Winger's Weekly Wrap-Up for September 17th

Representative Winger traveled to the White House and met with U.S. Department of Transportation official Anthony Bedell. At the meeting, she discussed what could be done by the Federal Aviation Administration to help decrease noise levels from airports and airplane flight patterns. Noise from planes and has been a constant issue in Rep. Winger’s 45th District especially for those neighborhoods that fall under O’Hare Airports flight patterns.

Representative Winger with Rick Poole (Executive Director, NEDSRA) and Maryfran Leno (Executive Director, Itasca Park District) at the NEDSRA Special Recreation Golf Classic at White Pines Golf Club, Bensenville. NEDSRA provides recreational and social programs to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities.   

Winger Concludes Fourth Annual Summer Reading Program
State Representative Christine Winger recently celebrated with students who participated in her 2018 Summer Reading Program. 
The program invited students in grades K-5 to read 10 books over the summer, and with the completion of their reading lists, they were invited to celebrate with their State Representative.

This is the fourth annual summer reading program that Rep. Winger has hosted. Providing this program every summer has been important for the Representative, to provide a fun way for students to continue learning during the months away from school. In fact, research has shown that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer.

The Representative always loves to hear each student’s favorite books, and encourages the summer readers to keep up the good work throughout the school year.

“In the reading program, the kids get to choose the books they want to read—which helps motivate them to want to read,” said Winger. “Making this program fun and ending the summer with a celebration, makes students eager to read more and be a part of this.”

At the party, the summer readers received Certificates of Recognition from the House of Representatives and enjoyed frozen custard provided by Culvers.

Rep. Winger looks forward to hosting another successful program next year!

Illinois Prepared to Assist States Impacted by Hurricane Florence
Governor Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that Illinois is prepared to provide personnel and other support to states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters have deployed to support relief efforts in North Carolina. The crews left from Peoria's 238th Aviation Battalion and Kankakee's 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment. They will provide support for up to 10 days. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the Tar Heel state.

"We can never anticipate the scope of damage caused by these natural disasters and the impact they have on families," Rauner said. "We are proud to send our soldiers in to assist with emergency rescue and to transport supplies in and out of the disaster areas."

"This hurricane has the potential to be devastating," said Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes Jr., the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "I am proud of our soldiers' ability to quickly respond to the requests of our fellow Americans in North Carolina, and I am thankful for the support of our soldiers' families and employers as they prepare for and execute this mission."

Requests for assistance are coordinated through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement that allows states to request assistance from other states during emergencies. Officials from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been in regular contact with EMAC representative this week and are currently reviewing the anticipated needs drafted by the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Illinois has answered the call to assist other states with large scale deployments of personnel and equipment over the years, demonstrating the state's ability to respond to a major disaster, even when it's thousands of miles away.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the state's largest EMAC response to date, with more than 2,500 Illinois responders deployed to the Gulf Coast, including guardsmen, firefighters, paramedics, state emergency managers, law enforcement officers and medical personnel. Most recently, the state deployed personnel from the Illinois National Guard to Puerto Rico to assist with recovery efforts on the island following Hurricane Maria.

$450,000 Federal Grant to Combat Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking
The grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will be used to set up a family justice center. The proposed family justice center will be a physical location in Rockford where any victim of domestic violence or human trafficking can get one-stop locational services that will include medical provider services, counseling, social service personnel, and contact with law enforcement.

Law enforcement officers say that domestic violence makes up 34% of all violent crime in Rockford. Advocates say that one-quarter of the city’s homeless population have a housing status that has been affected by domestic violence. The Family Justice Center that will serve the victims of these crimes is scheduled to be built over a three-year period, with the first 18 months being oriented toward pre-groundbreaking planning and engineering.

U.S. News Ranking Places Eight Illinois Universities in Nationwide Top 200
Honors granted by the U.S. News and World Report 2018-19 ranking of U.S. colleges and universities included top-200 mentions of eight Illinois institutions, including five in the top 100. Public universities listed included the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), which was tied with several other schools and ranked as the 46th highest-ranking university in the United States. UIUC’s sister school the University of Illinois/Chicago (UIC) joined with other schools that were ranked 129th, and the Bloomington-Normal-based Illinois State University was listed with other schools that were ranked 171th.

Several Illinois-based private universities were also mentioned in the U.S. News ranking. The University of Chicago was listed as being tied for 3rd place nationwide, just behind Harvard and equal with Columbia, Yale, and M.I.T. Northwestern moved up from 11th place to a tie for 10th. Loyola was rated 89th, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) was ranked 96th, and DePaul came in at 119th.

Opioid Prescriptions Declining in Illinois
The legal dispensing of opioid pain management medications, including OxyContin, declined in 2017. The data was seen as evidence that steps are being taken to reduce opioid abuse in Illinois. In many cases of opioid abuse and addiction, a patient is introduced to opioids through the legitimate use of prescription painkillers. Physicians who provide treatment to persons with one-time pain management needs, such as post-operative patients, are being taught to prescribe lower doses of opioids in smaller quantities. Programs approved by the Illinois General Assembly are being used to improve anti-opioid continuing education efforts for all medical caregivers, including physicians and pharmacists.

This week’s Illinois opioid data came from the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program, a database monitor operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The database monitor has been recommended to medical care providers since the 1970s, but in 2017 the General Assembly changed the law to mandate prescribing physicians to enroll in the Program. Work done by the Illinois General Assembly, with the consultative input of the Illinois State Medical Society, now ensures that Illinois professional regulators and law enforcement have high-quality, universal data to use to fight against opioid drug abuse and addiction.

Renewed Interest in Issue of Texting While Driving
A recent survey of Illinois high school students shows 42% of Illinois teens admit to texting while driving. This number is even higher than the 38% nationwide teen average who admit to the same offense. While texting-while-driving is banned in Illinois, many believe that the law is not fully enforced. The Illinois General Assembly enacted legislation, signed by Gov. Rauner in August 2018, to increase penalties for the violation of texting while driving. Under the new law, first-time convictions for texting-while-driving will be classified as moving violations and, like other moving violations, will be placed on the offender’s permanent driving record. Three or more repeat offenses of texting while driving could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license.

During the “police training interval” between the signing of the law and its effective date (July 1, 2019), a public push is taking place to tell Illinois drivers about the new law and to train police officers on its enforcement. Police officers are becoming familiar with the characteristic position and head posture of drivers who are looking at phones in their hands or in their laps. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that a distracted driver who looks down at his or her phone is carrying out conduct that is six times more dangerous than driving under the influence.

Online Poll Honors Walt Disney as Top Illinois Entertainer
The honor came through the Illinois Top 200 Project, an ongoing online survey that asks Illinoisans to vote for winners in categories related to Illinois’ history and heritage. Disney, who is also known worldwide for his connections to Hollywood and Orange County’s Disneyland, was born in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago. The “Top Entertainer” poll also listed nine other Illinoisans with widespread fan support throughout the Internet. Winners include Jack Benny, Bob Newhart, Richard Pryor, and Oprah Winfrey.

By Illinois’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, 2018, Bicentennial Day, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories, thus making up the Illinois Top 200. Results for Illinois’ top scientist will be announced next week.

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