Students can earn affordable bachelor’s degrees in nursing at community college
Will help address critical nursing shortage in rural Illinois, Metro East


BUNKER HILL – Students will be able to earn affordable bachelor’s degrees in nursing at a regional community college thanks to an innovative partnership that will help boost the rural economy while supplying nurses for rural hospitals and clinics.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative Monica Bristow (D-Godfrey) on Monday announced a new partnership between Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey and the University of Illinois at Chicago to offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees at the college.

The presidents of the two institutions worked with Manar and Bristow to develop the agreement. Nursing students will be able to earn a BSN from the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing while attending classes at Lewis and Clark.

The agreement will include partnerships in the area of nursing degrees, collaboration and funding of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and innovation partnerships through the Lewis and Clark St. Louis Confluence Fab Lab and the University of Illinois Tech Hub. It also will include work at the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities in Edwardsville.

Nurse350Manar has been working on legislation to make affordable BSN degrees accessible through community colleges in areas of Illinois where there is a critical shortage of nurses. During a tour of hospitals and federally qualified health clinics in the 48th Senate District last fall, Manar heard repeated concerns about the severe shortage of applicants for nursing and other professional health care positions.

“I want to commend the leadership of these two institutions of higher education for coming together to create a groundbreaking new program that solves a pressing problem in my Senate district,” Manar said.

“Because of their willingness to work together and think outside of the box, prospective students will have access to affordable bachelor’s degrees, rural hospitals and clinics will have access to an expanded pool of nursing applicants to address growing workforce needs, and working families will take on less debt and earn better wages. I am beyond thrilled about this partnership and I look forward to being there when the first BSN class graduates from Lewis and Clark and UIC through this program.”

The unique partnership creates options for a convenient and affordable pathway to a BSN degree for students in central Illinois and the Metro East. Nursing leadership from both institutions will work together during the coming weeks to develop plans to make RN-BSN education more available to nurses in the region.

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Category: Latest News

Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier was killed in combat in Vietnam 49 years ago

SPRINGFIELD – A Bunker Hill soldier who was killed in action in 1969 in Vietnam will be remembered with a memorial highway designation in his honor.

Lance Cpl. Charles T. Heinemeier, a 1967 graduate of Bunker Hill High School, was 20 when he died from wounds he suffered while fighting to take South Vietnam’s Hill 12, where an American helicopter had been downed by enemy fire, according to news reports at the time. The Marines were attempting to reach the crash site to aid possible survivors.

On Thursday, the Illinois Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 75, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), without opposition. It designates Illinois 159 from Detour Road to Illinois 16 in Bunker Hill as the Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier Memorial Highway. It further requests that the Illinois Department of Transportation erect signage identifying the memorial designation.

“I readily agreed when a group of constituents from Bunker Hill approached me about wanting to honor Lance Cpt. Heinemeier and his selfless service to our country,” Manar said. “With this highway designation, his sacrifice and the special place he still holds in the hearts of the people of Bunker Hill nearly 50 years after his death will be memorialized.”

Heinemeier, the son of John and Lela Heinemeier, enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1968. Six months later he was sent to Vietnam. He was serving with the 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam at the time of his death.

Born March 2, 1949, Heinemeier was one of 10 children in his family. He played baseball and basketball in high school, and he worked construction at McCann Concrete and Olin Mathieson before following the lead of his older brothers and enlisting in the military.

Heinemeier posthumously was awarded three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bunker Hill.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – A plan to pay off the state’s oldest debt – back pay owed to some 24,000 state employees – is headed to the governor with veto-proof bipartisan support in both houses of the legislature.

The Senate approved State Senator Andy Manar’s measure to devote $63.25 million to wages that have been owed to state employees since 2011.

“This problem has lingered on the state’s books far too long. We owe it, it’s not going away, and we have to address it,” Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, said.

The legislation (House Bill 4290) passed in the Senate with an overwhelming 58-0 vote Wednesday night. It passed in the House last week, also with robust bipartisan support.

The measure appropriates money to various state agencies to pay employees the wages they’re owed. The employees include correctional officers, caregivers for veterans and people with developmental disabilities, mental health professionals and others.

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services and AFSCME, the labor union representing the largest number of state employees, worked with Manar to determine how many workers are still owed back wages.

The largest amount, nearly $41 million, is owed to workers with the state department of corrections, followed by the department of human services, which owes more than $17 million to its employees.

“In my mind, this is a very simple matter. This is money that is owed for work that was completed under a contract between employees and their employer, the state of Illinois,” Manar said. “Paying these back wages is the right thing to do, and I urge Gov. Rauner to make sure it happens as soon as this bill lands on his desk.”


Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar expressed optimism regarding the Fiscal Year 2019 budget passed tonight by the Illinois Senate.

“This is a responsible, disciplined plan that reflects the priorities of the people in my Senate district and throughout Illinois. It is a budget that allows us to continue restoring fiscal stability to state government while addressing immediate needs,” said Manar, who presented the legislation to the Senate Wednesday night.

“This budget was a bipartisan effort that was not contentious. When people come to the table, even in a partisan environment, compromise can be achieved and good things can happen.”

Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee, is one of the Senate’s budget negotiators. He noted the following points about the proposal, which passed with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans:

  • It’s balanced.
  • It devotes $350 million more for K-12 public schools as required by the new school evidence-based school funding model. Every school will receive as much money as they received last year.
  • It contains $10 million for critical access care pharmacy payments to help independent pharmacies in rural communities that are struggling because of the state’s Medicaid managed care rollout and because of pharmacy benefit managers.
  • It restores funding that local mayors and village presidents lost when the Rauner administration cut it last year.
  • Funding to help install broadband internet at rural school districts is appropriated in this budget, which would enable the state to leverage a 3-to-1 federal funding match.
  • It establishes an innovative new college grant program called AIM HIGH to incentivize Illinois students to attend state universities, support local economies and help middle-class students afford a college degree.

Furthermore, Manar noted, the budget continues to fund health insurance for retired teachers and community college employees, and it fully funds the state’s group health insurance program. Both were targeted for cuts under Gov. Rauner’s budget proposal earlier this year.

The budget also rejects the pension cost shift that Gov. Rauner proposed for local governments, which would have assured local property tax increases in many communities and school districts.

“This budget proposal is a tremendous step forward because it sets priorities not just for one party or for one part of the state,” Manar said. “This budget is good for all of Illinois.”

Category: Latest News

School Funding Reform


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Springfield Office:
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Phone: (217) 782-0228

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