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Illinois Issues
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Editor, author and Illinois native William Maxwell
Dorothy Alexander


Ray Serati of Springfield is the new deputy press secretary for Gov. George Ryan. After retiring from 33 years of service covering the Capitol for Copley News Service, Serati was media spokesman for Springfield's City Water, Light and Power. He replaces Nick Palazzolo of Springfield who left the governor's office for a position at IBM. 

Matt Vanover joined the governor's staff as assistant press secretary. He has been a reporter for the Springfield NBC affiliate WICS-TV for nine years. He fills the position left open by Jacqueline Price's departure. 

Sam Flood of Belleville takes over for John Yarbrough as the administrator of vehicle titles in Secretary of State Jesse White's office. Flood has served as a downstate field manager for the office. Yarbrough's resignation came as complaints mounted that some new car owners were waiting as long as three months to obtain titles.

Jacqueline Price of Springfield now heads the index department of the secretary of state's office. Price had been the director of public information and marketing at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. She had also worked in the press office of Gov. George Ryan. She replaces Cherri Montgomery of Springfield. Secretary White reassigned Montgomery to become a special assistant to the down-state director of driver services after Montgomery's department prepared mistake-riddled ballots for the Illinois electors in December.

Rick Goldstein joined the Statehouse bureau of Lee Enterprises. Goldstein was a reporter at The Southern Illinoisan for six years. He replaces John Patterson, who moved to the Statehouse bureau of The Daily Herald, based in Arlington Heights.

Chad Anderson is now at the Gannett News Service Statehouse bureau. Gannett publishes the Rockford Register-Star, where Anderson has been a reporter. He replaces Amy Burch, now the health issues reporter at the Decatur Herald & Review.


Gerald Shea of Burr Ridge is the new chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Democrat, who has been on the board since 1999, will serve a one-year term as chairman. He succeeds William Engelbrecht. Shea is president of the consulting firm of Shea, Paige and Rogal Inc. of Springfield. He was a state representative for a decade, beginning in 1967. 

Robert Vickrey of Peru is Gov. George Ryan's choice for a seat on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Vickrey is vice president of legislative affairs and economic development for Miller Group Media in LaSalle. He served on the Illinois Gaming Board from 1992 to January 2000. He became president of the board six months before his resignation, which came after he urged the board to approve the sale of a riverboat casino over the objections of regulatory staff and anti-gambling activists.

Lynne Sered of Evanston has been appointed to the Educational Labor Relations Board. She is a domestic affairs associate for the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation and is married to Rep. Jeffrey Schoenberg, a Democrat.

Also named to the Educational Labor Relations Board is Michael Prueter of Naperville, who is the general manager at Fairway Mortgage Inc.

The board monitors labor practices in public schools and colleges. The new members will earn an annual salary of $77,230. If the state Senate approves their appointments, Procter's and Sered's terms will run until October 17, 2006. 

Pending Senate confirmation, Norman Sula of Naperville will become a member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Sula is deputy assessor for the Lisle Township assessor's office. His annual salary on the board will be $70,620, and his term will run to mid-January 2006.

Updike donates Maxwell letters to the U of I

Two-time PulitZer Prize-Winning novelist John Updike has donated to the University of Illinois the last letters written to him by Illinois author and editor William Maxwell.

Maxwell was a Lincoln native and a 1930 alumnus of the U of I. From 1936 to 1976, he was the fiction editor of The New Yorker, where he and Updike became close friends. During his 40 years at the magazine, Maxwell edited not only Updike, but also John Cheever, Mary McCarthy, Vladimir Nabokov, J. D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and others. He wrote six novels and three collections of short stories. He dictated the last of the eight donated letters, but died on July 31, 2000, before it could be postmarked. 

The letters will be kept in the university's rare book room and special collections library, which has held Maxwell's papers since their donation in 1997. The letters date from February to July 2000. According to librarian Barbara Jones, they show Maxwell's thought processes and his concern for his writers. Maxwell speaks openly of his dislike of the current New Yorker.

The letters also accent Maxwell's own love of reading and writing. He speaks to Updike about the difference between major and minor writers and their reading habits. Maxwell, a consummate reader until the end, wrote that the solitary dislike he had concerning death was that he could not go on reading.


Illinoisans take positions in Cabinet and Congress

The Land of Lincoln will still be heard in the nation's capital as one native-Illinoisan prepares for a seat in the presidential Cabinet and several Illinois congressmen take posts on key committees.

George W. Bush picked Donald Rumsfeld, who represented the suburbs north of Chicago in Congress from 1963 to 1969, for secretary of defense. He held the same position under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977.

Two members of the Illinois delegation to the House will take committee gavels. Republican Rep. Henry Hyde of Wood Dale will leave his post as chair of the House Judiciary Committee to chair the International Relations Committee, while Republican Rep. Donald Manzullo of Egan will preside over the Small Business Committee. But, U.S. Rep. Philip Crane, a Republican from Wauconda, lost his bid to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee last month when Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, a Yorkville Republican, threw his support to California Republican Rep. Bill Thomas. Crane retains his chairmanship of the subcommittee on trade for Ways and Means.

Speaker Hastert's support aided Peoria Republican Rep. Ray LaHood's successful quest for a spot on the House Appropriations Committee. And Hastert helped freshman Republican Rep. Timothy Johnson of Sidney to a seat on the Agriculture Committee; another Republican freshman. Mark Kirk of Wilmette will serve with Johnson on the Transportation Committee. 

In the Senate, Democrat Richard Durbin of Springfield takes a seat on the Judiciary Committee, while Republican Peter Fitzgerald of Inverness will serve on the Commerce Committee.

Chicago nonproiits under new management

Three Chicago-based nonprofit groups will take on the new century with new leaders at the helm.

Terrance Norton has been named the first new executive director of the non-partisan Better Government Association in 30 years. Norton replaces the former director, Terrence Brunner. This is Norton's second stint with the government watchdog association. He came on board in 1979 as the general counsel. He had become the group's assistant director when he left in 1989 to become a law professor at ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law. In the past 10 years, Norton has become an independent authority on issues of government corruption, appearing in major newspapers and on such television shows as CNN's Burden of Proof and NBC's Nightly News.

Todd Dietterle is the acting president of the Woods Foundation of Chicago. He is standing in for Jean Rudd, who has stepped down as the foundation's president. When Rudd first took the position in 1980, she became one of the first women to head a foundation in the Chicago area. She says her "conviction is that philanthropy is a field that has to be constantly changing with new energy coming in all the time." After 20 years, she says, it's her time to change as well. She does not expect that she will return to philanthropy. Rather, she wishes to address nonprofit issues directly. Rudd had previously worked for The Foundation Center and the Phelps-Stokes Fund in New York. The Woods Foundation, with an $84 million asset base, supports the work of nonprofits concerned with urban issues. The foundation hopes to have a replacement for Rudd by April.

Deborah Leff, president and CEO of America's Second Harvest, will leave her post to pursue a more policy-oriented role sometime this summer. America's Second Harvest is the country's largest domestic hunger relief organization. Leff has been president since February 1999. She was an Emmy-award winning producer for ABC News from 1983 to 1991 and was the president of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation from 1992 to 1999. She will remain the acting president until a search committee can find her replacement. 

Illinois author wins Newbery medal

Decatur native Richard Peck has won the highest award in children's literature. The American Library Association announced last month that A Year Down Yonder, the story of a young woman whose family sends her from their home in Chicago to live with her downstate grandmother, has won the 2001 John Newbery award. The book is a sequel to A Long Way from Chicago, a 1999 Newbery finalist. It is the first time a sequel has won the prize. 



- Former Secretary of State Inspector General Dean Bauer pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the federal licenses-for-bribes investigation. The one-time George Ryan aide encouraged destruction of documents. He faces six months in prison (see Illinois Issues, September 2000, page 36).

- Andrew Jackson Smith got his posthumous Medal of Honor. Smith, a former slave who had lived in Illinois, received the medal for his service in the Union Army (see Illinois Issues, October 2000, page 43).

- Before leaving office, President Bill Clinton gave former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski a pardon. The Chicago Democrat had served 451 days in federal prison for mail fraud (see Illinois Issues,January 2000, page 32, and December 1994, page 12).

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