Aurora Beacon-News - Oct. 17, 2015 - Original article

By Steve Lord

The east and west bridges on Indian Trail in Aurora are open to traffic after two years.

It took that long to finish the $9.5 million project, funded 80 percent by federal funds administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation, and 20 percent by Aurora motor fuel tax funds.

Officials and construction workers on the project gathered Friday for a dedication and ribbon cutting that included cookies, coffee and even cheeseburgers from White Castle – a business that put up with the construction on its doorstep.

"Indian Trail is an artery in our community," Mayor Tom Weisner said. "It is a critical, critical street."

Weisner pointed out that one in nine bridges across the country is considered structurally deficient. With Aurora replacing 10 bridges in the last 10 years – and two more planned by 2017 – they are trying to buck the national trend.

"Maybe one in nine bridges is structurally deficient, but it's not going to happen in Aurora, not on our watch, together," he said.

And working together is what officials gathered Friday said made the bridge project work. That included State Reps. Linda Chapa-Lavia and Stephanie Kifowit, both Democrats from Aurora; State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora; and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Aurora.

They all spoke of cooperation between local, state and federal officials to get the 826 feet of bridgeway, which handles 21,000 vehicles a day, finished.The work included the east and west sides of what is actually two bridges over the river.

"Look at what happens when all of us work together and we get along," Holmes said.

Officials said the bridges not only are wider and stronger, they incorporate Aurora's history. The bridges have a traditional design, but they include four plaques recognizing some of Aurora's history.

The bridges decks are wider, as are the sidewalks on both sides, to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Ken Schroth, Aurora's public works director, said there were 40,000 man hours of work on the bridges, and 10,000 hours of design. He added that the contractor, D Construction, was able to reuse many of the piers and beams of the old bridges, saving millions of dollars.

Chapa LaVia pointed out that the taxpayers should be thanked for ultimately funding the project.

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Fox Valley Labor News - Oct. 15, 2015 | Original column

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is facing financial difficulties. It draws funding from the state’s higher ed appropriations, and Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed that spending. IMSA has informed parents it faces major financial hurdles starting in December as a result. Fair labor laws and access to quality education ensure a thriving middle class, and right now it seems both are in peril.


By State Senator Linda Holmes

I am frustrated at the continued impasse in Springfield that now threatens to derail the education of some of our state’s brightest students.

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora draws some of the highest performing students from across Illinois to focus on science, technology, engineering and math. These are the fields which are critical to the continued success of our country’s role as a lead innovator. As Gov. Bruce Rauner refuses to work with the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly to craft a compromise budget, one of the unfunded portions is higher education. IMSA relies on part of that budget to fund its operations.

I helped approve a budget for higher education in Illinois. Gov. Rauner vetoed it, eliminating all funding.

Now, IMSA has informed parents that, absent state support for higher education, it does not know how it will continue operations come December.

At this point, I don’t know what will move Gov. Rauner off his anti-union agenda that everything, including the state budget and IMSA funding, is tied to. His inaction already closed the doors of a 60-year-old child care facility in Aurora and sent the message to physically and financially vulnerable Illinoisans that their state does not care about them.

This intractable situation is poised to affect children whose achievements could shape the future of the state in areas vital to our economic success. I want to urge your readers to call for an end to the budget stalemate, on behalf of schools like IMSA and the public universities that are also imperiled by this failure. I helped approve a spending plan that went to the governor.

He could have worked with us to make changes to what he didn’t like. Instead, he shut almost everything down. It is up to him to act like a statesman.

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I was at Vna Health Care in Aurora to talk about the NFL's A Crucial Catch Initiative. The program has provided another...

Posted by State Senator Linda Holmes on Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Category: Latest

Senator Holmes

Oct. 8, 2015

Dear Friends,

Senator Holmes at the grand reopening of the Oswego Library

As we pass into autumn, I was so pleased to mark an exciting new milestone for Oswego: The grand reopening of the Oswego Public Library! This revitalization project has been a long time in the making, and it ensures that Oswego’s library will remain an important fixture that continues to play a vital role in the community. Congratulations to everybody who worked so hard.

Here’s some more news from my office:

HONORED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY

After a year filled with important environmental discussions here in Springfield, I’m grateful to the Illinois Environmental Council’s recognition of my voting record. More importantly, I’m grateful they continue to advocate strongly for the preservation of our environment.

In addition to sponsoring legislation that would have banned ivory sales in Illinois, I also supported legislation to combat invasive plant species, protect an underground water source that feeds 15 Illinois counties and encourage better recycling of electronics by lowering local governments’ expenses in such efforts. I also opposed legislation allowing the hunting of bobcats in Illinois.

I’ll continue to stand firm on protecting the natural resources that make Illinois such a great place to live.

MUCH-NEEDED ADDICTION TREATMENT ACT OVERCOMES VETO

I joined with my colleagues in both chambers of the General Assembly and on both sides of the aisle to overwhelmingly override Governor Rauner’s veto of crucial addiction treatment services to address the ongoing heroin epidemic in Illinois.

The Heroin Crisis Act is a shift away from a War on Drugs that has solved nothing and toward a treatment- and education-based approach to a public health issue. From expanded education and awareness campaigns to more comprehensive addiction treatment services and greater local pharmacy access to fast-acting overdose antidotes, the Heroin Crisis Act takes aim at this deadly problem from all angles. It could not have come at a more critical time, as Illinoisans are dying of narcotics overdose at one of the highest rates in the country.

I’m glad lawmakers set aside the quarrels that have dogged this session to come together on an issue where lives at stake every day and I hope to see more of such cooperation in the days ahead.

PICNIC SEASON RETURNS!

Senator Holmes and Representative Kifowit at a UAW picnic

And on a lighter note, September cooled off just enough to give Rep. Stephanie Kifowit and I a chance to join the United Auto Workers Local 145 for a lovely picnic. I hope the mild and sunny weather continues!

As always, I want to hear from you. Visit my website at www.SenatorLindaHolmes.com for the latest information and follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

Sincerely,
Linda Holmes
Senator Linda Holmes
42nd District – Illinois

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