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Council conflict over Jones contract

In a split vote, the Joliet City Council approved an agreement this week with GovTemps USA to allow Steve Jones to continue working as interim city manager until a full-time replacement is hired. The deal works under the assumption that one-month extensions are automatically granted so long as the permanent city manager position remains unfilled.

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Wine of the Week: Celebrate Simply Italian Great Wines Serbian Style!

Federdoc USA and Mexico showcase quality Italian wines in ethnic setting in Chicago

Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour lands in Chicago

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2019 Mazda MX-5 RF

Thirty years. That’s how long the Mazda MX-5 has been around. It was a hit from day one and now it has reached icon status. When Mazda tried to change the name from Miata to MX-5 diehard fans refused to go along. Many people still call it Miata, so do I. But in the interest of journalistic accuracy I’ll use MX-5 in this space. What made the MX-5 so popular was the fact that it was a roadster and over the years Mazda has had the good sense to keep it a roadster in the best British tradition of Triumph and MG. What that means is a two-seat lightweight ragtop with a great power to weight ratio. And they’ve added a hardtop convertible for those who want to drive in cooler weather. I had the hardtop and driving it was still a lot of fun. I had the six speed manual; there is a six-speed automatic. I could and did skirt through traffic. The car had great acceleration and maneuverability; it was not overtly fast but it was awfully quick. Interestingly enough I never felt like I was in a small car until I got out of the MX-5. Still, the interior was not cramped. Shifting was easy. Other than the windows, everything was manual: the seats and the tilt telescoping steering wheel. Outside noise got in but somehow it wasn’t road noise. The sport suspension was firm but not harsh. Cornering was great, the brakes were solid and the sight lines were good. Never did I feel overwhelmed or undersized by other vehicles. At first I thought the steering wheel could have been a little thicker. But after a day or so I found it to be just the right size. This is the fourth generation of the car and what they have done is bring it into the 21stCentury from a connectivity standpoint. It now has USB jacks and it can stream and it has satellite radio amongst other things including Bluetooth and a navigation system. It even had heated seats. Designers pinched the hood and grille and they now swoop down to meant the front fascia. They did the same thing in the rear. They added LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. They tightened the sheet metal and overall gave the MX-5 a much more contemporary look.

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Wine of the Week: Celebrating Simply Great Italian Wines; Serbian Style

Lively guitar music and the singing of ethnic songs, mounds of thinly slice ‘Jamon’ (sliced prosciutto), Feta Cheese Burek, Rada’s Perfect Ushtipci, Cevapchichi and Crispy Calamari were the order of the day in a multi-ethnic celebration of Simply Great Italian Wines in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.

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Lombard – Venetian denomination conquers international markets and critics

2018 more than 17.5 million bottles, a positive growth trend as international promotion continues. Very positive numbers for Lugana DOC, which closes 2018 with a definite “plus” registering a growth trend of more than 8.6% compared to the previous year, for a total bottle production of 17,578,533. Astonishing numbers which reconfirm the success of Lugana white in international markets with a turnover of 70% in exports, led by Northern Europe and the USA.

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Another case of Alzheimer’s

When I looked at my email in-box this afternoon, I encountered one of those messages that I dread: yet another person I know has been institutionalized as a result of Alzheimer’s. The sadness conveyed by this person’s partner was clear in their words. They had been together for decades. I could feel the loss. By coincidence, around the same time that I read this email I found myself looking at commentaries regarding Trump’s budget proposals. Drastic cuts in everything except for the military. Though this may, at first glance, seem to have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s, think again. Currently, Alzheimer’s is afflicting at least 6 million people in the USA; it is expected to expand to more than double that by the middle of the 21st century. Yet addressing Alzheimer’s appears to not be a priority of the White House. The implications of the increase in Alzheimer’s patients goes far beyond the personal loss and sadness experienced by families. We are talking about immense healthcare costs. As I have witnessed in my extended family, an individual who is otherwise healthy can suffer a long and slow decline that can be not only emotionally intolerable for all involved but immensely expensive, sometimes to the point of personal bankruptcy. Yet, this is not an affliction that the White House, to borrow from a recent article in STAT [“Like Nixon’s ‘war on cancer,’ President Trump should open a war on Alzheimer’s” https://www.statnews.com/2019/02/05/president-trump-should-open-war-on-alzheimers/].

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R. Kelly's Political Nightmare!

What happened on last Thursday with R&B sensation and one of America's favorite crooners, who many also love to hate, Robert Kelly, was not a criminal act but a political move. When I heard about the Feds sneaking behind trees and cars waiting on Kelly to show his alleged menacing face outside of his home so they could apprehend him without fanfare and interference, was proof that he finally crossed a line within the halls of government. There had to be some serious conversations behind closed doors of some very powerful political operatives locally and nationally to approve to have the Feds remove Kelly completely from society. Since he was abducted, we have not heard a word from nor have we seen images of him being detained. There have been some recent open discussions about whether he'll receive bond or even how much Robert will have to pay for his limited freedom. It's almost possible that Kelly will never see the light of day again as a free man to perform for his dazed public. Yes, as our criminal court system goes, he'll surface to answer to his dozens of charges against him by women across the country who has claimed foul treatment or unlawful acts of aggression against minors and/or unwilling participants. But because of the political climate of America today and with a presidential election approaching, we can be for sure, that there was some communication with some very meaningful parties to take action, now against Mr. Kelly. And for him, whatever he has done to harm these women and caused their families unjust pain and agony, Kelly will be present to finally, in their minds, pay for his illegal misdeeds.

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Teen first in Illinois to take USA Boxing Nationals

Joliet brings home a win

Easter weekend 2021 had a special significance for the family of 13 year-old Joseph ‘JoJo’ Awinongya of Joliet. He is the first Illinois resident in history to win the USA Boxing National Championships. He took the 2020 title Easter weekend winning the medal in Shreveport Louisiana.

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Forest Preserve's winter lineup

Celebrate the new year with a French twist, dabble in some Scandinavian outdoor philosophies or sign up for some webinars to learn more about the preserves while staying warm and toasty inside. Online registration for these Forest Preserve District of Will County programs is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup:

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Local School districts challenge students to succeed with remote learning

Economic disparities play role in education during pandemic

From keeping students engaged during online learning to concerns about them slipping academically and making sure they show up for all remote classes, there are a host of potential pitfalls that can occur when students are not physically in school.

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UNICEF raises $1.15 million at annual gala

On Saturday evening, the Midwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA hosted the Twelfth Annual UNICEF Gala Chicago at The Geraghty to raise funds for UNICEF’s work to save and improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. The event honored Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, with the UNICEF Children First Award for their remarkable efforts to help eradicate the world of vaccine preventable diseases. Their work has helped achieve a 99.9 percent reduction in polio cases around the world. Over the course of the evening, guests experienced interactive UNICEF installations and enjoyed a seated dinner. Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer gave special remarks honoring the 30th anniversary of her grandmother Audrey Hepburn being named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Guests also heard remarks from Gala Co-Chairs Kathy Brock & Doug Regan and Hilary & Sean Scott, Chair of the Midwest Board of UNICEF USA Ashish Prasad and Midwest Regional Director Elizabeth McCostlin, as well as entertainment from Musicality and Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra. Approximately 500 guests attended the gala that raised $1.15 million in support of UNICEF’s global mission.

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Shorewood-Troy Public Library offers help completing Census

Shorewood - Shorewood-Troy Public Library is preparing to help area residents with their obligation to complete the 2020 Census. The library will host a Census Kiosk next to the Reference desk on the main floor across from Circulation. The kiosk will have Chrome-books connected to the internet where individuals can safely and securely complete the census online. If people have questions or need assistance, a Reference librarian will be stationed nearby.

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Joliet Central High partners with J-Power USA for dual enrollment

To meet the demand for highly skilled technicians in Will County, J-Power USA sponsored the tuition costs of one Joliet Township High School senior to participate in the Advanced Integrated Maintenance Program (AIM) at Joliet Junior College (JJC). JTHS seniors enrolled in the program take a series of 4 dual credit, college level courses held on the JJC Campus from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. during the weekday.

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Forest Preserve programs feature lots of free activities

Help clean a preserve, take a hike or learn about the underappreciated animals you can see out your window during September Forest Preserve District of Will County programs. Registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. (Face masks are now required for both indoor and outdoor programs). Here is the lineup: NAPERVILLE- Riverview Farmstead Tour: Discover three generations of the Clow Family during this Forest Preserve District program from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Riverview Farmstead Preserve. A naturalist will share stories of life from the early days of the farm and welcome you inside the 19th-century buildings. The program is free and for ages 12 or older. Register online by Sept. 16 or call 815-886-1467. ROMEOVILLE- Living History Encounter – Storage and Containers: Experience local history up close and personal during this Forest Preserve District drop in program from noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at Isle a la Cache Museum. Learn about how people in the 18th-century would store things like food and water. See different storage containers made from natural elements like bark and reeds, and try your hand at making your own basket! Registration is not required.

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Nature foundation’s native plant sale begins online March 13

Plants can be picked up May 14-15

Gardening enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to use native plants to enhance their home landscapes this year thanks to a trio of plant sales planned by The Nature Foundation of Will County. First up is a spring fling with plant plugs. The “Bringing Nature Home Native Plant Sale” will feature online sales via the foundation’s website, willcountynature.org, from March 13-May 1. A storefront for orders will pop up online on opening day.

The Mueller report and the question of US foreign policy

If there had been any question about Russian interference in the 2016 election, that is now a settled matter in light of the Mueller Report. Whether that interference had a demonstrable impact on the election results will be debated for years to come, but Robert Mueller’s committee established, early in the report, sufficient evidence of the scale and scope of interference that further debate about “whether” is pointless. Yet, what has been interesting throughout this entire period of discussion of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections has been the hypocrisy of most so-called mainstream commentators and political officials. On the one hand, they have expressed absolute outrage concerning alleged Russian interference. They have pointed to how the manipulation of social media and hacking, along with possible efforts to affect voter registration rolls, compromises the system and could call into question the legitimacy of any election result. This is all true. So, where is the hypocrisy? It is found in the actions carried out historically by the US government in its various forms of covert activity over most of the 20th century and to this day. Yet, this sort of covert activity receives precious little attention from mainstream commentators and politicians. They act as if it was never done. We can start with coups. Whether the 1953 coup which overthrew the Mossadegh government in Iran; the 1954 coup in Guatemala against Arbenz; the 1964 coup in then British Guiana against Chedi Jagan; the 1973 coup against Allende in Chile; the 2009 coup in Honduras against Zelaya; or the contemplated coup today against the Maduro government in Venezuela, the US government has rarely restrained itself from undoing democratically elected leaders. Coups are among the most extreme forms of electoral interference. The USA, through the Central Intelligence Agency and/or numerous other intelligence organizations has offered financial and organizational support to political candidates and parties and conducted dis-information campaigns against individuals and political parties that were perceived as a threat to the interests of the US ruling groups.

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County awarded funds for food and shelter

Will County has been chosen to receive $364,624 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county. The selection was made by the National Board that is chaired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.; The Salvation Army; United Jewish Communities; and United Way of America. The national board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas across the country.

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What COVID-19 reveals about racism in America

Unhooded and Exposed: It’s shameful that the novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic should be a model for human behavior. That is, COVID-19 does not discriminate. But among death, severe disease, and toilet paper depletion, xenophobia and racism to have found their way into how the disease will be remembered.

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New speakers at Veggie Fest

Veggie Fest Chicago, now in its 13th year, is one of the largest vegetarian food and wellness festivals in North America. The two-day festival, which drew record-breaking crowds from around the world in 2017 will be held on August 10 and 11, 2019, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, at our new location, Danada South Park at Navistar Drive, Lisle, IL This year Veggie Fest will have over twenty prominent speakers on healthy living. Among them are: John Salley, four-time NBA champion and former Chicago Bull, is a vegan and wellness advocate speaking on Elite Athletes on the Plant-based Diet: Saturday, August 10that 4pm in the Main Tent. We are also jazzed about local Chicago doctor of Rehabilitative Medicine, Dr. Kenny Duggal, whose talk, Eat Green, Get Lean takes place on Sunday, August 11 that 4PM in the Main Tent. John Salley went to Chicago to play with Michael Jordan as part of the Bulls’ 1996 championship team.

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Forest Preserve’s MLK Day of Service activities

The Times Weekly newwire If you are looking for diversions in January, consider signing up for one of three MLK Day of Service activities being offered by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Also on tap is an owl hike and programs about 18th-century hats, hot tea, and tree bark. Online registration is available on the Event Calendar at ReconnectWithNature.org. Here is the lineup: Channahon Hoot Hoot Hooray – Family Owl Hike: 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, January 14, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Meet inside for a brief discussion then head outside to explore McKinley Woods and quietly listen for magical and elusive owls and other creatures of the night. Free, all ages. Register online by Jan. 13 or call 815-722-9470.