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CONTACT: Pastor Walter Carlton
May 19, 2020
For Immediate Release
The Leadership Team of the Illinois Conference of Churches (ICC) believes sheltering-in-place guidelines save lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. We support careful, evidence-based steps to re-open the economy.
We believe that the health and safety of our wider community rises above individual autonomy in this unprecedented global emergency.
Limiting public excursions for anything but essential purposes and exercise and the wearing of masks in public while practicing social distancing are practical ways of showing respect for the communities where we live and serve.
But we don’t like it.
Those we love and serve are hurting
We grieve the myriad losses our communities are experiencing, not the least of which is the loss of life. Even in the midst of this crisis, more have died in this country from the coronavirus than in the Vietnam War. Business owners, closed now for weeks, wonder how long and if they can hold on. Teachers and parents are struggling with teaching from home. Our front-line workers have held the line steadily with grace and courage. While some families are enjoying down time and togetherness, economic and social stresses are tearing others apart. Our state must rely on science-based directives so that we will properly protect the people who live here.
While the CARES Act, unemployment benefits, and other programs are helping some, many people fall through the cracks. Small businesses, the homeless, the seriously disabled are struggling. There is evidence that the fault lines of race and economic disparity that have always divided our communities may widen. The pandemic has caused many problems for Black and Brown people because of employment as essential workers. Many are not eligible for the stimulus money or unemployment. Health care is not an option for part-time workers while pre-existing medical conditions plague Hispanics and African-Americans.
While we do not know what science will indicate about coming back together for worship, movies, concerts, and even haircuts, we are hopeful that human kindness, not to mention the grace of God, will flourish just as wildly as springtime is blooming across our state
We are in prayer for our beloved state and her people, particularly mindful of those whose lives and livelihoods are most endangered.
The Leadership Team of the Illinois Conference of Churches
We represent approximately seven million Illinois Christians
in 13 denominations.
CONTACT: Nathan Mihelich, IRTA
April 6, 2020
For Immediate Release
(April 6, 2020 - Springfield, Ill.) Members of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, a statewide association of retired educators, their families and supporters, are volunteering during this COVID-19 pandemic to assist students tackling the unprecedented challenge of finishing the school year at home.
“We want to help students learn,” said John Flaherty, a former high school and special education teacher and current president of the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. “Our members are ready to help students build their learning skills and tutor in highly advanced subject areas like chemistry and mathematics. For elementary students, self-paced and self-directed learning is a foreign concept. A teacher-mentor will help students take their own initiative and focus their learning at their own pace.”
Parents desiring to match their student with a retired teacher may sign up on the Association’s website, www.irtaonline.org. Mentors are on a first come, first serve basis. Mentors will meet with students in virtual environments. Mentorships will last from now until the end of the school year or June 1st. Mentorships are at the sole discretion of the teacher-mentors.
“A retired Illinois public school teacher’s depth of knowledge is so great, it may be just what parents need to energize their children into at-home students,” Association Executive Director Jim Bachman said. “Retiree-mentors can specifically target aspects of learning that need the most attention, whether it’s mathematics, science, history, writing or reading.”
“Younger students may simply need help reading a story; other students will need advanced tutoring. If we retirees can find a way to help, we will,” Flaherty concluded.
IRTA encourages former teachers, spouses and supporters of teachers to join the Association. Learn more, join or renew your IRTA membership today at https://www.irtaonline.org.
By Graham A. Colditz
Siteman Cancer Center
For Immediate Release
Daily life has changed to an amazing degree in the last few weeks. As individuals and communities work to contain the spread of COVID-19, one major adjustment for most of us personally is that we now spend much more time at home. This form of physical distancing, or sheltering in place, limits contact between people, which can help curb the infection’s spread.
As necessary as this distancing is, it is a change that can also be stressful, tedious and isolating, among many other things. So, as we all work to get used to our new and, ultimately, temporary reality, here are eight ways to look after your health, your well-being and yourself during these unique times.
Be kind to yourself. The great thing about physical distancing is that by doing nothing — just staying inside — we’re doing something really important. Despite what you may see on social media, you don’t need to be writing a novel, conducting your children in a symphony or even reorganizing your sock drawer — unless you really want to. Be kind to yourself, and just take time to figure out what works best for you and your family.
Take a break from the news. Even in normal times, the sheer volume of news can feel overwhelming. These days, it’s even worse. So, be sure to carve out chunks of the day when you take a rest and shut off the news and pandemic-related social media feeds. Pick up a book. Stream a TV show. Play a board game. The news will still be there when you get back to it.
Keep up healthy food choices. When our regular routines are upended, our food choices can be, too — and often not for the better. A healthy diet can be a good way to maintain some normalcy, help keep the immune system working well and keep calories in check during these times when we’re less active and may feel urges to eat because of stress or boredom. When stocking up at the grocery store, focus on nourishing and filling foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice, fruits and vegetables (frozen, canned or fresh) and beans. And if you buy sweets and less-healthy foods, store them out of sight so they’re less tempting. With the economy hard hit, food insecurity can also be an issue for many. For food assistance, or to donate, contact food banks in your area, or visit feedingamerica.org.
Keep moving. Although gyms are closed and exercise classes canceled, it’s still important to stay physically active. It can take a little extra creativity and more planning than before, but the payoff in energy, mood and overall well-being make it well worth it. YouTube is a great source for free yoga, dance and cardio videos. Exercise apps are another option. And, for most people, getting outside for a walk or bike ride is still allowed (while keeping a safe distance from others). Don’t worry about hitting specific goals, just try to fit something in on most days. You’ll be happy you did.
Stand more. This can sound a bit odd. But, on top of staying active, try to make an effort to stand more than you normally would when you’re at home. In our normal days before COVID-19, it’d be rare to sit for most of the day. Going to class, walking to meetings, doing errands or spending time with the kids, we were on our feet a good amount. Now, while most of us are spending much more time at home, we’re probably also spending much more time sitting. Long term, sitting too much is bad for health, and short term, it can sap some of our energy and just make the long days at home feel even longer. So, try to work some standing breaks into your schedule. Set a timer that chimes every half hour to remind you to get up for a short leg stretch. Or try standing when watching TV shows, working on your computer or playing with your pet.
Stay connected — virtually. While we may no longer be able to meet up with friends and colleagues in the real world, we can still stay connected through technology. Host a trivia game over group video chat, share recipes via text message or email, or just pick up the phone and have a long talk with your best friend. The options are wide open for making connections.
Check in with your health-care provider if you have an existing medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. See if there are any changes you should make during this time, such as rescheduling appointments, extending prescriptions or connecting remotely by telehealth rather than in person. Because COVID-19 can be more serious in some people with pre-existing diseases, it’s also especially important to follow recommendations for keeping safe, such as staying at home, avoiding groups and close contact with others, keeping surfaces clean and washing hands frequently.
Look after your mental wellness. This can be a time of stress, anxiety and loneliness for many people. So, as you’re looking after your physical health, it’s extremely important to also look after your mental and emotional health. Try to keep up with those things that can help with mood: physical activity, mindfulness and meditation, and connecting with friends using technology. Many people also need professional help. So, don’t be shy about calling a health-care provider or visiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) for resources. If you ever feel you’re in crisis, call 911 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) immediately.
We’ll get through this together, even as we’re safely distancing ourselves for now.
It’s our health. Let’s take control.
# # #
Dr. Graham A. Colditz, associate director of prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is an internationally recognized leader in cancer prevention. As an epidemiologist and public health expert, he has a long-standing interest in the preventable causes of chronic disease. Colditz has a medical degree from The University of Queensland and a master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Greystone Health Centers offering employment opportunities to displaced workers and retirees
For Immediate Release – March 17, 2020
The spread of COVID-19 has greatly impacted all our lives, especially our vulnerable, elderly population and those in senior living communities across the United States. As we continue to take guidance from The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization as well as the local Departments of Health to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and employees, our teams at all of our Greystone Health Centers continues to be dedicated to our residents and staff by remaining not only vigilant but compassionate.
It takes a village to provide loving care to our residents daily and now more than ever with the ever-changing situation with COVID-19 affecting so many people, we are looking for new employees to be a part of our village. As a skilled nursing facility, we are open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, caring for residents and keeping them safe.
We understand many people have been affected in various ways by the pandemic including businesses temporarily closing or shutting down altogether. We also know there are many people out there seeking to find ways where they can make a difference and help those in need. We encourage those that have been displaced or want to make a difference in the lives of our nation’s seniors to come join us.
We have a wide range of roles available such as certified nursing assistants, nurses, concierge, activities, dining staff, cooks and more to support our residents. We have full-time, part-time and PRN opportunities. A list of all of our openings is online at www.greystonehealthcareers.com or text CARE to 97211 to learn more about our facilities in Florida, Illinois & Missouri.
Greystone Health has great benefits and competitive wages but most of all we can offer the opportunity to WORK WHERE PEOPLE MATTER.
Contact: Monique Whitney, Monique@TruthRx.org, m. (505) 480-4150
Immediate Release: March 16, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, IL (March 16, 2020) – Who better to design a patient-centered, pharmacy-friendly pharmacy benefit plan than a pharmacist?
That’s the premise behind a new Medicare-D plan making its debut this fall thanks to a group of independent pharmacies and pharmacy organizations who got sick of being pushed around by the largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), deciding instead to take matters into their own hands.
The result is Indy Health Insurance Company, newly licensed and on track to roll out its first plan offering this October when Medicare open enrollment begins.
"Ours is a 100% independent pharmacy and independent pharmacy organization-owned plan built on a network of 22,000 pharmacies across the country," said Indy Health Chair Laura Atkinson. "We envision a more transparent, affordable, cost effective alternative for independent pharmacies and their patients."
Indy Health's Medicare-D plan will offer seniors an affordable prescription plan that pairs with their Medicare medical plan. Indy Health allows enrollees to receive their medications from their local community pharmacies in a preferred network that does not force the use of mail order or large retail chain pharmacies. “Participants may use their neighborhood pharmacy, and that pharmacy can provide mail service if needed, which is often restricted under other plans,” said Ms. Atkinson.
“It was important to us to protect patient choice,” said Todd Evers, Collinsville, Illinois-based pharmacist and board member, and managing partner for Indy Health. “Community pharmacies are uniquely positioned to care for patients, meeting the same demands as the big-box retail pharmacies but with quality and attention to detail you’d expect from a community pharmacy.”
Under Indy Health, pharmacies will pay no direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees -- a type of “claw back” PBMs collect to offset Medicare plan member costs. In 2018 small pharmacies paid average DIR fees of $129,613 per store– an 87% increase from 2017 according to 2019 industry survey. DIR fees are a primary factor in the epidemic of community pharmacy closures. “The absence of DIR fees is a big win for independent pharmacies, who could move from surviving the current U.S. drug pricing crisis to thriving,” said Ms. Atkinson.
With approved licensure in Arkansas, Indy Health will expand to Georgia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Illinois, and has begun the application process with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS). Upon CMS approval, Indy Health will begin enrolling patients in October 2020.
The Indy Health Medicare-D plan is owned by investors in 34 states, including Illinois.
About Indy Health:
The Indy Health team has over 616 combined years of experience in Medicare-D plans, Health Insurance, Med D Actuarial Health Insurance Law, and Pharmacy. The Indy Health team’s mission is to create a transparent Medicare-D plan that provides fair reimbursements for independent pharmacies as well as transparent pricing and affordable medications for consumers.
Through Indy Health Insurance Company, Medicare-D plan independent pharmacies will be able to create their own formulary, medication therapy management services and to negotiate their own rebates through an independently owned sustainable entity that provides them with equitable representation within the prescription drug system. To learn more about Indy Health, including information about investment opportunities, please visit IndyHealthInc.com.
# # #
Contact: Kim Schilling, Melting Pot Productions, 712-326-9964
Immediate Release: February 28, 2020
Antique Spectacular Vintage Market
March 6-8 inRock Island, IL
(Rock Island, IL) The annual Spring Antique Spectacular Vintage Market will be March 6th-8th at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Illinois. This anticipated event, will feature 70 exhibitors with antiques & vintage items galore at Antique Spectacular. The show, now in its 26th year, is located at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois! It is overflowing with a wonderful variety of fine antiques and vintage collectibles for sale. Featured will be select antique dealers with unique merchandise from around the world. Hunters of vintage will have an opportunity, all weekend, to shop the wide range of quality antiques.
With the Antique Spectacular, there is always something to interest every collector, whether they have a new interest in vintage & repurposed for decorating their home or have been collecting antiques for years. This includes great furniture, art pottery, country, stoneware, books, prints, primitives, jewelry, silver, antique glassware, American Indian items, china, postcards, coins, quilts, dolls, toys, advertising, marbles, rugs, vintage textiles and period pieces. The list of amazing vintage items is endless and all under one roof for the convenience to shop all weekend, for a timeless vintage treasure, that is new to you.
March 6th-8th, the Antique Spectacular show hours are Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is FREE and Patrons can check out and register on the website: www.antiquespectacular.com to print a $1 off coupon.
Antique Spectacular Vintage Market Show Hours:
Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$8 Weekend Pass
More information about the Antique Spectacular is available at www.antiquespectacular.com or by calling Kimberly Schilling at 712-324-9964. The Antique Spectacular is presented by Melting Pot Productions, Inc.
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