Plainfield pushes medical marijuana facilities

According to the Herald-News online, the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act states that one cultivation center can be in each state police district and Plainfield village trustees voiced support to compete with other cities for Illinois State Police District 5′s dispensary.

Plainfield trustee Paul Fray stated that staff has been directed to lobby the state to register this dispensary in Plainfield and that, “There certainly are concerns, but the state highly regulates it and it would be closely monitored.”

Illinois State Police District 5 covers Will, Grundy and Kendall counties, so competition may be high. Adding to the competition, the state law also limits the number of dispensaries that can be dispersed throughout Illinois.

Fay said that several trustees were not happy that the state took control of home rule rights to approve medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers on a more local level.

He also voices his personal opinion on the law passed on August 1st stating, “First and foremost, I have had family members and friends who have medical marijuana. I am not a proponent of smoking pot, but I know firsthand how it helps comfort and ease the pain of people with certain illnesses.”

Bill Foster to lead discussion at university

U.S. Representative Bill Foster of Illinois – District 11 will lead a discussion with educators and students regarding the Learning Opportunities with Creation of Open Source Textbooks (Low Cost) Act on April 22.

According to the university, the discussion will be 2 p.m. on Tuesday in the Executive Conference room in Donovan Hall in the Motherhouse at the University of St. Francis main campus.

According to a poll conducted by the Horatio Alger Association, 57 percent of high school students are concerned about having enough funds for college. The College Board estimates the average cost of textbooks and supplies for the 2012-2013 school year to be about $1,225. The median annual household income during this period actually decreased by $3,000. All of these factors taken together signify that college is becoming less affordable for American families, according to information provided by Foster’s office.

To address these concerns, the Low Cost Act would create an initial program at the National Science Foundation to produce college freshman-level open source textbooks in physics, calculus, and chemistry. These materials would be posted on a Federal Open Source Materials website and be available for the public to download free of charge.

The bill would also require federal agencies that spend more than $10 million on scientific and educational outreach to use 2 percent of those funds collaborate with the National Science Foundation to develop these open source educational materials.

Providing students and educational institutions with access to high quality, low-cost, and downloadable educational materials would reduce the overall cost of education. According to Foster, it would also significantly increase the speed with which corrections and new discoveries make it into the classroom.
The University of St. Francis is committed to making college education affordable and accessible for students, according to USF President Arvid Johnson. Johnson also noted that 94 percent of USF freshman receive some financial assistance. USF provides more than $16 million annually in institutional funds as gift assistance to students.

“This conversation is an important one, and we appreciate that Congressman Foster is bringing it to USF to hear from our students and faculty,” Johnson said.

USF approves purchase of Guardian Angel Community Services

Last week, the University of St. Francis board trustees officially approved the purchase of Guardian Angel Community Services. The former orphanage, known locally as the Guardian Angel Home, will move to a new location.
According to the university, the College of Nursing will be moved to the building.
The University of St. Francis Sister Dolores Zemont, president of Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, said it is a good time for Guardian Angel to find another home because the large, old building had become difficult to maintain. She described the move as good for everyone involved.
“We needed to sell the building, and the university was willing to buy it for their program so Guardian Angel Community Services needed to move,” she said. “It’s a win-win-win for all three institutions, so we’re all pleased with the various moves.”
Guardian Angel plans to move this summer to 168 N. Ottawa St. in downtown Joliet and USF is set to move its nursing college to the building in fall 2016.
The Guardian Angel building will become the new home for the Cecily and John Leach College of Nursing. The nursing program needs more space, said Nancy Pohlman, the university’s executive director of community relations.
“We have a general need for space as well,” she said. “Certainly expanding our nursing college is very exciting for us.”
The move is a historic one for everyone involved, said Ines Kutlesa, chief executive officer for Guardian Angel Community Services. The new location will meet the needs of the organization, she said, which annually serves almost 30,000 people.
“We’re excited to continue on our mission to help people improve the quality of their lives, and all of our operations will continue,” Kutlesa said.
Not included in the university’s purchase was the Franciscan Learning Center, which is not associated with Guardian Angel Community Services but is sponsored by Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. The center will remain at Plainfield and Theodore.
Guardian Angel Community Services provides residential treatment and shelter care, along with other community-based services for children and families. It is the oldest nonprofit in Will County and was an orphanage until the early 1970s. In 1973, the agency became a licensed child welfare agency. It was renamed Guardian Angel Community Services in 2005.
According to a letter from Kutlesa, the move will come with significant costs, with furnishings, equipment, appliances and other items estimated to cost about $60,000. Agency officials are asking for contributions to cover the expenses.
For every $100 pledged, people will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a half-carat diamond in the cut of their choice from David Nelson Exquisite Jewelers in Joliet. The drawing will take place and winners contacted April 19.