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Archive → May 25th, 2016

Homer 33C Junior High students prepare for performance at Carnegie Hall

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High


Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

Carnegie-bound students rehearse before school May 25 with Homer Junior High School choral director Diane Pullara.


For Immediate Release:

May 25, 2016


Homer Junior High students prepare for performance at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie-bound students rehearse before school May 25 with Homer Junior High School choral director Diane Pullara.

As the school year winds down, 13 Homer Junior High School students are kicking into high gear as they prepare for a performance at Carnegie Hall.


The students, who were selected to join an elite group of musicians from around the world, will be performing at Carnegie Hall in late June.


“This is quite an honor,” said Homer Junior High choral director Diane Pullara who nominated the students and is now helping them prepare six pieces of music for the performance, including songs written in Arabic, Swahili, Hebrew and Spanish.


“It’s pretty rigorous music,” she said, making preparations intense.


More than 900 students auditioned for the Middle School Honors Performance Series early this year. Only about 400 were selected to participate, including 200 choir students, 105 band students and 105 orchestra students.


Among them were 14 Homer Junior High Show Choir students.


“I am so proud of these young musicians,” said Pullara. “Being able to perform and create music with other students at this elite level is so rewarding.  Performing in Carnegie Hall is incredible! This will truly be an experience these young performers with never forget.”


While 14 Homer Junior High students were selected for the honor, only 13 are able to make the trip to New York. One student has a scheduling conflict, said Pullara.


In New York, students will attend several days of rehearsal with renowned music conductors and then perform what they’ve learned at Carnegie Hall.


“Carnegie Hall represents excellence in musical performance,” said Pullara, “making it the perfect venue for the Honors Performance Series to showcase its elite student performers.”


This is not the first time Homer Junior High Show Choir students have been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall.


Last year, six students were selected for the honor and in 2014, the first year of the Middle School Honors Performance Series, two students were selected.


This year’s Middle School Honors Performance Series will be held June 22-26.


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Source: Will County News

Gov. Rauner Talks with Dan & Amy on AM560 The Answer

Gov. Rauner Says He Is Optimistic Dems Will Revolt to Do a Budget Deal

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Dan & Amy this morning to discuss the possibility of a state budget before time runs out in the legislative session and to discuss the possibility of agreeing on a new contract with AFSCME before his patience runs out.

Source: Will County News

It’s Not Disney World–The VA Scandal Two Years Later

It’s Not Disney World–The VA Scandal Two Years Later
Adam Andrzejewski
otb Disney VA graphic

Two years ago, Americans were horrified to learn that as many as 1,000 of our nation’s veterans had died while waiting for medical care at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Any hopes of reforming the dysfunctional VA culture were dashed two days ago when Secretary Robert McDonald made an appalling comparison to waiting in line at Disney parks.

McDonald said, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience.”
VA Secretary Robert McDonald compared VA wait times to those at Disney just days ahead of Memorial Day 2016

McDonald’s shockingly tone deaf and calloused statement has already prompted calls for his resignation. That couldn’t come soon enough.

Today, nearly half a million veterans still wait to see a VA doctor. According to USA Today, more than 480,000 veterans were waiting more than 30 days for an appointment.

Later this week, our organization at OpenTheBooks.com will release the study, The VA Scandal Two Years Later. Our new VA salary/bonus data and analysis shows that while long wait times persisted, the VA added 39,454 new positions to their payroll between 2012-2015. Fewer than 1 in 11 of these new positions (3,591) were ‘Medical Officers,’ i.e. doctors. Sick veterans can’t get an appointment, because there just aren’t enough doctors.

During this period, $99.1 billion in salaries and bonuses flowed to 354,960 VA employees.

So who at the VA is receiving how much, for what type of work, and where are they located? We mapped the latest compensation data by employee and job title to local VA center ZIP codes across America. Search the salaries and bonuses at your local VA medical center here.


Mapping 354,960 VA Employees Costing Taxpayers $99.1 Billion (2012-2015)


Here is what the latest VA employment and spending data shows:

Last year, even after ‘reforms’ were instituted, we found that one of every two bonuses continued to flow to the same people who collected bonuses during the scandal. Read our Forbes column, The VA Scandal One Year Later (5/2015).
The VA lawyered-up during the scandal – adding 175 more lawyers (2012-2015) – spending $454.4 million on ‘General Attorney’ salaries and bonuses. With 1,060 lawyers on staff, the VA now has more lawyers than all but the fourteen largest private law firms in the USA.
In an attempt to improve its image, the VA has spent $99.4 million was spent on ‘Public Affairs’ (PR) salaries and bonuses since 2012. In 2015, the VA employed a PR corps of 304 officers – up from 262 officers in 2012.
In 1996, the VA had zero police officers with arrest and firearm authorization. By 2008, the VA employed 3,175 officers and, by 2015, more than 3,700 VA personnel had arrest and firearm authority. Nearly $2 million was spent on riot helmets, defender shields, body armor, a “milo return fire cannon system,” armored mobile shields, Kevlar blankets, tactical gear and equipment for crowd control.


Source: Will County News