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Lawmakers push for police-worn camera funding

091114 js 0037SPRINGFIELD— Last month’s police shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked national debate over police procedures and practices. In Illinois, Brown’s death has renewed an effort to expand the use of vehicle-mounted and officer-worn cameras.

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Representative Jehan Gordon Booth (D-Peoria) announced, during a press conference Thursday, their commitment to pass a plan this fall that will increase funding for police departments to buy more cameras.

“Every day, the courageous men and women of Illinois law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect us. Cameras like these help prosecute crimes, protect civil liberties and – ultimately – help save officers’ lives,” Haine said.

The plan, House Bill 3911, brings more money to an existing grant program enabling local police departments to purchase cameras. It also secures additional funds for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Boards.

“I hope that the tragic recent events in Ferguson, which has brought the value of officer and vehicle-mounted cameras to national attention, may serve as a catalyst to enact legislation that protects our brave police officers as much as it does the general public,” Gordon-Booth said.

“The use of cameras serves as a layer of transparency to document disputed encounters between law enforcement and citizens,” NAACP Illinois State Conference President George Mitchell said.

The proposal increases an existing court fee by $6 to fund the camera grant program and increase funding for ILETSB. The $6 fee is estimated to bring in between $4 million and $6 million per year.

“We live in a visual society. These types of videos will be invaluable,” Illinois State’s Attorneys Association President Brian Towne said.

Lawmakers return to Springfield in November for the annual fall session. Gordon-Booth and Haine plan to call HB 3911 then.

Villas at College Hill Groundbreaking Held Sept. 8

Jacobs090914Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), in partnership with Augustana College and the City of Rock Island, broke ground for a new construction housing effort, known as Villas at College Hill on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. The project will create three new construction homes in the College Circle Neighborhood, off 30th Street across from Augustana College in Rock Island.

GROWTH continues to rebuild Rock Island one block at a time. Augustana College plays a vital role in our community and I am excited to call them a partner in the Villas at College Hill development. As a community based development organization, we look to fill the needs of a community. Villas at College Hill advances new construction efforts in Rock Island in a price range that is desired,” said Renaissance Rock Island President Brian Hollenback.

The College Circle Neighborhood circles Augustana College, from 5th Avenue on the North to 14th Avenue on the South – then to 38th Street on the East and 25th Street on the West. The neighborhood is adjacent to the College Hill District, which is known for its eclectic range of sixty shops and restaurants. Existing housing located in the College Circle neighborhood includes single-family detached residences, some duplexes, apartments, and dormitories.

GROWTH acquired the Lot 10, Lot 11, and Lot 13 in order to create the three new construction homes. The
$932,000 project is expected to be completed by fall 2015.

Capitalizing upon the college’s successful participation in GROWTH’s Employer Assisted Housing program (otherwise known as Live-Work Rock Island), Augustana College partnered with GROWTH to provide new housing construction options close to the campus.

Augustana College remains one of the top five participating employers of the Live-Work Rock Island homebuyer program. To date, 30 Augustana College employees purchased Rock Island homes through the program, producing $3,102,174 in real estate transactions. The program continues to be a great employee attraction and retention tool for Augustana College.

"As a resident of the College Hill neighborhood myself, I'm very excited to see new construction, and especially of this quality. We at Augustana know this is an outstanding neighborhood, and it's encouraging to see others recognize the vitality that businesses like Cool Beanz, Against the Grain and Legends have brought to College Hill. Thanks to GROWTH and its leadership, I'm confident this vitality will attract still more residents into our neighborhood," said President of Augustana College Steve Bahls.
“Affordable and easily accessible housing is an important consideration for employers looking to locate to
our region. The partnership formed between GROWTH, Augustana College, and the City of Rock Island is a
great example of our community working together to encourage economic development in Rock Island,”
said Sen. Mike Jacobs.

About the Project

The Villas at College Hill homes will range in size from 1,500 to 1,866 square feet. All will be two-story homes featuring open floor plans, great rooms with open porches and 2-car garages.

The homes will range in price from $209,900 to $229,900.

Home090914-1•     Lot 10, College Circle. $209,900: 3 bedrooms, 2.25 baths, attached 2-car garage, 1,500 square feet. Lot 10 is an Employer Assisted Home. As an additional benefit, $10,000 in direct down payment assistance will be granted for eligible employees.




Home090914-2•     Lot 11, College Circle: $219,900: 4 bedrooms, 2.25 baths, attached 2-car garage, 1,866 square feet.





Home090914-3•     Lot 13, College Circle: $229,900: 4 bedrooms, 2.25 baths, detached 2-car garage, $1,595 square feet.





Project Team

GROWTH is serving as the developer, Crawford Company is the general contractor, and Shive-Hattery is the architect.
This project is made possible by the following:
•     U.S. Bank
•     Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
•     Program Income: Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2

In partnership with:
•     City of Rock Island
•     Augustana College
•     Northwest Bank & Trust


Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH) is a 501(c)(3) Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO); To date, GROWTH has impacted nearly 1000 units of housing in Rock Island, including the construction of eight new infill construction homes since
2012. GROWTH is housed under Renaissance Rock Island, an umbrella name for three inter- connected organizations dedicated to the revitalization of Rock Island. In addition to GROWTH, the Development Association of Rock Island (DARI) focuses on commercial and industrial development; and The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District (The District) markets the downtown and produces unique downtown events. For more information on GROWTH visit www.EconomicGrowthCorporation.com and for Renaissance Rock Island, visit  www.LiveRI.com.

About Augustana College:

Augustana College Augustana College is a private, selective liberal arts college located on a 115- acre campus near the Mississippi River in Rock Island.

Cunningham, Burke to host burglary prevention seminar

Cunningham-crime-prevEVERGREEN PARK – State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) are hosting a workshop Monday, Sept. 15 to increase awareness about burglaries and educate residents about how to minimize risk.

Local law enforcement officials and a reformed burglar will discuss steps people can take to reduce the chances of burglary.

The seminar will take place at the Evergreen Park Library. It is open to members of the public and the press.

Attendees should RSVP by calling Cunningham’s office at 773-445-8128.


Monday, Sept. 15


7-8:30 p.m.


Evergreen Park Library

9400 S. Troy Ave.

Evergreen Park, IL

Cunningham will host a second burglary seminar Oct. 2 at Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.

Harmon earns excellent rating from Citizen Action

HarmonHeadshotRSPRINGFIELD – Citizen Action/Illinois, Illinois’ largest public interest organization, has given State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) an excellent rating for his voting record in the General Assembly over the past two years.

"Senator Harmon’s voting record for the 98th General Assembly is, without a doubt, a testament to his commitment to working families, civil rights and consumer advocacy," said William McNary, Citizen Action/Illinois’ co-director.

Citizen Action/Illinois has led campaigns for lower utility rates, fair taxes, affordable and quality health care, insurance and campaign finance reform, and stronger environmental and food safety protections. Harmon voted with Citizen Action 92 percent of the time in 2013 and 2014.

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