Too far gone and costs too much?

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, June 26, 2014
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“And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged Him that he might be with Him (Mark 5:17-18).”

There are two groups of people mentioned in the passage above. One group wants to be with Jesus and the other doesn’t. Let’s compare the reasons of both.

The formerly demon possessed man desires Jesus because He not only changed his life, Jesus saved him from certain death. Before, the man was controlled by the father of lies (John 8:44). Death held him. Life left him hopeless and bound. Though he could break chains, he couldn’t break the power of sin. No one was able to help him. His only company was a legion of demons which led him to do the things that brought pain and misery.

Jesus shows compassion towards the man. There is no power struggle as He confronts the legion of demons. The demons know it is time to leave and so they request another dwelling place. Once free from the demonic control, the man is now in his right mind. Everything is different. No more deception, no fear of death. Sin no longer has him bound. His new Friend is one for life. The love and pleasing Lordship of Jesus becomes the man’s deep desire.

On the other hand, the community wants Jesus out. Why? It’s because Jesus messed up their economics. The salvation of the demon possessed man cost around 2,000 pigs. That is a lot of pork. It happens often in the Bible. Eternal benefits demand temporal sacrifice.

While being shocked at the loss of investment, the people didn’t see the value of the man’s life. Pigs are replaceable, but a soul is not. When a person dies in their sins, he suffers the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

The spiritual world of wickedness knows Jesus has more authority and power. Hence, Satan relies on the deceit of riches to draw many away from God. Today, we are reminded of the power of Christ and His compassion for souls. No one is too far gone to be rescued by God’s love and mercy. No sin debt exceeds the redeeming merit of Christ blood shed on the cross. There is no sin that Jesus can’t overcome.span>

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
—Proverbs 11:4

Union members want to work

Union protest Autumn Leaves construction
Jennifer Rice/staff photographer
Union members from Lake County Building & Construction Trades Council are upset that Autumn Leaves is neglecting signatory workers with the construction of its newest memory care facility in Gurnee.

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at

GURNEE — With the backdrop of a white tent, red ribbons and dignitaries, union members from across Lake County united July 30 to protest the groundbreaking of Autumn Leaves, a $12 million, 29,000-square-foot building.

According to Lake County Building & Construction Trades Council President Pete Olson, the Texas-based Autumn Leaves is using out-of-state workers. Except for the block work, all contractors so far are non-signatory.

As a red ribbon was cut and pictures taken, 10 various inflatable Scabby the Rats and a cockroach lined North Hunt Club Road. Union members handed out flyers shaming Autumn Leaves, LaSalle Group, Inc., and Lake Superior Contractors for putting greed over integrity.

Union protest Autumn Leaves construction
Jennifer Rice/staff photographer
Scabby the Rat sits next to the Autumn Leaves announcement sign to alert motorists construction is being done by non-signatory and out-of-state workers.

In the past, Olson said his organization has reached out to Autumn Leaves to discuss how projects can be done with skilled union labor, be on time and under budget — by people who live in the area.

“We’ve had no communication with them. We want to have the opportunity to bid and do the work,” he explained.

“Today is a very good showing of union members. There is lot’s of support here today,” Olson added.

Homeland Security chief visits detention center

Illinois Immigration Detention Center
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
From left, Rep. Bill Foster, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Sen. Dick Durbin met with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security in Broadview June 13 to discuss federal policy regarding deportations.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at

BROADVIEW — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson took a tour of the immigrant detention center in Broadview June 13, viewing some of the impact his agency has on undocumented immigrants in this country.

That private tour, as well as a meeting with Chicago area immigration activists, serves as a basis for information Johnson plans to take back to President Obama as he reviews the ongoing deportation policy. Immigration reform proponents are hoping it’s another small step toward overall immigration reform in 2014.

“I’ve seen firsthand the suffering caused by deportations,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who joined Johnson in a press conference at the Dirksen Federal Building downtown, along with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster. “The pain felt by those individuals and their families is vast and not easily shaken by those of us who have witnessed it firsthand.”

The President’s review of deportation policies is expected to conclude in August. Johnson said he saw families being broken up at the detention center, and people who were about to be deported who had been here for years.

“We need to pass the (immigration reform) bill for a variety of reasons from my Homeland Security perspective,” said Johnson, “I’m looking at how we can fix that system within the confines of existing law.”

Illinois Immigration Detention Center
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited Illinois at Sen. Dick Durbin’s request to learn more about the local impact of his agency’s policies. Johnson also toured the Broadview Immigration Detention Center to talk with individuals awaiting imminent deportation.

Gutierrez criticized House Republicans for failing to act on a reform bill.

“The facts remain the same: too many families being broken up, too many deportations, too much detention, too few legal immigration avenues, and too little sense of urgency in Washington among House Republicans,” Gutierrez said. “We still have a window to pass sensible border security and immigration reform legislation, but Republicans must act soon or the President will have no choice but to take action within existing law.”

Gutierrez said if a vote in the House were called, enough Republicans support reform that the measure would be passed. A hurdle did surface, however, when Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated May 10 to Tea Party candidate David Brat — meaning a vote is even less likely to be called.

“I’ve always been a supporter of immigration reform, but seeing the ramifications of our broken system at the Broadview Detention Center this morning was a heartbreaking reminder of why we need to keep up the fight,” said Foster. “Our broken deportation system is needlessly tearing families apart. We cannot wait any longer. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform now. Next week I hope House Republicans will appoint new leaders who are ready to listen to the millions of voices calling for action. From businesses leaders, to religious leaders, to law enforcement, the call has never been louder: Congress must take action and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Fox Valley Building Trades Council wishes everyone a happy 4th of July

Fox Valley Building Trades Council

Painters District Council 30 wishes everyone a happy 4th of July

Painters District Council  30

Laborers’ Local 149 wishes everyone a happy 4th of July

Laborers' Local 149

SMART Local 265 wishes everyone a happy 4th of July


Sen. Linda Holmes (D_Aurora) wishes everyone a happy 4th of July

Sen. Linda Holmes

GreenFest 2014 caters to tradesmen

Aurora GreenFest 2014
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
The fifth annual Aurora GreenFest focuses on elements related to being green. Dick Damschen, left, and Brad Unger of Newlife Energy Solutions showed vehicles perfect for tradesmen because it saves them money on fuel costs and provides ample interior space.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at

AURORA — The city of Aurora held its 5th annual GreenFest June 14, and had interactive exhibits ranging from local farming all the way to high tech electric cars.

One of the premier exhibitors at the ‘Fest was Newlife Energy Solutions out of Plainfield, who specialize in converting gasoline or diesel engined vehicles to run on compressed natural gas. This means far fewer emissions, and much cheaper fuel costs for a fleet of vehicles.

Company CEO Brad Unger said one of his primary customers is tradesmen, and the firm is talking with the city of Aurora to convert some of their vehicle fleet to run on natural gas.

“Some small businesses can save up to $5,000 per month on their fuel costs, which is huge,” said Unger. He said the natural gas equivalent cost, including the energy used to power the pump at home, comes to around $1 per gallon.

The vehicles have identical performance, and only need to use about one tankful of gasoline per year, for cold starts in the winter. The cost per vehicle, including pump installation, comes to about $11,000.

“Most tradesmen need the space, so we put the natural gas tanks under the vehicle. You end up with identical carrying capacity inside the vehicle,” said Dick Damschen, vice president of sales.
The event also featured a children’s eco-village, local organic food, renewable clean energy, nature exhibits, a green car expo, and recycling extravaganza.

Commonwealth Edison was present to tout its Smart Meters, which will soon be installed in the area, with a 2018 completion date. About four million customers have already had their Smart Meters installed, with the company working south from Chicago. The meters are designed to communicate instantly with the power company, to identify outages and spikes in usage, making the whole grid more efficient.

The Solar House from the Illinois Solar Energy Association drew attention for its three 85 watt photovoltaic panels, which generate enough electricity to power approximately 25 percent of the needs of a family of four. It also has solar thermal tubes that can supply roughly half the hot water needs of a family of four.

Mutual Ground of Aurora was collecting used cell phones, which are then distributed to women in need. “We give these to clients who may not have a way to communicate. It’s a great help,” said volunteer Lupe Gomez. For further info, visit Mutual Ground.

The Aurora GreenFest was made possible through a major grant from The Dunham Fund, whose mission is helping build the foundation for a better tomorrow.

What’s a union boss?

By Mike Matejka
Special to the
Fox Valley Labor News
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throughout the primary, Republican nominee Bruce Rauner has targeted what he calls “union bosses.” The Illinois Education Association (IEA) the state’s largest teachers’ union, had a Representative Assembly meeting in Chicago a few months ago, where Democratic Governor Patrick Quinn faced off against Rauner. IEA elected President Cinda Klickna asked Rauner who he meant by union bosses. He replied directly to her, “You’re one.”

It was a gutsy move by Rauner to reply to Klickna in that way. But did he forget that Klickna was elected by the people in the room?

On the job, we don’t get to elect our boss. When we go to work for someone, they are in charge. They rule and we obey, though sometimes we do talk back. However, a labor union is not a business. Union leaders are elected, not self-appointed. Unions are owned by their members, who vote for their leaders.

In that IEA assembly were 1,200 teachers and support staff. Most were building representatives, elected by their fellow workers. The majority still works full-time in schools, but after hours, they represent their fellow workers. This basic workplace democracy is what a union is all about.

In McLean County, the Mitsubishi workers have voted for United Auto Workers representation. Since the union organized at the plant, there have been six different union presidents. No one is the boss and owns the union. Members who feel they can do better run for the office. If they can find support, they win. The union president serves at the workers’ discretion. Every three years the members vote whether or not to retain or replace their elected leadership.

If politicians want to criticize labor union involvement in Illinois politics, feel free to do so. But using the term “union boss” is a cheap shot. Union leaders are elected by the workers, who must approve spending any union funds or contract ratification. In the workplace, we don’t get to elect our boss; but in the union, you do get to elect your leader. I hope candidate Rauner, political commentators and other public voices will respect that basic workplace democracy a union brings and drop the term “union boss.”

Mike Matejka is the Governmental Affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council, covering 11,000 union Laborers in northern Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. He lives in Bloomington with his wife and daughter and their two dogs. He served on the Bloomington City Council for 18 years, is a past president of the McLean County Historical Society and Vice-President of the Illinois Labor History Society.