Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pipe smokers forced outside at St. Charles

As far as I know, the smoking ban applies to every building in IL. I know certain nursing homes are exempted. And although I heard a rumor on casinos being exempted, I can't confirm if this is the 100 percent truth.

Tobacco shops are the only places that are exempted from the state smoking ban at all.

It can apply to private events if you're an antismoker, and you investigate the event in smoke cop fashion. I wouldn't agree with investigating a private event with smokers. Because there are more important things in life than smoking.

That antismoking woman who stuck her nose into these pipe smokers' event needs to mind her own business. Especially since it's more of a private event.

I wonder if she would try snooping into the business of smokers who have their OWN private events when it comes to fighting the state smoking ban period.

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ARTICLE LINK

No hot air: St. Charles pipe club has to move

By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/3/2008 12:15 AM

Pipe enthusiasts from across the region can enjoy the aroma and flavor of fine tobacco at a convention in St. Charles this weekend -- but they'll have to do it outside just like everybody else.

That's because their meeting place, Pheasant Run Resort, has pulled the plug on an arrangement to allow indoor smoking that came under scrutiny by tobacco opponents and public health officials just days before the convention.

"What we originally had planned, in our opinion and in the opinion of (the city of) St. Charles, met the law," resort general manager Mike Larson said Friday, referring to the statewide smoking ban that took effect Jan. 1.

Under the agreement, Pheasant Run, 4051 E. Main St., was to lease its MegaCenter to the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club, whose members then would be responsible for all aspects of the event -- from janitorial duties to food service. In addition, anyone who showed up needed to become a club member for $15 before entering.

Collectively, Larson said, the efforts aimed to ensure no one from the general public and no resort employees would be subjected to secondhand smoke.

The idea, however, didn't fly with Janet Williams of the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, who quickly reported the situation to state and local health departments, police, the state's attorneys in Kane and DuPage counties, and other elected officials after learning about it this week.

"What concerns me is, I think they think there's a compromise," said Williams, who is co-chairman of the nonprofit coalition and said she helped write the legislation. "There's not a compromise. The act is clear: It's against the law to smoke indoors."

After hearing similar concerns from public health officials, Pheasant Run agreed to erect a large tent outside, at least 15 feet from MegaCenter entrances. The tent will serve as at the official smoking area while the convention is in town today and Sunday.

"There will not be any smoking inside the structure," said St. Charles police spokesman Paul McCurtain.

Larson declined to speculate about how the change could affect the resort's relationship with the pipe collectors club, whose conventions have drawn thousands of visitors to St. Charles over the last six years. A club representative could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Larson emphasized that Pheasant Run Resort "supports" the state smoking ban and "will continue to do so in the future. We are in full compliance with the requirements," he said.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Smoking bans are sick jokes-the evidence is in the smoke-filled restrooms

This was my best night EVER in working at Wrigley ever since the ballpark got a smoking ban. Almost every single time I walked into one of the men's restrooms, I saw a thick cloud of smoke in the corner with stalls.

It felt like I was in smokey heaven! I bet places used to look more like fog inside with all of that smoke in the old days. It was so smokey in that corner, you could barely see the stall doors!

Oh yeah, I heard some anti voices in there from "boys" who sounded like drunk retards. I yelled out the "FU" words when I heard someone yell "NO SMOKING!" I'm sure that person didn't hear me since it was noisy and crowded as heck in there.

Some of those boys were asking me "How come you can smoke in here if you work?" I would've replied to that Q. But some dude answered it for me perfectly. "He works hard, and he deserves a cig."

One drunk anti in there threatened to get the cops. I wish he DID get the cops. Whatcha gonna do if I'm finished smoking and I split out of the restroom? LOL!!

It was kinda neat seeing some of those fans smoke close to each otha in the corner. They were kinda togetha in the same fashion you see groups of gangs togetha in the streets.

Yes, that was a cool day being in a VERY smoke-filled restroom! Goes to show smoking bans are sick jokes. And it also goes to show the Cub fans don't give a sheet about all of those NO SMOKING signs too.

I can confirm no anti approached me in that restroom (let alone a smoke cop) since I did most of my smoking in the actual stall in the midst of a smoke cloud. And outta respect for members in this group, I will refrain from explaining how I would react to a person like that.

I will say they're lucky that's work. Cause if you tried pulling off a cop threat in my face in the streets for smoking, that person betta get to steppin if he doesn't want trouble! Especially late at nite!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cig Smugglers Funnel Monet to Terrorist Groups

A FOX NEWS-BASED ARTICLE (LINK)

I DO love hearing about folks selling packs of tax-free cigs in the streets. And since that illegal profit is being used to fund terrorist groups, I wouldn't be surprised if those smugglers are armed and dangerous if a smoke cop tries bringing em down.

What's going on up there is similar to what's going on near me. But the cig smugglers in NY are taking their "jobs" of selling cigs illegally to a new level. :)

Maybe NY wouldn't be losing 100s of mills of bucks if their tobacco taxes weren't so high.

Tobacco prohibition doesn't work. As Lynda asked, didn't we learn anythang from the first prohibition? I guess the modern govt didn't learn sheet from the first prohibition. Cause you have smokers doing what the heck it takes to get cigs as cheaply as possible (myself included).

And you got smugglers selling tax-free cigs....and the money they make off of their illegal sales hurts NY not just in terms of losing tobacco tax revenues. The money is being funded in evil fashion too. :)

I bet 20 years ago, if I told someone in a rough area "You can make money by selling cig packs yourself," that bro or dude would've laughed hard at me. But it's understandable since we all could afford the cost of a pack back then! But now the money you need to get to fund an evil activity is in the bank....I mean that pack of 20 cigs! Multiply those packs, and you can ring up the money you can get off of the streets from your sales!

Times have changed with even the way evil folks do business out here. And you can thank high tobacco taxes for making their jobs easier so to speak.

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Cigarette Smugglers Funnel Money to Terror Groups, Report Finds

Tuesday , April 29, 2008

By Catherine Herridge

FC1

ADVERTISEMENT

WASHINGTON

Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah.

A 15-page report congressional report, obtained by FOX News, includes intelligence from law enforcement as well as New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance.

The report reads in part: Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah.

“This is a very serious homeland security issue, one that has gone unnoticed for far too long,” said Rep. Peter King, (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, who called for the investigation.

“Cigarette smugglers are able to generate millions of dollars in illegal profits with a great deal of this wealth being sent to terrorist groups overseas – groups that would like nothing more than to inflict devastating harm on our country and its citizens.”

One of the key issues, according to the report, is a potential flaw in New York State policy. According to King’s office, there is a policy in the state of “forebearance,” or refusing to collect on sales of Native American tax-free cigarettes to non-Native Americans.

Critics of the policy say it has effectively created a safe haven for smugglers. In some cases, the report says, a well-organized operation can buy cigarettes tax-free on New York’s Indian reservations and sell them at a great profit in the New Yock City area, generating up to $300,000 per week with a loss of up to $576 million in tax revenues to New York State.

According to the report, citing federal and New York state law enforcement sources, nearly 60 percent of all convenience retail outlets in New York City are now Arab-owned, primarily families of Lebanese, Yemeni, Jordanian and Palestinian descent. While the vast majority of retailers are operating above board, some are not.

The report says that these retailers can funnel their profits from the sale of cigarettes to terrorist groups in the Mideast. It claims this “tobacco and terror” relationship has been found in a handful of recent cases.

“…the infamous ‘Lackawanna Seven’ reportedly received funding from an individual named Aref Ahmed for their travel from Buffalo to Afghanistan to attend an al Qaeda training camp,” the report says, referring to a group of American-born men of Yemeni descent who pleaded guilty to terror training.

“The State is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue; and given the current budget shortfall, this would seem to be more than enough reason to put the so-called policy of forebearance out of its misery,” King said.

“But this is more than just a matter of lost revenue. It is a matter of national security. Cigarette smuggling in New York State must be brought to an end immediately.”

Hearings dealing specifically with the report are scheduled this Thursday in Washington before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"You know smoking is bad for you"

My exact reply to this nonsmoking sis from online who said that quote to me.

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And? There are worse things I could be doing instead of smoking. I rather be a smoker than someone who smokes crack or uses meth. Never mind these folks who drink alcohol 24/7.

I'm more concerned about a bullet killing me than a cigarette.
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It's people like her (as well as Grady from the ACS) who make me just about as peed off as me confronting a racist. I also know smoking is not the worst thang anyone can do in this world as well.

I thought I was nice with her in my reply. But I wouldn't mind telling her "If you don't like talking to smokers, then F off. Or betta yet, you need to try a cig for yourself before snitching about smoking. If you try a cig and you hate the taste of it, feel free to express how much you hate smokers then. But I got a heck of a lot more sense than these brothas out here who are addicted to illegal drugs. They like begging othas for money to support their dirty habits. You don't see me begging othas for 8 bucks so I can buy a pack of cigs."

Elgin's chips are down

This article includes a comments area. But me believes you gotta log in to comment on there (be registered in otha words)

It's sad these IL cities ain't getting casino money to help fund for projects. The smoking ban is more of a culprit than bad weather. Bad weather didn't prevent people from smoking and gambling in the past!

ARTICLE LINK

Elgin's chips are down

Boat revenue sinks; with it, city projects

April 27, 2008

ELGIN -- Its profits have served as the economic engine behind a revitalized downtown, as well as the funding source for many of the city's infrastructure improvements.

And while factors ranging from bad weather to a smoking ban have been blamed for pushing down the Grand Victoria Casino's revenues in 2008, city officials remain confident that will not significantly impact the more than 100 projects and programs budgeted for casino funding this year.

The city had expected to receive $28.4 million in riverboat proceeds this year. But reports indicate gross revenues have been down by roughly 17 percent so far compared to 2007. There also has been a recorded 9 percent drop in attendance.

Elgin receives $1 for every person admitted into the casino, which accounted for $2.5 million in revenue last year.

The city also collects 5 percent of the riverboat's gross receipts. Elgin got about $21.8 million of the riverboat's roughly $436 million in gross revenues in 2007.

If the revenue decline continues, the city could lose as much as $4 million in projected funds by year's end.

City Manager Olufemi Folarin said after reviewing the findings of a January financial report by the Illinois Gaming Board, city staff started compiling a list of projects to recommend to the Elgin City Council for elimination.

Money collected from the casino goes into the city's Riverboat Fund, which has been slated to pay for about 75 one-time, capital improvement projects in 2008.

Funding from the casino also has been allocated to assist 23 area groups, including the Children's Theatre of Elgin, Public Action to Deliver Shelter and the United Way of Elgin.

No operational impact

Folarin would not comment on which of the 109 projects budgeted with Grand Victoria funding that were recommended to be cut, saying it would be unfortunate if circumstances brought about the elimination of even one.

"To us, that's bad -- because once you put a project on your books and you're going to do it you really want to do it," he said. "But to other communities that's a luxury, because they don't have anywhere to turn."

Folarin said overall, the city's financial picture looks better than that of a number of neighboring municipalities. He credited an adherence to a conservative fiscal policy and a large economic base for making Elgin self-sufficient, which averted reliance on the riverboat to help pay for vital operational expenses such as police officers and firefighters.

"Most of the projects are projects we put on the books because we think it's in the best interest of the community to have it," he said. "But if we don't have the means to do it because the riverboat money went down, then so be it."

City Fiscal Services Group Director James Nowicki said the issue over what project to cut has already been settled, at least for now.

Plans to construct a controversial traffic roundabout at the intersection of Dundee Avenue and Summit Street have been postponed until next year due to unresolved issues over its engineering. Council members gave preliminary approval for the project last month. Nowicki said with that project now off this year's budget, the city will save an estimated $4 million.

"It was fortuitous for us to be able postpone that project and then have those additional funds used as the offset," he said.

Others hurting, too

Gambling revenues are down this year at riverboat casinos statewide. The Illinois Gaming Board has reported an average loss per month of nearly 20 percent among the state's nine riverboats.

Many factors have been attributed to the decline, including a slowing economy, an unusually bad winter and a statewide smoking ban that went into effect Jan. 1.

"We think the biggest impact has been the smoking ban," said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, a non-profit advocacy group representing riverboat casino operations.

Swoik said revenue losses for riverboat casinos in northern Illinois have consistently been higher than that of their counterparts in Indiana, where there is no smoking ban.

"They (Indiana) have the same weather and the same economy that we have, so it's got to be the smoking ban," he said. ""When you compare Illinois to Indiana, they're picking up more of the market share every month and we're losing market share."

But according to Illinois Gaming Board spokesman Gene O'Shea, the smoking ban is but one factor of many.

The extent of the ban's effect on profits can't be determined, O'Shea said.

"The markets are down in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri as well," he said. "The industry is being affected across the country.