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SHIFTS AT THE TOP

Democratic Rep. Douglas Scott of Rockford was set to take the oath of office as mayor of that city late last month. Scott planned to resign his legislative seat after party leaders chose a successor.

Nancy Cantor will be the next chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She's an educator at the University of Michigan. She'll succeed Michael Aiken.

Marjorie Sodemann of Champaign, formerly on the governor's staff, is now on the U of I's Board of Trustees. She replacesWilliam Engelbrecht.

Mark Repking, president of Liberty Bank in Alton, and Ed Hightower, an Edwardsville school superintendent, are now on the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees. 

Robert Manion of Hinsdale, retired partner with Andersen Consulting, and Juliette Nimmons of Litchfield, president of Schutt Sports, were named to the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

Historical society picks new director

Tom Teague, author of Searching for 66, is the new executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society. His objective is to locate sponsors to oversee upkeep of the state's more than 400 historical markers. He succeeds Jon Austin, who now heads the Museum of Funeral Customs in Springfield.


APPOINTMENT

Chicago area lobbyist and lawyer Ira Rogal is Gov. George Ryan's choice for a seat on the Illinois Gaming Board. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take the seat vacated by Joseph Lamendella earlier this year.


Illinois vet jets to the
UK to battle foot and mouth

Last month, Randall Larson joined a group of 15 American veterinarians on loan to the British government in the battle against foot-and-mouth disease. The Galesburg resident, who works for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, also will get a firsthand look at an illness that hasn't been seen in the United States since 1929. Government officials believe an up-close experience would be useful if the United States suffers an outbreak, something many observers think is likely.

Foot and mouth is a viral disease that infects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer. In cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing animals, it's characterized by fever and blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the feet. Most of the animals recover, but it leaves them debilitated. The disease poses no threat to people.

Britain has put into place an aggressive program to depopulate infected animals to stop the spread. The disease has already appeared in the Netherlands, France and Ireland. 

Larson's group joined 125 foreign veterinarians (45 Americans) who were already in Britain helping to diagnose the virus and supervise livestock slaughters.

The number of cases of the highly contagious livestock ailment continues to rise. As of early April, the total number in Britain and Northern Ireland was 1,102. About 1 million animals in Britain have been slaughtered or are earmarked for death in the fight against the disease.

"I have some mixed feelings about going," Larson said before departing. "I'm apprehensive about the state of the people over there." He said he expected to do technical work, such as blood testing, and provide emotional assistance to farmers dealing with the trauma of losing livestock lines that they have worked generations to improve.

To make the trip, Larson, who supervises meat and poultry inspection at the ag department's Galesburg Animal Disease Laboratory, scrounged garage sales for work clothes. Those clothes will be burned before he comes home this month.

The risk of Larson or other veterinarians bringing the disease back to the United States is small. "We understand biosecurity," he said.

Larson worries, though, that the disease could end up in this country because of a careless international traveler. "With two international airports in the state, we are very concerned in Illinois that something will slip through."

Meanwhile, the ag department has put the finishing touches on its emergency plan, should the disease invade this state. Those plans include establishing three-mile quarantine zones around any area where the disease is found. Infected animals would be destroyed and farmers reimbursed.

Charlyn Fargo
Agribusiness editor,
 The State Journal-Register, Springfield


OBIT

Frank Annunzio

Former U.S. Rep. Frank Annunzio died at 86 last month from complications related to Parkinson's disease.

Annunzio is most famous for spearheading the legislation that made Columbus Day a national holiday.

The Democrat was director of the Illinois Department of Labor from 1949 to 1952. He represented the Chicago area in Congress from 1964 to 1992. During his Washington years, he served as chairman on the Committee on House Administration, the Joint Committee on Printing and the Committee on the Library. In 1992, he chose not to run against his fellow representative Dan Rostenkowski when remapping found them both in the same district.

"He was one of the most effective congressmen and got things done in a quiet way, working behind the scenes," says Democratic Rep. William Lipinski of Chicago. "Frank was very helpful to me and was my mentor when I went to Congress."

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