and the Marriott Hotel to name a few of the most prominent recipients or planned recipients of taxpayer largess).

The JSEB (Journal Star Editorial Board for new readers) finishes their column, "We want this project to succeed, but realistically, those behind the Warehouse District will need to figure out how to fit in with all that, and without counting on Uncle Sam."

Be realistic? Almost every single project of any size that has been started in Peoria in the past 10 years have been started and partially completed with a startlingly share of taxpayer dollars.

And we complain why our governments are broke or heading in that direction!!

In the meantime what ever happened to the Heartland Community Foundation 2004-5 Strategic plan? It talks about the "Innovative Economy of Central Illinois". Are they to be the receipients of this $10 million taxpayer grant?

Anyone doing their research surely realizes that these "innovators" can't seem to get off the ground without public taxpayer dollars as was recently highlighted by a "can't miss FireFly". Or have we already forgotten? Remember that the spearhead of this taxpayer financial boondoggle was our own "conservative" State Legislator Republican David Leitch.

And what happened to the highly touted Southern Gateway. And by the way, why has Alex been so silent? And GEM??

I have long ago concluded that most of the "leadership" in Peoria would rather take a little dunking (as opposed to going down with the Titanic) than admit they have been carried away by a lot of "blue sky" optimism.

Liberals - Don't be Offended

Forwarded to me by a friend. Too true to not pass on. Merle

Subject: history lesson

For Those That Don't Know About History...


Here is a condensed version:

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers.

They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel.

The wheel was invented to get man to the beer.

These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals
2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture.

Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer.

This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement...

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQ's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing.

This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women.

They became known as girlie-men.

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass for obvious reasons.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water.

They eat raw fish

but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.
Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men.
Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud, Coors or Miller.

They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are Big Game Hunters, Rodeo Cowboys, Lumberjacks, Construction Workers, Firemen, Medical Doctors, Police Officers, Engineers, Corporate Executives, Athletes, Members of the Military, Airline Pilots and Generally anyone who works productively.

Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals Produce Little or Nothing.
They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production.
Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans.
That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America.

They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created

a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Today's Lesson In World History:

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary

urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it.

A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to piss them off.

And There You Have It!
Let Your Next Action Reveal Your True Self.....
I'm Going To Have Another Beer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

IMAX Bashing by the PRM Committee and Putnam Museum.

Read Sunday article by Karen McDonald on the "fading" allure of IMAX. Then check today's stock market down 177 points and you will note IMAX stock is trading at $22+ a share compared to $10+ a year ago.

Explain that, Ransburg and Beasley and you Putnam Museum folks.

Also explain why IMAX is seeking the private sector to expand rather than the incompetent public sector.

Face it, folks, the PRM is not going to have a Class I IMAX and Davenport (Putnam)evidently cannot afford to continue to bring in Class I shows.

I asked Ransburg, by the way, if you are not familiar, Ransburg inherited his business, how he was coming in raising the minimum of $10 million short on the new PRM. He said "they were working on it", same as CEO Roundtable then President Mike McCord said confidently 2+ years ago. I asked Ransburg if they were getting this money from the taxpayers. He turned and walked away without answering.

We know, don't we?

I asked our County Administrator, who, if you recall, said that NO construction of any kind would start on the County owned PRM and surroundings until ALL the money was raised, the same question. He said he didn't know because he was playing phone tag with Ransburg.


I note that a plea has been sent out to the people who owe somewhere around $15 million in pledges, to pay up now. If you recall, $1.2 million in pledges were deemed noncollectable for the fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Figures on noncollectibles for fiscal year 2010 ended June 30, 2010, were not available to myself, a County Board member on the body that owns the building, etc., or the public.

My projection, as good as any body's projections, remains that once the PRM reaches "stable" attendance, it will lose close to $2 million a year.

You may ask why I make that claim. You don't need to look to far. Try almost all our governmental bodies run by the "best and the brightest". they must be> They got elected.

My projections on the African Zoo are close. I said it would lose $1 million a year. A board member said that $750,000 was put in the 2011 budget to cover losses on the expanded zoo. As with Peoria County's BelWood Nursing Home and the PPD RiverPlex, many costs such as maintenance, pensions, insurance, SS, etc are transferred to other PPD Funds, so it become difficult to determine actual losses to these expensive expansions.

Ye, I know, that public amenities do not need to show a profit but I remind you that the PPD budget is over $42 million with approximately $14 million coming from property taxes for the year 2011.

And that was before the Republicans agreed (or so they say) to stop earmarks.

Anyway, I refer you back to my blog of August 11, 2010, titled "Noooooooooo IMAX.

And they didn't even put in the promised new parking lot nor the the new entrance to the zoo, projected to cost $5,000,000+.

All Public Bodies Are Seeking Ways to Take More of Your Money

Those of you who read the JS today learned that Peoria Public School District #150 is going to raise property taxes a "small" amount. These "small" amounts will eventually make Peoria one of the highest taxed cities in the country. I have predicted this outcome for several years. It takes no genius to make that prediction, all you have to do is follow the spending and revenues. Look at your real estate bill and it will show that over 52% of your ENTIRE property tax assessment goes to #150. And the NEW BUILDINGS AND EXPANSIONS #150 school bond tax hasn't kicked in as yet. The "small" (only $17 dollars per person in Peoria County) 1/4% sales tax kicked in January and will take $3-4 million out of our local economy for the next 20 YEARS, a total of $72-80 million.

Here is an email sent me by a friend on a topic that has been debated fiercely by Congress recently. I do not know that the $1500 figure is an exact amount; I do know that most family earners will pay more in taxes, fees and assessments every year of their lives if our governmental bodies can't sort out priority spending from special interest spending:

Either Obama agrees to extend the Bush-era tax cuts or every body's taxes are going to revert to pre-2001 levels. This will mean that a family of four making $50,000 will see their Federal income taxes rise by more than $1500 a year. If you make more, you will pay even more. And sense every local and state taxing body is looking for further “revenue enhancements”,ie. more taxes, fees and multipliers(Quinn promised to raise taxes this year and yet still he got voted in!), we are going to have even less of our own money to spend. Elections have consequences. Many of us lack the foresight to see the unintended ones.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paul Krugman - Question?

Paul, I'm 85 and still play tennis 2-4 times a week. When I'm 90-95 and still playing tennis, blogging and writing LTE's, under ObamaCare, will my health benefits be cut because of my age?

If I'm hooked to all kinds of tubes, in a vegetative state, can't control my bodily functions, have no quality of life except to be pitied by family and visitors, I've already told my family to let me die.

Is that what ObamaCare says on some of its 2100 pages?

Thanks, Paul.

Merle Widmer

Top News

Smears 'Death Panel' Critics
Sunday, 14 Nov 2010 07:21 PM Article

After an explosive interview Sunday morning in which he referred to using “death panels” to rein in runaway deficits, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claimed he had said the same thing before.

In a blog post written after his contentious participation in a panel discussion on “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Krugman said that he had used such language before and linked to a single column that mentioned death panels in passing.

But Krugman failed to mention that he has devoted at least a half dozen columns to mock conservatives and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over the use of the term “death panels.” Palin used the term in reference to language in the Obama healthcare plan that urged seniors to plan their deaths. That, coupled with Medicare cutbacks in the plan, resulted in the "death panel" coinage.

In a review of Krugman's columns over the last two years, Newsmax uncovered these scathing references to death panels in which the Nobel laureate frequently calls Republican leaders liars for using the term:

August 13, 2009 "Right now, the charge that’s gaining the most traction is the claim that health care reform will create “death panels” (in Sarah Palin’s words) that will shuffle the elderly and others off to an early grave. It’s a complete fabrication, of course."

August 20, 2009 “It seems as if there is nothing Republicans can do that will draw an administration rebuke: Senator Charles E. Grassley feeds the death panel smear, warning that reform will “pull the plug on grandma,” and two days later the White House declares that it’s still committed to working with him.”

February 25, 2010 “So what did we learn from the summit? What I took away was the arrogance that the success of things like the death-panel smear has obviously engendered in Republican politicians. At this point they obviously believe that they can blandly make utterly misleading assertions, saying things that can be easily refuted, and pay no price. And they may well be right.”

August 30, 2009“Moderate Republicans, the sort of people with whom one might have been able to negotiate a health care deal, have either been driven out of the party or intimidated into silence. Whom are Democrats supposed to reach out to, when Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who was supposed to be the linchpin of any deal, helped feed the “death panel” lies?”

October 4, 2009 “The Republican campaign against health care reform, by contrast, has shown no such consistency. For the main G.O.P. line of attack is the claim — based mainly on lies about death panels and so on — that reform will undermine Medicare. And this line of attack is utterly at odds both with the party’s traditions and with what conservatives claim to believe.”

March 21, 2010: “Politicians like Sarah Palin — who was, let us remember, the G.O.P.’s vice-presidential candidate — eagerly spread the death panel lie, and supposedly reasonable, moderate politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley refused to say that it was untrue. On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that “freedom dies a little bit today” and accused Democrats of “totalitarian tactics,” which I believe means the process known as “voting.”

Taken from newsmax.com - - Internet Magazine

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peoria County - Read and Drive Carefully

Peoria - The Peoria County Sheriff's Office has received a $33,000 Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant from the State of Illinois Division of Traffic Safety. The grant allows the Sheriff's Office to increase traffic enforcement and reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents by focusing on safety belt and impaired driving enforcement. With the grant funding the Sheriff's Office will conduct six increased traffic enforcement campaigns through the course of the next year. This weekend the Sheriff's Office will be conducting two saturation patrols for impaired driving enforcement. Also, over the next few weeks, seatbelt enforcement efforts will take place in Peoria County.

"Safety is our first concern for the residents and visitors in Peoria County," explains Peoria County Sheriff Michael D. McCoy. "By increasing our traffic enforcement efforts we hope to improve the use of safety belts and reduce the incidence of impaired driving."

The purpose of STEP is to lower the incidence of motor vehicle crashes-and their resulting injuries and fatalities-through increased highly visible enforcement of safety belt use and impaired driving during national and state enforcement campaigns. The stepped-up, year-long traffic enforcement focuses on specific times of year and on specific times of the day when data shows impaired driving and unbuckled fatalities are the highest. The increased patrol presence deters potential impaired drivers and potential unbuckled drivers. Through the STEP campaign, increased traffic enforcement will have a positive impact on reducing serious injuries and fatalities on our roads.

For more information on the STEP grant, please call the Peoria County Sheriff's Office at 697-8515.

# # #

Peoria County Courthouse, 324 Main Street, Room 502, Peoria, Illinois 61602


Sent to me by a friend. Merle


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music fromiTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.

In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have that can't be changed are Memories.
19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial" nation on the globe. All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the great wealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing. It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II.

But now we are witnessing the deindustrialization of America. Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little. Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste paper. Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us. The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined. Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world. If the deindustrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of a future are we going to be leaving to our children?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things.. So if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable. Every single month America goes into more debt and every single month America gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The deindustrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man, woman and child in the country. But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

For people like that, take this article and print it out and hand it to them. Perhaps what they will read below will shock them badly enough to awaken them from their slumber.

The following are 19 facts about the deindustrialization of America that will blow your mind....

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. About 75 percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of America ’s largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November. Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide. So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States? Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford's new "global" manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products. Asia now produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it?

How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to be treated like one.

If you disagree with this article, I have a direct challenge for you. If anyone can explain how a deindustrialized America has any kind of viable economic future, please do so below in the comments section.

America is in deep, deep trouble folks. It is time to wake up


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make Babies - Earn a Good Living

Forwarded to me by a friend. I could not forward the picture but the picture is of an obese black woman. No, I'm not a racist; just a disgusted taxpayer. If the person signing this letter is fictitious and the dollar amounts may vary, the facts are NOT.

An old version of "family planning", perpetuated by the "spread the wealth" current president. And his leadership.

Everything this man in the oval office will do between now and 2012 will be done with the goal of creating a greater dependency class to depend on he and his "compassionate" policies so these dependents including unions, illegals and federal, state and local government workers will be obligated to re-elect him. What a battle we have before us to make sure that his one term of destruction is enough.

What a great country most of us are trying to keep great. What a shame what is happening.


Bread Winner of the Family...Making Babies!

I was speaking to an emergency room physician this morning. He told me that a woman in her 20s came to the ER with her 8th pregnancy. She stated, "my momma told me that I am the breadwinner for the family." He asked her to explain. She said that she can make babies and babies get money for the family. The scam goes like this: The grandma calls the Department of Child and Family Services and states that the unemployed daughter is not capable of caring for these children. DCFS agrees and states that the child or children will need to go to foster care.
The grandma then volunteers to be the foster parent, and thus receives a check for $1500 per child per month in Illinois . Total yearly income: $144,000 tax-free, not to mention free healthcare (Medicaid) plus a monthly card entitling her to free groceries, etc, and a voucher for 250 free cell phone minutes per month. This does not even include WIC and other welfare programs. Indeed, grandma was correct in that her fertile daughter is the "breadwinner" of the family.
This is how the ruling class spends our tax dollars.

Sebastian J. Ciancio, M.D. Urologist,
Danville Polyclinic, LTD

Weight Watchers®
Official Site. Discover Weight Loss Freedom with Weight Watchers Today.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Life and Death of My Son-in-Law; Bill Greytak

William Ray Greytak of Edwardsville, IL died Saturday November 6, 2010 in his home surrounded by family and close friends after a long and debilitating illness. Born in Butte, MT to Alda and Martin Greytak, Bill was one of seven boys. Until his early 20’s, Bill lived in Long Beach, CA before relocating to St. Louis, MO to live with his brother David who was attending Washington University. While Bill continued in school he took a job working in the warehouse for a St. Louis office furniture company. He became the major owner of the business and took it to the next level. After selling his ownership in the business he started a then new concept in the industry, office furniture remanufacturing, which helped spur on an entire new industry. Bill was a mentor to many and a champion of the ability to give someone a second chance in life. Despite his illness, he remained optimistic and showed a brave face to his family and community. He will be remembered and loved by his surviving family, wife Mary Jo Greytak (Widmer-Richie), daughters Alisa Kelley (Dan Kelley) and Stephanie Greytak (Bob Heinemann), and sons Josh Richie (Rebecca Richie) and Bill Greytak, and grandchildren Alexander, Nicholas, Emilee, Maxwell, Joshua (Wid), Lora, Ryan, Lucy and Olivia. Proceeding him in death are his mother and father, Alda and Martin, his brother, David, and his ex-wife, Pat, mother of Alisa and Stephanie
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the following which held a special place in Bill’s heart:

Metro Community Church Touch Point Autism Services
3551 Ridgeview Road 1101 Olivette Executive Parkway
Edwardsville, IL 62025 Saint Louis, MO 63132

I have deleted the the time and place of the wake and funeral for security reasons. Anyone wanting this information, please email or call me.

Thank you.


Monday, November 08, 2010

California Election Positive Comments

It is with regret that I confirm we did not succeed in our election for California's 8th congressional district seat. We did very well historically for the GOP in San Francisco, and we did well in relation to our party's current registration base. But we came up short in our ultimate goal of unseating Ms. Pelosi.

We did accomplish quite a bit along the way. We reversed a trend of declining votes for Republican congressional candidates in San Francisco. We also helped increase the San Francisco Republican party registration significantly, turning back a multi-decade slump. We helped give a new look to the local party and reached out across the political spectrum to build coalitions which will lead to future successes.

Our videos were viewed over 1 million times online, not to mention the millions who saw them on various television shows. We also had unprecedented national coverage for the campaign.

We leveraged cutting-edge online tools in ways which future campaigns will likely study. We deployed a ground game not seen in San Francisco Republican campaigns for some time.

Two accomplishments stand out: We addressed matters that Ms. Pelosi has avoided for years. And, more importantly, we unyieldingly identified and pounded the most significant issues facing our country.

Those issues are: 1) What is the appropriate role of the government in our lives? 2) Washington is a machine with its own interests, 3) The Left/Right fight is largely a diversion from the real battle between Washington and us, and 4) Your individual liberty is the highest political value.

That last point is most important to me personally. I fought, and will always fight, for your individual liberty, for your freedom. By securing your liberty, I secure liberty for my family and for all Americans.

Politics boils down to two truths. One, freedom works. Two, and more importantly, freedom is right.

As I said in my concession speech on the night of the election, always remember that, in spite of the mythologies they encourage and expound, Washington and all governments are just businesses. And they are businesses which use our sense of decency and patriotism to achieve their ends - at our expense. That's why we're in the mess we're in today.

The abolitionist Wendell Phillips reminded us that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." We will always be called to battle for freedom. I look forward to joining with you in those fights. I suspect other campaigns and issues will draw us together.

Thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you to the amazing volunteers who were the heart and soul of the campaign. I am grateful for all of your support. It has been my pleasure, my honor, to fight for the values we share.

In Liberty,

John Dennis

Our mailing address is:

John Dennis for Congress
1592 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 729-5846

Monday, November 01, 2010

Karrie Alms For County Board

Karrie would replace 24 year incumbent who was both County Board Chairperson and Health and Environment Chairperson back in the late 1999-2000 when we could have remodeled BelWood for $9 million including interest. Now the cost has risen to $54+ million; approximately $70+ million with interest. Cost may go higher as the new location is as yet undecided. Possible demolition and site preparation oost may add millions.

Plus we would still have the then empty old BelWood costs to contend with.

We didn't have the cash on hand in 1999 and we sure don't today. Karrie would take a close look at what we are doing rather than follow the herd.

Yet the census has shrunk from the projected 275 to 219 actual as of last week. Karrie's incumbent opponent has voted for every dollar the county spend in the last 10 years I have been on the board including the $3,750,000+ suspect lead abatement program, a Committee she chairs. She voting yes for #190,000 of new signage for the courthouse during this depression. Even three Republicans voted yes but thinking heads voted no and the measure lost by a 9-8 vote. Democrat Mike Phelan and I led the opposition.

Karrie's opponent also voted for the ill-disguised effort to unionize all the county asphalt pavers. Karrie was adamantly opposed and made her position widely known at the board meeting she attended.

Karrie would have been an adamant "no" on both these issues.

Jim Fennell, a successful businessman from Chillicothe and Paul Rosenbohm, the very successful composter and amall dairy farmer from Limestone Township, are highly recommended. Fennell would replace the retiring Bill Prather and Rosenbohm would replace the Democrat appointed to fill the position of Pat Hidden who went to an untimely death. Pat was a friend of mine and even though she was a Democrat, she carefully weighed her vote.

If you can't vote for these 3 candidates, please call your friend who live in their districts as this a most important Peoria County Board election.

Thank you for reading me.