Wheeler to Sponsor Crystal Lake Art Show that Honors Women in Government
I would like to extend an invitation for everyone to attend an upcoming art show at Crystal Lake’s historic Dole Mansion scheduled for Friday, November 4 from 5:00-8:00 PM. The theme of this exhibit is “100 Years of Women in Government,” and those who attend will be able to view a large collection of featured art which focuses on the emergence of strong women in government roles. People will also have an opportunity to mingle with artists and purchase some of the original pieces of work. A suggested $5 donation will be collected at the door, and those proceeds will support the historic preservation of the Dole Mansion and Lakeside Legacy programs. I hope to see a large crowd at this worthwhile event!

MCC Jobs Fair Draws Large Crowd
Last week Senator Althoff and I partnered with some key McHenry County agencies to host a very successful Jobs Fair that was held at McHenry County College (MCC) on October 21. In addition to MCC, we partnered with the McHenry County Workforce Network and the County’s Economic Development Corporation for the 10:00 AM-1:00 PM event. More than 80 area employers accepted applications and discussed job openings for temporary, part-time and full-time employment opportunities with more than 200 job seekers who attended the fair. Unemployment rates remain unacceptably high in Illinois and we need to be doing everything we can to put people back to work. By bringing together employers who are actively looking to hire good employees, those who attended the jobs fair were able to maximize the efficiency of their job search. Thanks to all who attended, staffed booths and helped make this event such a great success.

Wheeler Serves as “Principal for a Day” at Local Elementary School
This month I had an opportunity to step into the shoes of a school principal and experience a day in the life of a top school administrator. I had the pleasure of spending a day at Community Consolidated School District 46’s Avon Center School in Round Lake Beach, where I was able to connect with students and teachers from a variety of grade levels. The Principal for a Day program is a statewide initiative of the Illinois Principals Association, and the goal of the program is to provide lawmakers with an opportunity to observe, interact and serve for a day at a school within their specific legislative district. It fosters collaboration between legislators and schools and gives us a up-close look at the successes and challenges in our local public schools. Thank you to Avon’s Principal Chris Wolk for the hospitality, and to all of the students and teachers for making my visit a wonderful experience.

New Illinois Competitive Council Review of Agency Rules/Regulations Should Find Millions in Savings for Illinoisans by Cutting Through Red Tape
Last week Governor Bruce Rauner announced a comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and job creation by cutting the red tape in Illinois. He signed Executive Order 16-13 to review all agency rules and regulations by the newly-created Illinois Competitiveness Council. The Illinois Competitiveness Council will be comprised of a representative of each of Illinois’ regulatory state agencies. Its goal is to save Illinoisans at least $250 million in direct license fee costs over the next decade, and save Illinois taxpayers and business owners at least 4 million pages in paperwork. It will work to ensure current regulations are up to date and relevant to today’s industries and practices; ensure the language in rules are easy to understand; reduce the amount of unduly burdensome requirements on businesses, social service providers, and citizens through both time and cost; and ensure there is a clear need for the regulation.

In addition, the Illinois Competitiveness Council will look for recommendations to improve Illinois’ licensing environment to promote job growth and job creation. Currently, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has more than a million active licenses in more than 200 license categories, however for nearly a third, IDFPR has issued fewer than 100 licenses. The growth of these licenses has increased 184 percent in the last 20 years.

Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Massachusetts have all successfully reviewed their rules and cut red tape to give their citizens a more competitive advantage over Illinois citizens. Burdensome and unnecessary regulations, policies and licensing requirements disproportionately impact small businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses.

In order to have the greatest impact, the Illinois Competitiveness Council is seeking input from the public on which rules and regulations are the biggest hindrance to people and businesses. Anyone can submit feedback to cut the red tape at www.illinois.gov/cut.

Teal Pumpkin Project Allows Kids with Food Allergies to Enjoy Trick-or-Treating Fun
For households that participate in trick-or-treating activities, I wanted to bring your attention to a very worthwhile initiative called the Teal Pumpkin Project. Kids with food allergies are often left out of trick-or-treating fun since most candy is off limits to them. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.

If you wish to participate, please print out the sign below and tape it to your door. This will alert families with children who have food allergies that this is a safe trick-or-treating home.

· Teal Pumpkin

Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. This is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.

Click here to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and click here for a list of local Halloween events and attractions.

Industry Hotline Offers Insurance Assistance
The Illinois Insurance Hotline is a free and valuable resource available to help Illinois residents make informed decisions about insurance-related issues. The Hotline is a non-profit industry-sponsored outreach that can answer basic questions, provide educational materials and offer direction for more intricate questions about property, casualty, life or health insurance. Residents can reach the Hotline by phone or email for guidance on a wide range of topics, including company contact numbers, financial ratings, complaint records, state mandates, options following a cancellation or non-renewal, the claim settlement process and more. You can contact the Illinois Insurance Hotline by phone at 1-800-444-3338, or by email at insurancehotline@illinoisinsurance.org. The Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.
For households that participate in trick-or-treating activities, I wanted to bring your attention to a very worthwhile initiative called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Kids with food allergies are often left out of trick-or-treating fun since most candy is off limits to them. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.

If you wish to participate, please print out the sign below and tape it to your door. This will alert families with children who have food allergies that this is a safe trick-or-treating home.

· Teal Pumpkin

Last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. This is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all trick-or-treaters.

Click here to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The sun was shining as a boat full of environmentalists toured the Pistakee Lake Watershed on the Chain O'Lakes. The boat tour was a recap of issues studied through a grant received by Lake County Storm Water Management and the Fox Waterway Agency. The group had been meeting for months looking at the impacts occurring to water quality on the Chain O'Lakes. The group is hoping to receive Federal 319 grant money to provide solutions to improve water quality.

The Pistakee Lake Watershed Tour reviewed shoreline protection situations which impact aquatic plant life. Participants also discussed port of entries within the watershed which cause pollution impacting water clarity. Discussion took place about the importance of wetlands and it was interesting to find out that one acre of wetland equals one million gallons of water. There is great concern about the dwindling acreage of functional wetlands within the Chain O'Lakes area and the sedimentation loads occurring on Grass Lake, which at one time was over 100 feet deep according to the Fox Waterway Agency.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division was encouraged by a new group that was formed recently in Wisconsin called the Sewer Pac, which will be reviewing negative impacts within the Fox River Watershed in Wisconsin which flows directly through the Chain O'Lakes here in Illinois. According Wayne Blake, Chairman of the Fox Waterway Agency, between 50,000 and 70,000 cubic yards of sedimentation is entering the Chain O'Lakes yearly, with a large percentage of that coming from agricultural lands in Wisconsin.

The Pistakee Lake Watershed group toured the lotus beds which were successfully re-established by the Fox Waterway over 20 years ago. After the lotus plants are established it takes seven years for the seeds to germinate to produce new plants. The lotus beds originally grew in this area back in the late 1800's but were killed off from a severe winter. The lotus beds were a large tourism draw because Grass Lake was only one of three areas world-wide where the lotus beds grew. The flowers were cultivated to make fragrant perfume which was sold by local businesses in the early 1900's.

The Pistakee Lake Watershed Group also toured the geo-tube-created island off of Grass Lake Channel. The island was created over 20 years ago, and was made with dredged material. It is a habitat for many endangered species, including the pelicans who nest there when looking for shade. Officials for the Fox Waterway are still looking into creating and recreating islands to put the silt sedimentations back where it came from and creating wetlands which provide a habitat for wildlife. The Fox Waterway Agency also discussed alternatives for dredging containment sites.