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Tom Cullerton sponsors legislation to address O’Hare noise issue

tc-ohareSPRINGFIELD- Residents of Cook and DuPage counties may be one step closer to alleviating noise pollution caused by O’Hare International Airport.

A report released shows the Chicago Department of Aviation reported 39,500 noise complaints in the O’Hare area in January of this year. The noise complaints are part of an ongoing problem that continues  to escalate in communities surrounding the O’Hare Airport.

This week, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) moved one step closer to fixing this problem with his support of Senate Bill 636 and Senate Bill 637.

Under the new proposals, O’Hare would keep the existing runways intact, which would allow air traffic to be more evenly distributed. Currently some runways are only running at roughly 3 percent capacity. The effect of not using runways evenly has forced 97 percent of the air traffic and noise to communities directly east and west of the airport. This has resulted in the increased number of noise complaints.

“Residents of DuPage and Cook counties have legitimate complaints. There continues to be a definite negative impact on the quality of life for the residents of these communities,” said Cullerton. “These initiatives will move us one step closer to finding a long-term solution to alleviate these communities from unnecessary disturbances.”

Cullerton is also circulating a petition to urge the Federal Government to issue a study to examine the environmental and human health impacts caused by O’Hare International Airport. The petition is available online at SenatorTomCullerton.com.

He has been working on this issue with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and intends to present copies of the petition to U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.

SB636 and SB637 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

Tom Cullerton advances PANDAS awareness initiative

tcpanda-passesEighth birthdays are extremely important to children. It’s supposed to be a day full of cake, presents and friends. However, this wasn’t the case for Charlie on his eighth birthday.

He woke up on his birthday with unusual symptoms. The little boy who loved participating in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of performing in front of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

The next two months of Charlie’s life were the hardest time for his family. He instantly displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Charlie didn’t want to be touched or hugged. He feared his food and was deathly afraid of water to the point where he couldn’t shower or brush his teeth. When triggered, Charlie would go into fits of rage.  He suffered from hallucinations to the extent he was unable to recognize his mother or father.

Charlie’s mother was faced with a difficult situation, either being forced to institutionalize her son or place her other two children in the care of a loved one. After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

Early detection is key. After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury was quickly able to diagnosis her younger son with PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

“No one wants to see young children suffer.  I have three young children at home, stories like Charlie’s display the immediate need to educate medical professionals and the general public on the PANDAS symptoms,” said Cullerton. “It’s our duty to ensure our children don’t suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

PANDAS is potentially a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

Senate Bill 1684 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

Tom Cullerton advances measure to prevent drug-related deaths

tcull-narcanSPRINGFIELD- Two years ago, in Bartlett, Johnny Dudek’s grandmother found him unresponsive in his bedroom. Dudek overdosed during a deadly month in DuPage County in which 11 deaths were caused by lethal heroin overdoses.

In 2013, there were 46 deaths attributed to heroin overdoses in DuPage County alone.  

To prevent tragic deaths like Dudek’s, DuPage County introduced the first county-wide application of Narcan in the state. Since 2014, 44 lives were saved by the use of Narcan, a lifesaving drug that reverses the deadly effects of drug overdoses.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is hoping to advance the success of this county-wide program by co-sponsoring Senate Bill 10, which would require state and local police officers, as well as fire protection personnel and firefighters, to be trained in administrating Narcan.

“Drug overdoses can happen to people in their 20s and their 60s. We have a way to save lives. It’s our duty to empower our first responders with the ability to prevent drug related deaths,” said Cullerton.   

Narcan reverses the effects of overdose for heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, OxyContin and morphine. The drug can be administered either by injection or nasal spray.

Throughout the nation, fatal drug overdoses have increased six-fold over three decades, claiming 36,000 Americans every year.

“Along with educating our young people we need to put protections in place to help them when they make bad decisions, said Cullerton. “We need to do whatever we can to save lives.”

SB 10 passed out of the Senate’s Committee on Public Health and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

Tom Cullerton launches campaign to urge Federal government to study noise impacts at O’Hare

tcOHareNoiseButton 2VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is circulating a petition to urge the Federal Government to issue a study to examine the environmental and human health impacts caused by O’Hare International Airport.

“There is undeniably a negative impact on the quality of life for the residents of my district and as well as surrounding communities. Federal agencies need to conduct a study to emphasis the connection between the air traffic noise and the environmental and human impact,” said Cullerton. “This is an ongoing problem that needs to be resolved. The fact residents have had to suffer through these disturbances for so long is unacceptable.”

Cullerton has introduced Senate Resolution 139 urging the Federal Aviation Administration and the United State Environmental Protection Agency to commission a study. Planes taking off from O’Hare during early mornings and late evenings cause disturbances to residents in DuPage and Cook counties.  

“As state officials, my colleagues and I have attempted to resolve this issue. However, we are at the point where we need federal assistance to find a solution to restore the quality of life for our communities,” said Cullerton.

There are multiple resources to report noise complaints on Cullerton’s website SenatorTomCullerton.com.

Cullerton has been working on this issue with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and intends to present copies of the petition to U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk.

On April 1, Senator Cullerton will be at Dino’s Café from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. with the O’Hare noise petition. The stop is part of this Capitol on Your Corner tour. Please visit his website for a complete list of tour spots.

If you are unable to make it to one of the events, the petition is available online at SenatorTomCullerton.com.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas