WBEZ | Bolingbrook http://www.wbez.org/tags/bolingbrook Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois gets $1.5 million for fire departments http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gets-15-million-fire-departments-104698 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; Fire departments in Illinois will share more than $1.5 million in grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.</p><p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the grants, which come from the Department of Homeland Security&#39;s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. In the Chicago area, fire departments in Bellwood, Bolingbrook, Calumet City, North Riverside and Leyden will receive money. Calumet City will get nearly $380,000 and Westchester will receive about $440,000.</p><p>In central Illinois, departments in Standard, Urbana and Elkhart will receive funding. The southern Illinois towns of Alton, Ashley, Centralia, Granite City and Washington County will also get money.</p></p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 09:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gets-15-million-fire-departments-104698 Foster glides past Biggert after race that looked tight http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/foster_smal_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Defying opinion polls that depicted a neck-and-neck contest, Democrat Bill Foster easily defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert in the 11th Congressional District on Tuesday. With nearly all precincts reporting, Foster had almost 58 percent of the vote; Biggert had 42 percent.</p><p>In his victory speech, Foster expressed misgivings about the race&rsquo;s negative television advertising, a months-long barrage funded by campaign contributions and outside spending totaling roughly $14 million. &ldquo;I sense that both Congresswoman Biggert and myself were forced into an increasingly ugly world of politics today &mdash; a world that we were both deeply uncomfortable with,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Biggert, a seven-term House member, appeared to blame her loss on congressional redistricting controlled by Illinois Democrats. &ldquo;This race wasn&rsquo;t supposed to happen,&rdquo; she told supporters in her concession speech. &ldquo;They thought that I would shy away from a tough race in a district tailor-made for my opponent, and they were wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Other factors contributing to Biggert&rsquo;s defeat included strong Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and growing Latino numbers in Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs. In the 11th District &mdash; which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Joliet &mdash; Hispanics constitute 22 percent of the population. Foster rallied them by pointing to Biggert&rsquo;s&nbsp;vote against the DREAM Act, a stalled bill that would have provided many young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.</p><p>Despite a bitter tone through much of the race, the candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.</p><p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who chose to buy private insurance.</p><p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.</p><div><p>The election marks a comeback for Foster, 55, who served almost three years in a nearby House district. Republican Randy Hultren unseated Foster in a 2010 election that swept the GOP into control of the House.</p><p>As the Republicans retain their majority, Foster is vowing to work with them by focusing on, as he puts it, &ldquo;numbers instead of political positions.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We have to make sure that government investments are as cost-effective and highest-return as possible,&rdquo; he told WBEZ late Tuesday. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s something that Democrats and Republicans agree on.&rdquo;</p><p>Foster said bipartisan points of unity could include cutting &ldquo;military systems the Pentagon doesn&rsquo;t want&rdquo; and encouraging a rebirth of domestic manufacturing. &ldquo;One of the best things about the ongoing recovery is that U.S. manufacturing is leading that,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Foster also had a prediction about the election results. He said they would end acrimonious debates about Obamacare and financial reregulation.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 Biggert, Foster turn to big names to drum up votes in tight House race http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Judy Biggert AP cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>After a firestorm of negative television advertising in their tight Illinois congressional race, Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and Democrat Bill Foster are trying to get their supporters to the polls using a few bells and whistles.<br><br>Foster, a former one-term U.S. House member, started robocalls Monday to potential voters in the suburban Chicago district using the voice of former President Bill Clinton, who said the candidate&rsquo;s experience in science and business provided &ldquo;the kind of common-sense experience and leadership we need in Washington.&rdquo;<br><br>Biggert, a seven-term House member, came up with an attention grabber of her own. In a YouTube video, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk praised her as &ldquo;one of the ultimate suburban moms who should be representing us in the Congress next year.&rdquo; Kirk, the state&rsquo;s top Republican, has kept a low profile since suffering a stroke in January.<p>&nbsp;</p>The uplifting words from Clinton and Kirk stood out after months of mind-numbing accusations and counteraccusations in the TV ads. The money behind those ads flowed in as polls suggested the 11th District contest was one of the closest House races in the country. By October 17, according to their latest federal filings, the Biggert and Foster campaigns had raked in more than $2.5 million each.<p>&nbsp;</p>And that&rsquo;s just the beginning. The race attracted more than $8 million in outside money, according to the Federal Election Commission. Figures from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics last month showed Biggert&rsquo;s campaign with an edge in that spending.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Friday, Foster resorted to lending his campaign $500,000. The money paid for his final TV ad, according to Foster campaign aide Aviva Bowen. &ldquo;We have to keep pace with the millions that [Biggert], her allies and the rightwing super-PACs have put up in false claims on TV,&rdquo; Bowen said.<p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert&rsquo;s team saw the loan differently. &ldquo;Congressman Foster is clearly desperate and terrified that Illinois voters are about to reject him and his dishonest smear campaigns once again,&rdquo; Biggert spokesman Gill Stevens wrote.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Monday, the candidates made a flurry of stops across the barbell-shaped district, which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Joliet and other suburbs west and southwest of Chicago. Foster&rsquo;s campaign said U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) was joining him on afternoon visits to sites set up for campaign volunteers. A Biggert aide said the Republican would attend a Joliet dinner hosted by the local chamber of commerce.<p>&nbsp;</p>Amid the combative TV ads, both candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.<p>&nbsp;</p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who choose to buy private insurance.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.<p></p>Both Biggert and Foster said they were trying to protect the middle class but neither seemed to have a personal stake in reversing the economic squeeze of recent decades.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert, 75, lives in Hinsdale and grew up in Wilmette, a suburb north of Chicago. Her father was a Walgreen Co. executive who headed the drugstore chain in the 1960s. She received a Northwestern University law degree and clerked for a federal judge. In politics, she began on a Hinsdale school board and made it to the U.S. House.<p>&nbsp;</p>Foster, 55, and his brother launched a theater lighting business that made them rich. Foster, a Harvard-educated physicist, also spent more than 20 years at the U.S. Department of Energy&rsquo;s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, a suburb west of Chicago.<p>&nbsp;</p><div>Foster won a 2008 special election to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, a former longtime House speaker. The Democrat served just one full term before Randy Hultgren, a Republican state senator, unseated him in 2010. Foster moved to a Naperville section included in the 11th, a new congressional district with borders drawn by state Democrats after the 2010 census.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 Pakistan Independence Day: What should Pakistani-Americans feel? http://www.wbez.org/story/pakistan-independence-day-what-should-pakistani-americans-feel-90502 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-12/IMAG0574.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The nation of Pakistan celebrates its 64th birthday this Sunday and, as usual, this occasion will provoke Pakistani Americans to consider what obstacles the South Asian country faces and the direction that it’s heading. This year the area’s largest Pakistan independence party was held in suburban Bolingbrook. Organizers held the event in July so the festivities would not coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.</p><p>These rowdy teenage boys are chanting “Pakistan zindabad," or “long live Pakistan.” The slogan fits right in at this Pakistan independence celebration at the grounds of Bolingbrook’s Performing Arts Center. Nearly five thousand have come for the festivities and that means there are plenty of people to answer this question: Pakistan’s got some serious troubles. Its economy stinks. It can’t educate most of its kids, and there’s a lot of political violence. So what, exactly, are Pakistani-Americans celebrating?</p><p>At the entrance of the park grounds, I find Dr. Mujahid Ghazi.</p><p>GHAZI: I’m here to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence day which is my birth country. I feel proud of this event because you know what all the stuff that is going on the hardships, the&nbsp; killings, the targeted killings, the corruption and out of that if some people want to rejoice and remember the independence day, then I am with them.</p><p>Standing nearby is 21-year-old Ali Zaidi. He’s sporting the Pakistani cricket team’s green athletic jersey. For the record, Ali trusts the Pakistan cricket team … but the government?</p><p>ZAIDI: I don’t trust the Pakistani government at all and the reason being is that what they promised they haven’t fulfilled.</p><p>The festival offers a lot of stuff to buy, of course. Inside tents packed with clothing and jewelry, I find 18-year-old Mariam Kamal. She is brutally honest while she eats her mango Kulfi, a kind of Pakistani Ice cream.</p><p>Kamal says she’s not so patriotic.</p><p>KHAN: But you’re here celebrating at the festival--why?</p><p>KAMAL:&nbsp; Because my parents forced me to.</p><p>Parents and dictatorships--both feared in Pakistani culture.&nbsp; Another attendee, Haaris Ahmad is a father.</p><p>HAARIS: My son was saying to me that why are we coming out and supporting this event? And the issue is you have to separate the government from the people.</p><p>KHAN: How long do you think Pakistanis have to wait before we start to see conditions get better in Pakistan?</p><p>HAARIS: It’s a country with a lot of potential, a lot of good people just lacking the will to take control of things themselves.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>I catch the smell of smoked Tandoori Chicken and kabobs, and follow it up to the top of a large hill. That’s where families like Amna Shah’s sit to enjoy some music.</p><p>KHAN: What are you celebrating, like Pakistan faces so many problems today. There’ s problem after problem, the country has been struck with strife again and again…</p><p>SHAH: Right. I think Pakistan was built on hope and we still have that hope somewhere you know that down the road Pakistan will be bigger and better…</p><p>“Hope.” It’s a buzzword I get from a lot of people at the Pakistan Independence festival. Dozens tell me “hope” is what keeps them believing in Pakistan. Some people, like Dr. Mohamed Murtaza&nbsp; Arain, remind me that Pakistan was built to create better lives for Muslims. At least, that was the hope when Pakistan split from India in 1947.</p><p>ARAIN: The Hindus and Muslims in Indiahad nothing in common. So I believe in two nation theory. Even though we didn’t realize the full potential of Pakistan but I’m not giving up yet because in 1776 the forefathers of America under the leadership of George Washington created what we know as the United States of America, from Britain.</p><p>He swears there’s a point to this history lesson.</p><p>ARAIN: And hundred years after independence this country nearly split into two: North and South. Thanks to Lincoln the country and the Union was saved. So 64 years is really a very small time in the history of a nation.</p><p>KHAN: So, you’re waiting for the Pakistani Abraham Lincoln?</p><p>ARAIN: Yes, I am waiting and who knows you might be looking at one!</p><p>The Pakistan Independence festival goes into the night. Before I leave, I hear that Pakistani-Americans here feel conflicted. They’re willing to point out shortcomings in Pakistan as a nation, but they like being connected to that country, too. It’s a mix of celebration and condemnation, a mix of feelings that doesn’t get in the way of a good party.</p></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 12:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pakistan-independence-day-what-should-pakistani-americans-feel-90502