‘Hangover’ slots reel-y fun play at Horseshoe

July 3, 2011

BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI casinoanswerman @casinoanswerman.com June 30, 2011 3:52PM

? On Wednesdays through July 20, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin will be giving away 2011 Chevrolet Camaros in the Dream Car Giveway drawings. Winners will pick up not one, but a pair of Camaros. Visit grandvictoriacasino.com.

? Comedian Joan Rivers takes the stage at the Stardust Events Center at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Ind., at 8 p.m. Aug. 20. Tickets, $30-$55, go on sale at 10 a.m. July 16 at the Blue Chip Gift Box in the casino pavilion and at ticketmaster.com.

Updated: July 1, 2011 2:14AM

In his first column of each month, John Grochowski reports on a casino visit.

I’ve never seen “The Hangover.” You might think anything with an iconic “Vegas, baby!” trek would be automatic for me, but life fills up, and this is one movie I missed.

“The Hangover” slot machine is another matter. I make it my business to check out as many new casino games as I can, and I was alerted via email that this one had arrived at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. For the time being, Caesars Entertainment has exclusive rights to the game manufactured by International Game Technology. That means the first casinos to have it will be those in the Caesars family, which includes the Caesars, Horseshoe, Harrah’s, Bally, Imperial Palace and Rio brands.

Fans of the movie will have a great time at the game, with scenes from the film on the video screen, and movie-related images such as a chicken, tiger, bloody tooth and “Welcome to Vegas” sign used as reel symbols and in game play.

The big test was whether I’d have fun playing the game despite not having seen the film.

I wasn’t at all sure I’d get a chance to try. When I walked into Horseshoe, the machines were jam-packed. Not only was every machine in use, but others were standing, watching, and waiting for a seat.

A couple of hours later, I walked toward “The Hangover” just as a woman got up to leave. I slid $40 into the bill validator and set the reels spinning. There are four sets of video reels on the screen, almost like playing four video slots at once. I wanted all four games active, so I wagered 200 pennies per spin.

There’s a four-way progressive jackpot, with the levels named after the film’s main characters — Doug, Stu, Phil and Alan — who also have bonus events named after them. I went to bonus events four times within 15 minutes, a nice hit frequency that did its bit to hold my interest.

My best results came in the Stu’s Game bonus, where an initial photo-matching game took me to the Villa Bonus. In the first room, I touched a sword, to reveal a 160-credit award and advance to the next room. There, a touch of a TV revealed a baby, which doubled my bonus credits. Three more rooms brought more credits and one more baby, taking it up to a three-times multiplier.

Finally, in Room No. 6, I found a tiger. That ended my round. And when I looked up, there were $83 on my screen.

No doubt someone who had seen the movie would have gotten some extra laughs. But was it fun for this “Hangover” novice? Heck, yeah.

John Grochowski is a local free-lance writer. His “Casino Answer Man” tips air at 5:18 p.m. Tuesday-Friday on WLS-AM (890).

‘Hangover’ slots reel-y fun play at Horseshoe

The Sentinel

July 3, 2011

Published on: Thursday, June 30, 2011

Editor’s note;

We agreed to run the column from the head of the county’s emergency management department, but had some questions regarding his statements of fact. Chris Voss was unable to meet with us prior to publication until 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. At that time he took specific questions regarding his letter, but said he was too busy to answer other questions. So, this is an editorial response to Mr. Voss and the questions The Sentinel still has for the county regarding the use of sirens.

We preface this article with a statement we’ve obtained by several other emergency management officials around the country who have told The Sentinel that the best emergency systems are those systems which use a variety of methods to alert people as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency. Sirens, we have been told repeatedly are merely one tool, but a vital one to use in this process – hence our series, and hence the term “comprehensive” systems.

Mr. Voss would not speak directly about the idea of a comprehensive system. “That is not included in my letter,” he said. “And I think I can’t divulge specifics until later.”

While he does not currently recommend sirens be used by the county, Mr. Voss did say that the “case is never closed,” against augmenting the current alert system, and that “if the technology changes vastly,” the county would consider using sirens.

I grew up in the 1960s  and 70s in the Ohio River Valley blissfully unaware of the destructive tendencies of tornados and their seemingly arbitrary, yet horrifyingly thorough means of destruction.

 We had disaster drills once a month in school. “Duck and Cover,” they were called where a siren sounded and we all went under our desks and covered our heads with our hands to prevent nuclear fallout from getting us.

We also had tornado drills. A siren would sound and we would all go out into the hall of the sturdy building, away from windows, and do essentially the same thing. Why? I had no idea as the last time a dangerous tornado touched down where I grew up was in 1899.

I never dreamed until April 3rd, 1974 that those drills were of any real use. Then a day the National Weather Service deemed “Super Outbreak” tornados from Texas to Canada caused unbelievable property damage, and killed thousands. The sirens rang that day and we all ran inside. In my hometown less than a dozen people died. Advanced warning, in a county roughly the same geographic size and make-up as Montgomery County, helped save lives.

Since then I’ve covered a variety of natural disasters, including my fair share of tornados and hurricanes in multiple states during the last three decades. I marveled at a city in Texas in which an emergency spokesman said anything other than sirens was a waste of time. “Who cares if it’s on a computer,” he told me. “Even radio and television aren’t necessary. Just the sirens.”

The best systems I’ve seen aren’t all of one thing, or all of another. They’re a mix.

In Mr. Voss’s letter, he mentions alternatives to sirens, but none of those alternatives is an all-encompassing blanket, any more than the Texas emergency service manager thought that sirens exclusively were. In our case, a good deal of the population, including transients, could be left out of advanced warnings, if our current system is not augmented by sirens.

Mr. Voss said the most common complaint about sirens is that they can’t be heard indoors. The most common complaints, according to surveys in cities that have air raid sirens, is that they are not maintained properly. My personal experience aside, citizens who live in Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville, Indianapolis, Dayton, Cincinnati and Little Rock have said in surveys they can hear the sirens, even while downtown in an office building.

Mr. Voss said  33 percent of people will “sleep through tornado sirens going off” at night. Of course in this county that means 670,000 people wouldn’t sleep through them. That’s a good chunk of the populace. And if you’re going to sleep through a siren then chances are you might also sleep through anything else. We currently have no way of reaching 670,000 people quickly in this county.

According to Mr. Voss, currently only 210,000 devices have been issued in the county for Alert Montgomery, and Mr. Voss concedes those devices can be programmed a variety of ways, certainly enabling the user to sleep through whatever alert is given.

Mr. Voss mentions  a 1980 study impacting Kalamazoo Michigan where only 17 percent of the populace heard the sirens. This study is 30 years old and does not mention the status of maintenance on the equipment, the area encompassed by the sirens, etc. And, again, if I accept the figures as correct, are we therefore saying that even if we only alert 17 percent of the populace, that we shouldn’t alert 170,000 people?

Mr. Voss  also wrote of a study  showing sirens didn’t work or rotate or had damaged speakers. This speaks to a lack of maintenance, and in fact proves the point that once purchased, the system needs to be maintained.

Perhaps it would be best to speak of recent events this summer, readily available on the Internet, YouTube, etc. where residents in many areas spoke to the fact that early notification by siren helped save their lives.

Mr. Voss also said tornado fatality rates at night are 2.5 times greater than during the day. The National Weather Service backs up that claim, which The Sentinel maintains proves the point sirens are needed particularly at night to help facilitate a comprehensive warning system. Of the greatest concern is the assessment of tornado risk in Montgomery County. While we at The Sentinel have also pointed out the relatively low risk, it is troubling that this would  be used as a reason to not have a comprehensive plan in place that signifies the greatest majority of our citizens in a timely fashion.

Sirens are also useful for other things:

1.   We live within 70 miles of at least six aging nuclear reactors. It might be nice to know if something’s going on immediately with one of them.

2.   We live next door to the nation’s capital and as it has been previously noted, we are home to many of the nation’s federal decision makers. Perhaps it would be nice to notify us in a timely fashion of impending doom from a terrorist or other man-made catastrophe. I should think Homeland Security’s interest in this would be keen.

But, bottom line, do you really want to play Russian Roulette with Mother Nature? You always lose.

NASA spends millions to chart near-earth objects. True it’s been 70 million years since the last extinction level event occurred because of a meteor or asteroid, but forewarned is forearmed.

You can’t buck the odds of Mother Nature. She always wins.

While Mr. Voss’s siren system cost analysis is not incompatible with our own at The Sentinel, some of it appears to be overstated.  Easement isn’t as big an issue as it appears. Many of the sirens can be installed on existing county owned property and structures. This is done to save costs all across the country. The whole cost analysis also seems to be calculated to scare us away from implementing a vital public safety system and ignoring the fact that grant money can be applied for to defray the costs.

But, again the most disturbing statement made is that the tornado threat is low, but the siren cost is high – especially since there are better, more reliable systems out there.

The actual threat to assassinate our County Executive or any county executive anywhere in the United States is low, yet we burden the cost here because we deem it necessary. Do we not deem it necessary to protect every other resident in this county – especially when the cost to protect them is lower per person than the cost to protect one county official?

Also, if there are more reliable and better systems out there, where are they?  The most reliable system is a comprehensive plan.

Any method of notifying more than a million people will not be all encompassing. It can’t be, but there has to be a plan that alerts as many people as possible as quickly as possible. It also has to notify transients, long-term visitors and others who do not have access to weather alert radios, or Alert Montgomery.

No method will notify 100 percent of these people. Several will come close and that’s were a siren system comes into play.

Sirens are used across this country in many cities and counties of similar size and population as Montgomery County for one very good reason – they work in conjunction with other systems to alert the greatest number of people in the shortest length of time.  

The easiest example is of the  emergency alert system, or the old emergency broadcast system. When a tornado warning is issued. that triggers the sirens, and also triggers interruption of broadcast television – and should also trigger broadcast of all networks on your satellite and/or cable system.  The emergency alert system then tells you of the impending peril.

This is the same alert given on the weather radio, withouthaving to purchase the radio.

The alert system can be used for a variety of other disasters. All you need is public service announcements to remind everyone. In an area that faces a variety of widespread threats to the general population, we would argue this is a vital community service that should be provided by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

It should not be our responsibility. It is yours.

Finally the problem with all of the suggestions Mr. Voss gives to notify the public, unfairly places the responsibility for notification on the homeowner or the private citizen. I find this philosophy counterproductive to the very reason why we have a county government in the first place.

Government should provide vital public service.

But you ask that I purchase a radio. You ask that I sign up for Alert Montgomery and you ask that I monitor all weather alerts.

What are you doing for me, since I pay your salary? How about something simple, low-tech and very effective – sound a siren. Let me know when I have to pay attention to you. I don’t live to serve the government, the government exists to serve me.

Once we agree on those terms, The Sentinel believes things will run much better.

The Sentinel

What’s Happening

July 3, 2011

Grafton’s Music in the Park — 7-9 p.m. today, The Grove Memorial Park in Grafton. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Music by George Portz and the Friends of Bluegrass. Make a food donation to the Grafton Food Pantry and get a free glass of lemonade. Hosted by Grafton’s Chamber of Commerce. Free.

Wine Cellar & Bistro — 8 p.m.-midnight, Friday, Gabie; 8 p.m.-midnight, Saturday, Joel Butler performs at Westview Wine Cellar & Bistro 1803 Ramada Blvd., Collinsville.

Little Texas — 5 p.m., Saturday, Alton Riverfront Amphitheater, Alton. Admission $15 in advance, $20 at door, children younger than 5 free. Performance benefits Meals on Wheels. 465-3298.

“Nobody Greater” Concert Series — 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Grace Tabernacle Family Church, 2640 St. Louis Ave., East St. Louis. Features Chena Coleman, Amateur Night at the Apollo, The Sound of Grace, Lakia, Teliyah Carson, DelMia Lester. 741-9445.

Edwardsville Band — 4 p.m. Sunday, Leclaire Park, Edwardsville. Featuring the Edwardsville Municipal Band, under the direction of James Kerfoot. Includes several Gershwin songs, music from “The Wiz,” Marine Corps march, Sousa march. Concert is free. Bring chairs for seating. Sponsored by friends of Leclaire. Concession stand at intermission.

Benld Concert — 6 p.m. Tuesday, Benld City Park. Music by Dixie Dudes Dixieland Band. Free. Bring lawn chairs.

Country Western Dance — 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Belleville/Swansea Moose, 2425 N. Illinois St., Swansea. DJ, Ed and Lisa Barbour. 277-7872.

Lions Club Picnic — today-Saturday, City Park, 760 St. Louis Ave., Tilden. Rides, concessions, food, beverages, music by Turnpike Cruisers on Friday. Bingo Friday and Saturday.

Summer Cruise 2011 — today-Sunday, Neighborhood Social Club, 4168 State Route 162, Pontoon Beach. Classic hot rods, ‘ 60s era muscle cars, customs, street rods, kit cars and today’s daily drivers. Special attractions include Keith and Eddy Arteman and the legendary Bloomington Ghost, Buddy Dickerson and his Patriot Charger from St. Louis and Jim Rodebaugh and his ’68 Charger custom convertible from Kansas City, Mo. Trophies awarded.

Wildey Movie — 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Wildey Theatre, Edwardsville. Movie is “Stingray.” $6-$8. Saturday 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. movie is “Looney Tunes: Back inAction,” $4-$6. 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, “Fast and Furious,” $6-$8.

Third Annual Bellemont — dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday and stick horse racing at 7:30 p.m., St. Clare Church, 1411 Cross St., O’Fallon. Admission $15. Evening includes dinner, a cash bar, friendly wagering, the “Sophisticated Lady” hat contest. Music by The Yard Dawgs Jazz Quartet.

Cruise Night — 5-9 p.m. Friday, Coulterville Dairy Queen, Coulterville. Sponsored by Grand Cote Cruisers Car Club. Dash plaques, door prizes, games, ’50/’60s music.

All Night Beach Blast — 7:30 p.m.-6 a.m., Friday, Fun Spot Skating and Party Center, 1400 West Blvd., Belleville. $20 admission, (includes midnight snack) $2 skate rental. Features skater’s revenge, splash for cash, beach ball tag and more.

Route 66 Festival — Friday and Saturday, Edwardsville City Park. Friday stage schedule: Londin Band, 6:30 p.m.; Butch Wax and the Hollywoods, 9-11:30 p.m. Saturday entertainment: 12:30 p.m. showcase of local talent; 2:30 p.m. Exit 12; 4 p.m. DANG; 6:30 p.m. Fanfare; 9-11:30 p.m. Bob Kuban Brass Band. Trolley tours of Edwardsville’s historic districts, face painting, children’s activities, local artists and historic displays in the park all weekend. Classic car cruise, 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Wine, Dine & Jazz — 5-10 p.m. Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Downtown Belleville Public Square. Free. Featuring live jazz, wine tasting and food court. Friday, The Usual Suspects with Gypsy Brown, 5-6:15 p.m.; The Dawn Weber Group, 6:45-8 p.m.; Jim Stevens Group, 8:30-10 p.m. Saturday, Starlifter Jazz Combo, 4-5 p.m., Tony D. and The Groove, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Stantana, 7-8:15 p.m., Vince Martin, 8:45-10 p.m.

Optimist Rodeo — 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, MidAmerica Airport, Mascoutah. Sponsored by Optimist Club of Belleville. $12 adults, $6 children younger than 12. Seven rodeo events and a calf scramble. 19th annual Internationa Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo.

Living History Days — Friday-Saturday, Hill’s Fort Society, Greenville. At reconstructed fort. Taste life on the frontier. Directions: Interstate 70 to exit 45 south on Illinois 127; then 100 yards south of the interstate, turn east (left) onto Museum Avenue. Follow this for a quarter mile to the site.

Library Summer Festival Kickoff — 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and June 16, Case Halstead Library, 571 Franklin St., Carlyle. Friday: Manzini the Magician and escape artist and Flutes and Fairies with Theresa O’Hare and Celtic guitarist Tom Irwin. Face painting, balloon twisting, concessions. Saturday: book sale at 9 a.m., Harvey the Juggler at 11:30 a.m., Swords and Roses do a performance of the Royal Wedding at 1 p.m. Wednesday and June 16, How to Make a Dragon with artist Joy McLauglin.

St. Elizabeth Parish Picnic — Friday-Sunday, parish grounds, 2300 Pontoon Road, Granite City. Fish fry, 4-7 p.m. Friday, Pigs ‘n blanket, 4-7 p.m. Saturday; all-you-can-eat chicken dinner, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Music by Out of Focus from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday; Rocket Band from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and GTO from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday; Neon Cadilac, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and SH-Boom, 6-10 p.m. Sunday. Bingo all three days. 5K run on Saturday. Silent auction. Carnival rides.

Schweizerfest — 8-midnight, Friday-Sunday, Highland town square. Hosted by the Jaycees. Parades, with theme of “Rock Bands,” are at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Highland High School Marching Band both evenings. Music by Hair Syndicate, 8-midnight Friday. Saturday lineup includes aasher tournaent, noon; Highland Idol and music by Divided Highway, 1-4 p.m.; music by Buffalo Road and Rockin Horse, 8-midnight. On Sunday, bags tournament, noon; Highland Idol, 1-4 p.m; music by Smokin Aces, 6:30-10:30 p.m. and Memories of Elvis, 7 p.m. Food, amusement rides and games for children; mechanical bull, poker stand.

Kid’s Fishing Tournament — 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Friday-Monday, Carlyle Lake, Dam West Spillway. Registration 8:30 a.m. Trophies awarded for total weight in two age categories, 10 and younger and 11 and older. Sponsored by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake.

Car Cruise — 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Dupo Car Show, Dupo. Hosted by Lakers Car Club. 876-1294.

Classic Car Cruise — 6:30 p.m., Saturday, leaving Lincoln Middle School, Route 66 past Edwardsville City Park and circling to Cassens Transport parking lot. Registration fee is $5. Sponsored by The Auto Body Shop and J.F. Electric. cityofedwardsville.com.

Walking Tour of Belleville — 10 a.m., Saturday, Forgotten Treasures Antique Shop, 1012 W. Main St., Belleville. Parking, West Main and S. 10th St. Encompasses approximately 16 city blocks and will last about 90 minutes. Cost $10 per person, no one younger than 12 allowed. Marvin’s Camera, 233-4810.

Kaskaskia Valley Nature Festival — 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Hanft Park, New Athens. Viewing of wild animals, question and answer session, educational seminars, displays. Plants, artwork and publications available for sale. $2 parking. Food available for purchase.

Two Rivers Fishing Fair — 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton. Free event. Fishing poles, bait and supplies provided. Food and drinks on site. Outdoor educational festivities, trout and bluegill ponds, virtual reality fishing, bow fishing stations with 3D targets. Free gifts and prizes. Bluegrass musician and storyteller. Cardinals mascot Fredbird, 1 p.m.

Paws on Parade — 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Melvin Price Memorial Park, Swansea. Free. Pledge walk starts at 11 a.m. Pet contests, pet photos, The Straight 6 Band & DJ, pet caricaturist, games and prizes, silent auction, raffles, food, drink and much more. $20, or pre-register $15 at pawfestival.com. Proceeds to Belleville Area Rescue of K-9s.

Salute to Scott — 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, O’Fallon City Park. Flag ceremony at 10:45 a.m.. Free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and soda served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Pony rides, rock-climbing wall, inflatables, fireman’s pole and antique fire engines. Business Expo, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Family activities, police and EMS display. military dog demonstration. Radio Disney on site, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Illinois Kids perform, 1-2 p.m. Making a huge banana split; get ready to eat it about 2 p.m. Attendance prizes, free family swim.

Freedom Fest 2011 — All day Saturday, 1667 Fifth St., Madison. Block party, free cookout, free kids games and bounce houses, live music (Jezreel Sun, Steve & the Group, Tammy Jennings) and dance team Anointed Feet. Free clothes pantry. Broken Wings Concert, 6:30 p.m. 217-240-0059.

Heritage Days — 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, Schlosser Museum, 114 W. Walnut St., Okawville. Book fair, flea market, vendor show and rummage sales. Food includes apple-wood smoked pulled pork, bratwurst, corn-on-the-cob, German-style potato salad, buttered noodles and homemade pies. Saturday entertainment: Thursday Night Thunder, 11:30 a.m.; Saturday Saturday, 11:30 a.m.; Thunder & Lightning Cloggers, 12:30 p.m.; The Harmony Roses barbershop quartet, 1:30. Sunday entertainment: The Groennert Girls, 11:45 a.m.; Pickin Chicks, 12:45 p.m. Sponsored by Okawville Chamber of Commerce.

Glass & Pottery Show — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, 29th Annual Belleville Antique American Glass & Pottery Show & Sale, Belle-Clair County Fairgrounds, 200 South Belt East, Belleville. 29 dealers from nine states. Guest authors: Danny Cornelius, Don Jones, Thomas Smith. A-Z depression, elegant, carnival, pattern glass, American made dinnerware and pottery. A panel of experts will offer flass identification from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission $5. Free parking.

Luncheon and Fashion Show — 1 p.m., Saturday, Hitz Home, 201 Belle St., Alhambra. Price $5. Salad luncheon. Fashion Show by Cato’s.

Music at Metter — 6-8 p.m., Sunday, Metter Park, Columbia. Featuring Butch & the Polka Kings. Food, refreshments. Bring lawn chair or blanket.

Car Cruise — 5-9 p.m. Wednesday, Dandy Inn, 1030 Lincoln Highway, Fairview Heights.

Summer Fun Skates — 1 p.m.-4 a.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays, all summer long, Fun Spot Skating & Party Center, 1400 West Blvd., Belleville. $5.50 Admission, $2 skate rental. Features cool summer fun. Limbo, musical corners, wipeout and more.

Civil War Program — 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Tri-Township Library, 209 S. Main St., Troy, Historical Society Annual dinner meeting, Civil War theme. “A Prelude to the Civil War” by Walter Hall. $15 per person in advance, $20 at door. Catered dinner. Public invited. RSVP by Friday. 667-6662.(*16*)

Labor & Industry Museum — 123 N. Chuch St., Belleville. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every Saturday. Free admission. Donations accepted. Newest exhibit, archealogical dig at National City, the footprint of the new bridge to span the Mississippi River. 222-9430.

“The Dog Days of Summer” Exhibit — through July 29, Schmidt Art Center, Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville. Sculptures of dogs from the American Kennel Club Museum. Trees by painter Raymond Yeager.

Art After 5 Art Hop — Circle of Health Wellness Center, 700-A S. Illinois St., Belleville. Artists Amy Hoffman and Jackie Reich. Art on display until June 30. Free.

Glen Carbon Heritage Museum — 124 School St., Glen Carbon. Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

Yanda Log Cabin — 148 Main St., Glen Carbon. Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. fourth Saturday of each month.

St. Clair County Historical Society Museum — 701 E. Washington St., Belleville. Also the Kunz House at 602 Fulton St., Belleville. Hours are from 2 to 4 p.m. second Sunday of each month. $2 adults, $1 children 6 to 14, 5 and younger free.

Barbecue — 3-7 p.m. today, Turkey Hill Grange, Illinois 15 and Soth Green Mount Road, Belleville. Eat in or carry out. 531-2600.

BBQ & Bake Sale — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. today M&I Bank Parking Lot, 2 Carlyle Plaza Drive, Belleville. All proceeds to SAVE.

Maryville Fish Fry — 4-8 p.m., every Friday, Maryville Knights of Columbus, Maryville. Carryouts available.

South of the Border Fiesta — 4-8 p.m. Friday, Bluff Grange, 8567 Illinois 163, Millstadt. $7 per person, all you can eat. Taco salad, tacos and burritos, grilled steak, chicken and shrimp, spanish rice, refried beans, sopapillas.

Aviston Fish Fry — 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, American Legion Post 1239, 601 South Clinton, Aviston. Eat in or carry out. 228-7311.

Cahokia Fish Fry — 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Cahokia Knights of Columbus Hall, Illinois 3 and East Fifth Street, Cahokia. Also chicken dinners. Carryouts available. 337-1303.

Collinsville Fish Fry — 4-7:30 p.m. Friday, Knights of Columbus Hall, Illinois 157, Collinsville. Eat in or carry out.

Fairview Heights Fish Fry — 3-8 p.m. Friday, Knights of Columbus Hall, 5420 Old Collinsville Road. Walton’s Fish Fry. Carryouts: 632-5222. Homemade desserts. Chicken dinners 3-7 p.m. Wednesday.

Fairview Heights Fish Fry — 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Fat Daddy’s, inside VFW Post 8677, 5325 N. Illinois St., Fairview Heights. Barbecue on Saturday, chicken on Sunday. 235-4112.

Highland Fish Fry — 4-7:30 p.m. Friday, VFW Post 5694, 1900 VFW Road, Highland. Eat in or carry out. 654-6367.

Mascoutah Fish Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, Mascoutah VFW Post 7682, 620 Donaphan St., Mascoutah. Dine in or carry out. 566-2288.

O’Fallon Fish Fry — 4-8 p.m. Friday, Knights of Columbus Hall, 402 E. Highway 50, O’Fallon. Sponsored by KC and Ladies Auxiliary. Eat in or carry out. 632-6229.

O’Fallon Fish Fry — 4-8 p.m. Friday, VFW Post 805, 221 W. First St., O’Fallon. Sponsored by Sgt. Charles A. Fricke VFW Post 805 and Ladies Auxiliary. 624-2651.

Okawville Fish Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, American Legion Post 233, 205 N. Hanover St., Okawville. Sponsored by American Legion Post. Eat in or carry out. 243-6545.

Scott Fish Fry — 4:30-8 p.m. Friday, Scott VFW Post 4183, outside Belleville gate, Scott Air Force Base. Eat in or carry out. 746-9801.

Shiloh Fish Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, 100 Eagle Drive, Shiloh. Sponsored by Eagles No. 545. Eat in or carryout. 624-5412.

Smithton Fish Fry — 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 4-9 p.m. Friday, 4-9 p.m. Saturday; 3-8 p.m. Sunday, Opie’s Fish Stand, Smithton. Carryouts available. 234-6400.

Swansea Fish Stand — 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 301 Service St., Swansea. Sponsored by Swansea Fish Stand. 222-7171.

USO Breakfast Fundraiser — 7 a.m.-10 a.m., Saturday, 122 E. State St., O’Fallon. $6 adults, $4 children. Features all-you-can eat biscuits and gravy, pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee. Sponsored by O’Fallon Masonic Lodge. 632-3177.

Breakfast Buffet — 8-10:30 a.m., Sunday, Corpus Christi Parish, 205 Rasp St., Shiloh. All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet featuring bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, pancakes, french toast sticks, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes, fruit, pastry and drink. Cost, $7.50 per adult, $3.50 per child, ages 6-12, younger than 6 free. 632-7614.

Chicken & Dumpling Dinner — 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, St. John’s United Church of Christ, 315 S. Smith St., Smithton. Adults $7.50, children 6-12, $3.50. Features all you can eat chicken & dumplings, green beans, corn, slaw, applesauce, pie and desserts, milk, tea, lemonade and coffee. 233-7358.

Cribbage — 6:30 p.m. today, Knights of Columbus Club, 1 Columbus Plaza, Collinsville. Nine games, nine opponents. Sponsored by Len Wahlig Cribbage Club. Phil, 288-7910 or Sandy, 636-295-2670.

Euchre Tournament — 7 p.m. Friday, Senior Center, Smithton.

Euchre Tournament — 1:30 p.m., Sunday, St. Pancratius Parish Center, Fayetteville. Cost $5. Contact Becky 978-4999.

Swansea Farmers Market — 2-6 p.m.. today, parking lot of Rural King, Illinois 159, Swansea.

Alton Marketplace — 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, parking lot, Henry Street and Landmarks Boulevard in Alton. Locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, organically grown crops. Plant materials, grass-fed meat, honey, fresh bread, baked goods, hand-crafted artwork. Nature crafts, seed bracelets or ladybug pins and magnets.

Rummagepalooza — 8a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, TOCO Shop Parking Lot, 825 W. Main St., Belleville. Rain date is Sunday. Kids activities, live music.

St. Libory Community Yard Sale — 7 a.m.-noon, Saturday. Maps of participants at Roger’s Service Station. 768-4429.

Mascoutah Farmers Market — 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Silver Creek Mills, 808 S. Jefferson St., Mascoutah. Fresh vegetables, herbs, potted plants, meat, baked goods, jams/jellies, farm fresh eggs and more. Live music and a coffee bar, Local and organic vegetables and grass fed meats.

Grafton Riverside Flea Market — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Historic Boatworks, 400 Front St., Grafton. More than 75 vendors. graftonloadingdock.com.

Farmer’s Market — 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, City Park, Coulterville. Through October.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” — 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Capitol Theatre, 202 S. Main St., Waterloo. The Monroe Actors State Company is staging Joseph Kesselring’s play for the second time in its 11-year history. Tickets, $10, seniors and students, $8, and can be reserved by calling 939-7469 or online at masctheatre.org.

Dance Recital — 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Lindenwood College. Becky Kern’s Dance Studio’s 50th dance recital.

Trap League — 6 p.m. today, Highland Pistol and Rifle Club, east of intersection Bellm and Iberg roads, Highland. Practice and 5-stand.

Trap League — 7 p.m. today, Edwardsville Gun Club, Edwardsville. 656-2875 or edwardsvillegunclub.org.

Trap Shooting — 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 1535 N. County Road, Mascoutah. Sponsored by Mascoutah Sportsmen’s Club

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot take items by telephone. The deadline for Local Events is noon Monday. Send information to What’s Happening, c/o Lifestyle, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427. E-mail to . Fax to: 236-9773. For information, call 239-2547.

What’s Happening

What is Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis’ salary?

July 3, 2011

MICHAEL SNEED June 22, 2011 1:20AM

Story Image

Updated: June 22, 2011 4:19PM

The eraser set . . .

$$$$$: Is this a case of good for the goose, but not for the gander?

? Translation: Last month, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called for “transparency” about Chicago Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard’s salary and threatened to file a Freedom of Information request to get it.

? The turn of the screw: So how come Lewis’ salary is so secret?

? Explanation: Sneed inquired last week about her salary and was told “I don’t know,” by top Lewis spokeswoman Liz Brown. Her salary is not publicly listed, and Sneed was told: “She doesn’t have to do so.”

Sneed’s bet: Word is casino legislation will be put on hold until October. It will take that long to learn how to play craps.

The Sheen machine . . .

Actor/madman Charlie Sheen and his adorables have been awfully quiet lately, and word is his Sherman Oaks Shangri-La is for sale.

Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new bodyguard detail is moving into an old firehouse near the mayor’s Ravenswood home.

? The gripe: The place has been occupied by a North Side paramedic command staff, which is being reassigned. Word is neighbors are not looking forward to new parking restrictions, but . . . hey, cops will abound.

? Mayoral response: “The current tenant [of the mayor’s Ravenswood house] moves out at the end of month and the mayor and his family will move in sometime after they complete cleaning and maintenance,” an Emanuel spokesman said. “In terms of paramedics, they are moving to another firehouse but the move was already planned prior to this one becoming available.”

The royal set . . .

? Coo corner: Pippa Middleton, who is garnering more headlines than her royal sister, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is not on the royal meat market as a bevy of Brit wags are suggesting. She’s still this/close to her former beau, banker Alex Loudon . . . although Pippa apparently calls royal in-law Prince Harry ‘Captain’ (his military rank) and Harry calls her ‘Commando’ (because of rumors she was not wearing underwear on the day of the royal wedding).

? Canuck yuks: Meanwhile, paparazzi are salivating over sister Kate’s first North American tour in hopes the new duchess will don a 10-gallon cowboy hat that she’ll receive for the annual rodeo called the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.

Sneed has been getting calls wondering whether the large, tall evergreen shrubs replacing simple foliage encapsulating diners on the posh RL restaurant walkway have anything to do with a flash mob attack in the vicinity earlier this month.

? Explanation: The incredibly popular eatery is just freshening up its look, and waiters will soon be wearing new Parisian-style duds, according to restaurant sources.

? Fascination: RL diner addicts complain it puts a damper on those who eat at the trendy eatery to see and be seen, don’tchaknow.

Tips & twaddle . . .

? Snag ’em: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch just snagged himself a valuable piece of Capitol Hill property: the large hideaway office previously used by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who was a close pal. It has been empty since Kennedy died in 2009.

? Pay ’em: Arnold Schwarzenegger is paying child support already, even though no divorce has officially been filed, according to RadarOnline.com.

? Visit ’em: First lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters are scheduled to end their weeklong African trip — which included an unscheduled visit with South African hero Nelson Mandela — with a safari. Former first lady Laura Bush went on safari with her daughters in 2007.

All in the family: Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, his Illinois Attorney General daughter, Lisa — plus the entire Madigan family — were spotted dining at Lincolnwood’s legendary Myron and Phil restaurant on Father’s Day . . . Today’s birthdays: Carson Daly, 38; Kurt Warner, 40; Dan Brown, 47; Cyndi Lauper, 58; Meryl Streep, 62, and Kris Kristofferson, 75.

What is Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis’ salary?

Casino sees colleges as worker incubator

July 3, 2011

Where do you turn to quickly train up to 2,000 people in such jobs as blackjack dealer andslot-machine technician?

Penn National Gaming, which plans to open the Hollywood Casino Columbus by the end of 2012,hopes local colleges will be the answer.

The company says it has had discussions with at least three central Ohio schools, includingColumbus State Community College, to create several programs to train workers for the $400 millioncasino.

A growing number of colleges nationwide have added casino-related training in the past severalyears as more states legalize table-game gambling.

“The nearest gaming operation to the area is in Cincinnati, so we don’t really have an existingwork force that we can draw on,” said Karen Bailey, spokeswoman for the Wyomissing, Pa.-basedcompany.

Bailey said Penn National has met with officials at Columbus State, Franklin University andCentral Ohio Technical College in Newark. But the company is waiting for its new general manager,company veteran Ameet Patel, to create a human-resources plan once he begins his duties on Aug.1.

Bailey said the casino will need people in areas such as accounting, food service, humanresources, information technology, maintenance, marketing and security. But she said the largestneed for training likely will be for table-game dealers and slot-machine technicians.

“They’ll represent a large proportion of our work force, and they’re labor-intensive jobs thatrequire very specific skills,” she said.

Representatives of the local colleges said it is too early to tell if they can help PennNational, but they are excited about the opportunity.

“We stand ready to help customize a specific program for the company or help it tap into one orall of our credit and noncredit work-force-development courses,” said Ann Signet, Columbus State’ssupervisor of continuing and professional education.

Signet said she could see the school helping Penn National with its slot-machine maintenance,customer-service and hospitality needs, but she wasn’t sure about the dealer training.

“Until we see what exactly they want, it is hard to say, ‘Yes, we can,’ or ‘No, we can’t,’”Columbus State spokesman David Wayne said.

Garry McDaniel, an associate dean and professor in Franklin’s MBA program, thinks the campuscould provide business-management and leadership training to Penn National.

To get ahead of other schools, the Knox County Career Center in Mount Vernon offered classes inblackjack and baccarat dealing last fall, but it had to cancel the courses because not enoughstudents signed up.

The center hopes to offer the individual courses again next year, along with a full nine-monthcasino program that includes classes in customer service, hospitality and surveillance, said JaneMarlow, the adult-education director.

“Our training is all about jobs,” Marlow said. “We’ve had some manufacturing jobs go away, andthis is a great new industry for Ohio and our students.”

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, W.Va., has helped train Penn Nationalworkers in leadership, computer and English-as-a-second-language skills for the Hollywood Casino innearby Charles Town for about six years, said Pat Hubbard, director of customized training andwork-force development.

But it recently became one of three state colleges mandated by the West Virginia lotterycommission to train dealers.

The school hired seasoned dealers to teach blackjack, poker and craps. And it set up a school atthe casino to teach the trainees, supported by funding from the state.

“We trained over 400 people to start up the operation, and now we’re down to training about 40people every six weeks,” Hubbard said.

Students typically can be trained for less than $1,000 in 10 weeks or fewer, she said.

“The students usually end up getting a good job at a relatively inexpensive price,” Hubbardsaid. Dealer salaries vary by state, but they typically range from $20,000 to $50,000 a year.

Bailey said Penn National likely will start hosting recruitment and job fairs six months beforethe Columbus casino opens. Workers who need to go through training likely will be hired threemonths before the doors open.

The company has promised to hire at least 90 percent of its workers from central Ohio, shesaid.

Casino sees colleges as worker incubator

Bingo Bonanza coming to Museum of Chincoteague

July 3, 2011

CHINCOTEAGUE — Bingo Bonanza is coming to Chincoteague Island. Tickets go on sale June 28 at the Museum of Chincoteague Island and the New Church Fire Department.

This cowboy-themed event will be held Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Chincoteague Center.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and games start promptly at 6 p.m.

Admission is $20 per person for a board of nine cards, and gift prizes will be awarded for all twenty games.

Additional cards may be purchased at the door. Valuable prizes include Chincoteague vacation packages and cruises, Marguerite Henry book collections (some autographed by the author), an original Wesley Dennis sketch, a Breyer pony collection, a variety gift baskets loaded with great items and much more.

Western garb is encouraged, so wear your cowboy boots and hats. Vittles and grub will be provided by the New Church Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Seating for this special event is limited. Buy your tickets early to enjoy this fun family night.

All proceeds benefit the Museum of Chincoteague Island and the New Church Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Bingo Bonanza coming to Museum of Chincoteague

No Casino OK, no Pao de Acucar-Carrefour deal-BNDES

July 3, 2011

22:34, Saturday 2 July 2011

* BNDES, gov’t enthusiasm cools for mega retail merger

* Casino (Paris: FR0000125585 – news) controls Pao de Acucar, ice-cold to deal

SAO PAULO, July 2 (Reuters) – The BNDES bank will not putup the $2.4 billion it pledged for the merger of Brazil’sbiggest retailers, Grupo Pao de Acucar and France’s Carrefour (Euronext: CA.NX – news) ,unless Casino is on board, bank president LucianoCoutinho said in a local magazine.

Coutinho told Brazil’s weekly Veja that “without agreement,the deal is off,” a statement which underscores a cooling ofthe bank’s and the government’s enthusiasm toward the mega-dealthat could create a retail giant with revenues of 65 billionreais ($42 billion) annually.

Casino is the controlling shareholder of Pao de Acucar but Brazilian tycoon Abilio Diniz remains thechairman, as well as a major stakeholder, of the companythrough a partnership agreement with the French retailer struckhalf a decade ago.

Casino has been ice-cold toward the deal that would make ita minority stakeholder in a company controlled by its archrival Carrefour and it has started arbitration proceedingsagainst Diniz for allegedly negotiating the deal withoutinforming it.

“Without an agreement between Pao de Acucar and Casino, theBNDES will not enter into the deal,” Coutinho said in the Vejainterview.

Although he said that he still believes in the merits ofthe merger, Coutinho’s statements indicate a more cautiousofficial government position on the deal than earlier in theweek, when the proposal was praised as a way to increase thesale of Brazilian goods abroad.

The deal fits the mold of the BNDES’ drive to createnational champions that have the scale to competeinternationally. The bank’s financing helped JBS gofrom being an obscure meatpacker in the backwaters of Brazil’sinterior to the world’s largest integrated meat company inlittle more than five years.

But local media, opposition lawmakers and analysts jumpedall over the Pao de Acucar-Carrefour proposal, questioningnearly every argument that the government and Diniz put forthas merits for the deal.

“Our proposal is to finance national leaders amongBrazilian companies,” Coutinho said. “This is a basic conditionfor us to participate in the project. But it’s too early tospeak of the details of the contract. We are still in thepreliminary stages.”

(Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Eric Walsh)

No Casino OK, no Pao de Acucar-Carrefour deal-BNDES