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News from the Reference Desk

Illinois Secretary of State's Emergency Contact Database

Illinois driver's license and identification holders can now add emergency contact information to a database that emergency personnel can access if an individual is unable to communicate after an accident.  Go to: Emergency Contact Database to find more information and to participate.

By MPPL on September 30, 2009 Categories: Uncategorized

Swine Flu Info

Two federal government agencies and a U.N. agency have posted useful information regarding the current swine flu outbreak.

By MPPL on April 28, 2009 Categories: Uncategorized

Homeowner/Homebuyer Assistance

It is critical that homebuyers and homeowners are aware of the legitimate assistance available to them, as well protecting themselves from financing and refinancing scams.


Homeowners looking for help should visit a new website called, which has information on the administration's $75 billion effort to help homeowners out of mortgage trouble. It includes a listing of HUD-approved mortgage counselors. People can also call 1-888-995-HOPE. Homeowners are encouraged to call if they suspect a company is perpetrating a scam.


Expanded Tax Break Available for 2009 First-Time Homebuyers,,id=204672,00.html


First-Time Home Buyer's Assistance Program in Mount Prospect


HUD in Illinois (includes steps to avoid foreclosure, search for affordable rentals, and homebuying programs)

By MPPL on April 6, 2009 Categories: Uncategorized

Digital TV Transition

The transition from analog to all digital television broadcast has been postponed for some regions and will take place sometime between March 14 and June 12, 2009.  The Digital TV Transition website has updated information as well as a list of stations that have transitioned as of February 17.  To date, the Chicago broadcast market has not been affected and continues analog broadcast. 

By MPPL on February 20, 2009 Categories: Uncategorized

Economic Recovery and Stimulus and are recently launched websites designed to inform citizens as to the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by  President Obama on February 17, 2009. was created by the Obama adminstration in an effort to educate the public and be transparent and accountable about where and how the funds are dispersed and used. is from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and "was built to to help the new administration keep its pledge and to hold public officials to account. We do this by allowing you, citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects."

By MPPL on Categories: Uncategorized

Home Heating Assistance

Beginning on Monday, November 3, Illinois consumers meeting certain requirements will be able to apply to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).   This season, Illinois will have twice as many funds available to assist low-income households with paying for winter heating costs.  For further information and instructions on how to apply, check out: LIHEAPIllinois.

By MPPL on November 1, 2008 Categories: Uncategorized

2008 Illinois School Report Card

The 2008 Illinois school report card has recently been released.  The Chicago Tribune has created a search engine for easy access to specfic public school information: 2008 Illinois School Report Card.  Included in the database are: demographic profiles, passing rates on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, the Prairie State Achievement Exam and the Illinois Alternate Assessment exam, as well as average ACT scores.

By MPPL on Categories: Uncategorized

Illinois Constitutional Convention

The first question on the November 4 ballot is whether Illinois voters agree or not if the Illinois Constitution should be rewritten.  To help make an informed decision, here are a few web places to find useful information: League of Women Voter’s Illinois, Illinois Issues Blog and a Pro-Con article from Illinois Issues.

By MPPL on October 16, 2008 Categories: Uncategorized

Judicial Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) both provide information/recommendations to assist with making informed choices concerning judicial retention on election day, November 4.  Here are links to the respective guides: CBA and ISBA.  Also the Chicago Tribune has published their Choices for Judges and Vote for has useful information to assist with judicial evaluations.

By MPPL on Categories: Uncategorized

Early/Absentee Voting

Early voting in Illinois begins on October 13 and runs through October 30.  Voters can cast their ballots early without having to state a reason, but an application must be completed.  A valid form of identification will be requested by an election official; these include a current driver’s license, state-issued ID card or another government-issued ID with a photograph.  There are 44 early voting sites in Cook County:, with the closest site located at Des Plaines City Hall, 1420 Miner St.  Voters who participate in Early Voting must vote in person. Voters who cannot make it to their polling place on Election Day and can provide a valid reason or excuse under the law may vote absentee by mail or in person, for specifics:  Laws governing absentee voting have not changed as a result of Early Voting.  For more information on early voting:

By MPPL on October 13, 2008 Categories: Uncategorized