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Today, I posted the following idea to the Federal Partners in Transition discussion mentioned last week. I propose development of a network of local information clearinghouses similar to TheNemoNews.  In support of this idea, I also developed a brief FAQ that is now on the website.  (

If you have found TheNemoNews helpful, and believe it bears development, I would appreciate your vote on the website.  The discussion ends on May 27, and this entry has been posted towards the end of the discussion.

Local Information Clearinghouses

88% of those with DD live at home according to a recent study.  They and their families are ill-equipped to navigate the maze of programs services and opportunities that are available locally.  Many are poor, ill informed, overwhelmed and/or isolated.  The internet provides a way to develop “hyperlocal” information clearinghouses that serve localities and could be built into a national network.  These could deliver news using social media, internet and mobile technologies.  I would like to see the federal system develop a network of information clearinghouses that are local, family-oriented and ground-up in approach.

In Lake County, Illinois, a parent began to address local needs for information.  It targets the (young) and adult community and their families by posting news briefs that are cross-agency, objective, and permission-based.  A business plan in in progress.  For more information please go to:

Now in its second year, has learned a great deal about what it takes to deliver the news.  While facing cultural and technical challenges, I envision a network of local news services that provide individuals with access to information and resources that are within reach.

Thanks for your support!


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Federal Partners in Transition eDiscussion til May 27

Have you ever thought that there was a better way to do things?  Have you ever wished you could talk to somebody important enough to act on your ideas?  Or maybe just listen to your ideas?  Here’s your chance.  There is an online discussion taking place the next two weeks (May 13-27).  Representatives of the Department of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration (Federal Partners in Transition)   are hosting this discussion and asking the following question:

What legislative and regulatory changes need to happen to effectively implement employment, education, health and human and social security services for youth and young adults with disabilities under public law?

It is a “crowd-sourced” discussion.  Individuals and agencies present their ideas and the rest of us vote their ideas up and down.  In this way, the “cream” of ideas rise to the top.  There were over 100 ideas within 24 hours, and the top idea (with 54 votes) was to eliminate waiting lists.  (Nemo votes for that!)

Participants need to register in order to participate.  In order to participate go to:  In addition, we asked one author a question about their particular idea, and have received half a dozen responses from participants so far.  So Nemo won’t be asking a lot of idle questions…LOL.

Nemo has noted that some ideas on the website are poorly written and difficult to understand.  Some are pure jargon.  A participant might want to draft an idea and have someone else read it before posting.  Otherwise your great idea could be lost in the mix if it is unclear.   And we don’t want that to happen!


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Affordable Housing in Lake County?

There will be a housing “listening” session on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 1:00-2:30pm.  It will take place at the Lake County Center for Independent Living at 377 N. Seymour Ave. in Mundelein.  They will discuss the need for affordable and accessible housing in Lake County.  Strategies for working together to increase options will be discussed.

To RSVP contact Matt or Kaja at 847-949-4440 or email


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Working and SSI/SSDI — LCCIL Workshop

The Social Security Administration has rules regarding work and income for recipients.   They also have special programs to encourage work.   The Lake County Center for Independent Living (LCCIL) is holding a workshop on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 from 1-2:30 pm  to help SSI and SSDI recipients understand the impact of working on their benefits.  The workshop will be at their offices at 377 N. Seymour Avenue in Mundelein.  An RSVP is requested.

To RSVP, contact Matt Rosenberg at 847-949-4440 or by email at


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McHenry 377 Board Advocates Prepare for April 9 Vote

McHenry 377Disability advocates in McHenry County are advancing their efforts to pass a referendum to form a 377 Board (What is a 377 Board).  The vote takes place on April 9, 2013.  If passed, McHenry County will realize some $9M per year to serve those with developmental disabilities.

The website Vote Yes McHenry County Developmental Disabilities Board ( plainly presents the problem, proposed solution and plans for service.  It contains information and materials for advocates to use in the final days of the campaign.

This initiative is being watched by advocates around the state who face the same issues of inadequate services for family members, slow state payment to providers and increasing need among families.  A similar initiative in Kane County  (See  is aiming for a 2014 vote.  Kane advocates will be collecting signatures at polling places in Kane County on April 9th.   They need 8,000 more signatures  for placement of the referendum on the 2014 ballot.

For more information  on the McHenry initiative  contact Cindy Sullivan, Executive Director, Options & Advocacy for McHenry County, 815.477.4720 x 233,   or Patrick Maynard, PhD, President/CEO, Pioneer Center for Human Services, 815.759.7044,

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Ed McManus Tonight at Protected Tomorrows

Protected TomorrowsEd McManus will speak at 7pm tonight at Protected Tomorrows LifeCare Center, 103 Schelter Rd, Lincolnshire.  He will discuss Illinois services for individuals with special needs.  Topics include the PUNS list, the Ligas Consent Decree, the role of PAS agencies in delivering services.  The event is free, but registration is requested (847-522-8086).

Ed recently retired from the Illinois Division of Developmental Disabilities.  His career spanned several agencies including Staff Attorney for the Office of the Inspector General, State Coordinator for the Home-Based Services Program, and much more.  Currently he consults with agencies and families trying to navigate the system.   Ed’s newsletters can be found at his facebook page, where he states:  “Our main focus is to provide a better understanding of the Illinois DD system, which continues to mystify providers and families alike because it is so complex.”

This event is a kickoff for the  new Protected Tomorrows Family Membership program.  Details are on the website. 

(Editor’s note:  We have had some computer problems lately that have interfered with timely posting of notices such as these.  Hopefully they are worked out now.)

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Grant Money — Get to Know your Township

Did you know that Lake County is comprised of 18 townships?  Out of these, The Nemo News has identified three that have grant programs for not-for-profit programs and services that support residents who live or work in their township.  They are Moraine, West Deerfield and Ela Townships.   Guidelines and deadlines vary by township and particulars are available from the township involved. The table below shows the deadlines by township.

Township                           Recent  Grant Deadline
Moraine ……………………….February 1, 2013
West Deerfield……………….November 1, 2012
Ela………………………………January 3, 2013

There is still time for agencies to apply for a Moraine Township Grant.  The deadline is February 1, 2013. Guidelines for the Moraine application are available here.

It’s not too early to start researching a grant for FY 2013-14 in West Deerfield and Ela Townships (or other townships).  Relationships between grant making organizations and grantees take time to develop. Not-for-profit organizations often need to apply for a grant a few times before actually receiving funding.  By getting to know the folks in your township who sit on the grant committee, you can educate those in your township about the work your organization does, the people you serve and the invaluable service you provide.

Last year, Moraine Township awarded $225,875 during FY2012-13. Recipients included The Center for Enriched Living, The Equestrian Connection, and Lambs Farm. West Deerfield Township awarded grants to Glenkirk as well as Friendship Circle of Illinois. Moraine Township also offers some programming about management and funding for not-for-profit organizations.

A list of Lake County townships and contact information can be found here.  If you township has a grant program that we missed, please let us know.

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377 Board Petition in Kane County

Kane County now has an initiative to form a 377 Board to serve the needs of the developmentally disabled.  In order to get the referendum on the April 9, 2013 ballot, they need to collect 20,000 signatures from registered Kane County voters.  They currently have 7,000 signatures and are asking Kane County voters, advocates and others to help them reach this goal by December 31, 2012.  Advocates decided to act at this time because of the crisis in state funding for housing, transportation, jobs, job training and respite services.   Local funds are being sought to provide care.

Organizers cite the needs of 10,000 adults in Kane County who need lifetime care, and another 10,000 who need a lesser level of care.  This need grows as care-giving parents age and cannot care for their loved ones.  Moreover, there are 17,000 students receiving special education services in Kane County.  Some portion of these individuals will need care as they mature.

It is still possible for the County Board to approve placement of the referendum on the ballot, but there has been no action to do so.  County Board President Chris Lauzen was also cited by the Kane County Chronicle as saying that if voters ultimately approved the levy, he would try to keep the effect tax neutral by cutting in other areas.

A well-developed website supports this effort at The site has links to petition information, press coverage, and an explanatory power point presentation.

For more information contact Kathy Hazelwood,Vice President Marketing & Development, Association for Individual Development, 847-931-2290,



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200+ Attend Legislative Breakfast

Undeterred by a foggy Monday morning, over 200 people attended the 6th Biennial Legislative Breakfast on December 3, 2012 at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling.  They welcomed legislators, legislator-elects,  and their representatives from 13 districts.  The Breakfast was sponsored by the North/Northwest Cook County and Lake County Work Group.  The legislators attending are listed below.


Senator Daniel Biss – District 9
Rep. Scott Drury
– District 58
Dan Krucek, Aide to Senator Dan Duffy – District 26
Rep. Laura Fine – District 17
Rep. David Harris – District 53
Jamie Morrison, Aide to Senator Dan Kowtowski – District 28 and Intern Andrew Gomberg
Lindy Mika, Aide to Senator Terry Link – District 30
Timothy Graham, Aide to Rep. Rita Mayfield – District 60
Senator Julie Morrison – District 58
Alicia Krippinger, Aide to Senator Matt Murphy – District 27
Brian Koppe, Aide to Rep.Carol Sente – District 59
Rep Tom Morrison – District 54 and Aide Joy Wolfe
Rep. Sam Yingling – District 62

Each legislator received an informational notebook and was invited to participate in the North/Northwest Cook County and Lake County Work Group.  The work group  is comprised of parents, consumers, providers, legislators, government agencies and schools addressing the needs of  individuals with developmental disabilities.  The meet monthly to share information addressing common concerns.

Joanell Voight, President/CEO of Community Alternatives Unlimited welcomed the attendees with the theme “Help Move Us Forward:  Make Us a Priority”.  Sandra Loebe Stoken congratulated the legislators and newly elected legislators as she highlighted the opportunities they have to bring our community of people with disabilities into a brighter and more sustaining future.     Ed McManus, Consultant, Developmental Disability Consultants, described legislative  issues that concern the Work Group, and Helen Kauffman described how legislators can best work with those in the developmentally delayed constituency.

Attendees were greeted by Special Olympians from the Libertyville Stars Swim Team and Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding.  Other consumers from NSSED, SEDOL ,Glenkirk and other organizations welcomed attendees to the event.  Also in attendance were many primary consumers who live, work, and vote in their local communities.

For more information about the Work Group contact Elizabeth Ramos, Community Alternatives United (CAU), 773-867-4159,


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DACA Application Workshops Scheduled

A series of  hands-on workshops to help youthful  immigrants apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status are scheduled in the Lake County Area.   The Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) will co-sponsor one of these workshops on Thursday, December 13 from 5:00pm – 9:30pm for their families.   These workshops are co-sponsored by the Northern Alliance for Immigrants (whose website is under development.)  They are affiliated with the DREAM Relief project.

Applicants attending the  workshops should bring the set of documents that are detailed on the flyer below to the session.   There will be  translators and attorneys who will help them assemble the application packet. (Bennu Legal Services is a co-sponsor.)    There is a request for a $5 donation for materials.  Some applicants may retain attorneys for a fee ranging from $100-$200.

These workshops were established after a similar program at Navy Pier turned away thousands of individuals who came to apply for DACA status.   It was determined that the resources needed to help these young people in Lake and other northern counties are very limited.  The Northern Alliance for Immigrants stepped in to organize workshops in Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kenosha, and other areas.  A list of workshops in the northern counties can be found here.

Young people who came to the United States as children with their parents were directly affected by President Obama’s Executive Order the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.   There are a number of requirements to meet before applying.  The application is extensive and is renewable every 2 years.  Approved individuals get work permits, social security numbers and qualify for drivers licenses.  They become non-deportable.   Approval allows young immigrants  to continue with college and employment.   DACA brochure is here.     DACA webpage is here.

The SEDOL event on December 13, 2012 will accept only the first 100 participants and no one will be admitted after 6:30pm.   To pre-register go to  For more information contact Priscilla Cuba,, 847-548-2577, ext. 36.

For information about the DACA workshops contact, The Northern Alliance for Immigrants, Graciela Contreras, Executive Director , 847-514-6558,  Other upcoming workshops are shown below.  Click on the image to enlarge it.



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