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home : news : state news free April 22, 2021

Casino developer sought by city of Chicago
Chicago is laying its cards on the table and officially seeking bids to build the first casino in the nation’s third-largest city.

City leaders want a “world-class” resort  that’ll draw locals and tourists while boosting Chicago’s finances, but several steps remain.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that Chicago is officially seeking proposals to operate a resort that includes a casino, a hotel of up to 500 rooms, restaurants and bars. Whoever gets the license will also get to run slot machines at both of Chicago’s airports. Overall, the operator will be allowed up to 4,000 “gaming positions”, or seats where bets are placed.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

GOP puts new twist on Illinois redistricting plan
Illinois Republicans have added a new twist to their call for an independent redistricting commission in hopes of overcoming Democrats’ claims that their plan would likely be found unconstitutional.
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Bill passed to reclassify small drug possession
A bill to lessen penalties for possessing and selling small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, narrowly passed out of the state House of Representatives Wednesday after a contentious debate.

The discussion over House Bill 3447 provoked strong emotions on both sides of the aisle, passing by a 61-49 vote, or just one more than was needed to pass.

The bill — filed by Rep. Carol Ammons, an Urbana Democrat — would reclassify small amounts of drug possession from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

High court: Petition circulators confined to gathering signatures for one party
An Illinois Supreme Court decision Wednesday clarified that the state election code prohibits a person from collecting signatures for both a party candidate in a consolidated primary and an independent candidate in the consolidated general election that follows.

The court interpreted the section of the election code that is referred to as the prohibition on “dual circulators.”

Thursday, April 22, 2021

East St. Louis extends school year at least a month
Public school students in East St. Louis will be attending class a month longer this year to make up for a loss in educational progress due to COVID-19.

East St. Louis School District 189 board voted late Tuesday to extend the school year by nearly a month. Instead of ending the school year on May 26, the last day of school will arrive June 29.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Priest removed from parish post after assault allegations
The pastor of a Catholic parish has been asked to step aside following allegations he sexually assaulted a minor 36 years ago, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

In a letter to members of Christ the King parish, Cardinal Blase Cupich said the Rev. Larry Sullivan will live away from the parish while the allegation is investigated.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

EPA report finds delays in inspections of cancer-causing emissions
A senior federal official stalled inspections by regional offices to monitor cancer-causing emissions at suburban facilities in Illinois, according to a report by the inspector general which audits the performance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report also found EPA officials delayed informing suburban residents about the ethylene oxide emissions at a Willowbrook sterilization facility and did not conduct public meetings with residents living near two other facilities in Lake County.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Lawmakers spar over using estimates in redistricting
Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly are continuing to wrangle over the possible use of census estimates, as opposed to official numbers, to redraw state legislative and congressional district maps.

It’s a decision that could have a significant impact on whether Illinois residents are equally represented in the Statehouse and Congress, and one that is particularly important for communities of color and other underrepresented groups.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Elections chief resigns; extortion attempt
The executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, who was placed on leave after being the subject of an extortion scheme online, will resign effective June 30, according to an agency news release.

Steve Sandvoss made the announcement about his resignation at an elections board meeting Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Municipal leaders decry cuts to local budgets
Municipal leaders are pushing back on a proposal by Gov. JB Pritzker that would further reduce state funds given to local governments each year.

Several municipal groups held a virtual news conference Tuesday to outline their concerns with the governor’s suggestion, representing over 200 municipalities in the Chicago-Metro area. Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley, who serves as vice president for the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, acted as a moderator for the event.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Lawmakers push to require nursing homes to offer virtual visits
Lawmakers and advocates are calling for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a bill that would require nursing homes to offer virtual visits for residents to prevent social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AARP Illinois, the senior advocacy group which helped craft Senate Bill 2137, held a virtual news conference Tuesday to emphasize the necessity of such legislation as the ongoing pandemic prevents nursing home residents from in-person visits and participating in other daily social activities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Audit of Lincoln Museum shows gaps in internal controls
Leadership at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum assured state lawmakers Tuesday that its new policies for loaning artifacts will correct the insufficient oversight that led to the improper loan of an original copy of the Gettysburg Address in 2018.

ALPLM Acting Executive Director Melissa Coultas said the agency has established safeguards to protect the safety of artifacts and collection items, including a new policy that requires the ALPLM Board of Trustees to approve any loan requests.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

House bill would free up Medicaid spending for autism
Braxton Lear is 5 years old and tall for his age. He runs – not walks – from his scooter, to the swing set, to the trampoline in his great-aunt’s backyard in Caseyville, about 12 miles east of St. Louis.

Braxton’s mom, Shannon Lear, asks him what’s his name, how old is he, and what’s her name. He answers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Affordable housing tax credit bill advances
A bill that would offer state tax credits to owners and developers of affordable housing units passed out of committee last week at the Illinois Capitol.

Senate Bill 2445, also known as the Build Illinois Homes Tax Credit Act, is an omnibus bill that aims to address the shortage of affordable housing stock in Illinois by offering incentives to landlords who maintain qualified affordable housing properties and for the purchase of building materials to be used for the construction of new affordable housing units.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Bill would make killing police dog a felony
Lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday to make it a felony offense if a person kills or injures a police animal while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, sponsored House Bill 3019, which passed with 72 votes in favor. He said it was brought to him by a state’s attorney from his district..

Monday, April 19, 2021

Proponents cheer new Illinois coal ash safety
Environmentalists are cheering rules that Illinois regulators have adopted to govern toxic byproducts from burning coal.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board last week approved guidelines for detecting and cleaning up harmful coal ash contamination from groundwater. They are the first rules in Illinois directed at the residue from burning coal to produce electricity.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Pritzker announces $1.6 billion in federal funds for early childhood services
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that $1.6 billion in federal funding will be allocated toward early childhood education and child care providers in Illinois.

The funds will be provided through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March, Pritzker announced at a news conference in Aurora on Friday, and will include $140 million in direct grants for child care providers to be dispersed over the next three weeks.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Ag director planning for a state fair in DuQuoin
DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ Agriculture Director said plans are underway for a state fair in Southern Illinois after the annual event in Du Quoin was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Conservation District announces summer camps
DECATUR — The Macon County Conservation District is offering a variety of nature camps this summer for children ages 1-15. These camps have been connecting children with nature, encouraging exploration, and creating lasting memories since 1982. All camps meet at Rock Springs Conservation Area.  Online registration is open at
Saturday, April 17, 2021

UofI researchers offer advice on reducing food waste
 URBANA, Ill. — Food waste and obesity are major problems in developed countries. They are both caused by an overabundance of food, but strategies to reduce one can inadvertently increase the other. A broader perspective can help identify ways to limit food waste while also promoting healthy nutrition, two University of Illinois researchers suggest.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Vaccine available today in Spfld. for college students
SPRINGFIELD — With young people driving the increase in COVID-19 cases in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is announcing "College Vaccination Days" to encourage all community college and public and private university students across Illinois to get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites. This weekend and next week state-supported mass vaccination sites across Illinois will have COVID-19 vaccination appointments available for college and university students. IDPH is partnering with colleges and universities in Illinois to help them direct their students to state-supported sites.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Registration open for LLCC summer and fall '21 classes
SPRINGFIELD — Registration is now open for summer and fall 2021 classes at Lincoln Land Community College. LLCC’s offerings include academic transfer as well as career training programs. The summer session begins June 7 and fall semester begins Aug. 21.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Pritzker announces $1.6 billion in federal funding for early childhood services
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that $1.6 billion in federal funding will be allocated toward early childhood education and child care providers in Illinois.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Quarter of Illinois' population fully vaccinated
SPRINGFIELD — Nearly one quarter of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

HSHS Launches COVID-19 Vaccine scheduling by phone
CENTRAL ILLINOIS — You can now call 1-844-216-4707 to make an appointment for a COVID vaccine at any HSHS vaccine clinic.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Elected Chicago school board bill passes House
SPRINGFIELD — A bill which would implement an elected Chicago school board passed the Illinois House Thursday, while opponents of the legislation continued to push for compromise amendments.
Friday, April 16, 2021

DUI bill would make injuring, killing a police dog a felony
SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday to make it a felony offense if a person kills or injures a police animal while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Friday, April 16, 2021

State unemployment falls to 7.1% in March; virus rate remans near 4%
SPRINGFIELD — The statewide unemployment rate in Illinois fell three-tenths of a percentage point in March, to 7.1 percent, as the daily count of new COVID-19 cases and the case positivity rate appeared to be leveling.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Chicago schools, teachers union reach agreement
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Teachers Union and the city’s school district reached a tentative agreement Thursday that could lead to high school students returning to class for the first time in more than a year.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Quincy bar owner charged in student attack
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — An aggravated battery charge has been filed against a Quincy, Illinois, bar owner in connection with an attack on a Black suburban Chicago college student.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Preliminary work begins on Obama Center
Preliminary work on the construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side is scheduled to begin later this month city officials announced Wednesday as a new lawsuit trying to stop the project was filed.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have committed $200 million for Jackson Park and infrastructure work needed to facilitate construction of the center and for redevelopment in nearby communities.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Illinois shows growth in electric transportation
A national clean energy trade organization has released a report showing growth in electric transportation-related jobs in Illinois could position the state to lead the domestic supply chain.

Advanced Energy Economy, an industry association which promotes advanced energy technologies and services, released its “Electrifying Illinois” report which shows the state is on pace to reach 83 percent job growth in electric transportation-related work by 2024, regardless of legislative action. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Family sees video of teen's fatal shooting by police
The family of a Chicago teenager fatally shot by a police officer  last month has viewed video of the shooting, the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced late Tuesday.

The agency said it would not immediately release the video at the request of the family of Adam Toledo, 13.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Protections for sexual assault survivors expanded
The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Committee advanced two bills Tuesday with unanimous support, one to decriminalize transmission of HIV and another to expand protections for survivors of sexual assault.

An amendment to House Bill 1063, introduced by Democratic state Rep. Carol Ammons, of Urbana, changes several Illinois statutes related to persons living with HIV/AIDS and its transmission.

Under current Illinois law, a person who transmits HIV to another person can be charged with “criminal transmission of HIV.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Housing advocates seek support for homelessness prevention bills
Housing advocates including former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti joined state Rep. La Shawn Ford and state Sen. Karina Villa Tuesday to call for support for a measure aimed at supporting low-income renters.

House Bill 2775 and Senate Bill 2492 are a pair of identical bills which aim to create additional legal defenses for renters and protections against discrimination based on source of income, as well as preventing undue administrative burdens when applying for housing assistance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Illinois State Police: FOID, concealed carry permits extended again
The Illinois State Police has given another 150-day extension to people whose Firearms Owners Identification cards or Concealed Carry Licenses have expired due to a backlog in processing renewal applications.

A panel of state lawmakers gave approval Tuesday to that emergency rule after ISP officials assured them that the agency had made significant progress toward clearing a backlog of renewal applications.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chicago protests over Wright shooting
Dozens of people marched around downtown Chicago on Tuesday to express solidarity with the family of Daunte Wright, a Minnesota man fatally shot by police officer during a traffic stop.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Illinois expands Medicaid coverage for mothers, including postpartum
Illinois will now provide Medicaid benefits to eligible mothers for up to 12 months postpartum, a major extension from the previous 60-day limit.

Gov. JB Pritzker made the announcement Tuesday after a waiver submitted in 2019 by the state to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was recently approved.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Congressman joins Statehouse GOP in calling for redistricting commission
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis joined his Republican colleagues in the General Assembly Monday in calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to support legislation to form an independent commission to redraw congressional and state legislative district maps.

“In the end, I think the public is demanding an open transparent process,” Davis, of Taylorville, said during a Statehouse news conference. “And many of our colleagues, including Gov. Pritzker, have said in their own words, that they would like an open and transparent process, one that's going to stop politicians from picking their own voters.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Illinois' vaccination pace increases
Over the past seven days, 132,188 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered daily on average in Illinois as of Monday, an increase of more than 27,000 from the daily average one week ago.

That average was driven upward by a one-day record of 175,681 doses administered Friday, the third day in a row the record was broken.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Judge says ex-senators should be paid
Two former Illinois state senators have a “clear right” to receive portions of their legislative salaries that were withheld by Illinois Comptroller Mendoza and her predecessors, a Cook County judge decided last week.

But Mendoza said she intends to appeal the ruling, meaning this latest development is likely not the last word in the case brought by former Democratic Sens. Michael Noland, from Elgin, and James Clayborne Jr., from Belleville.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Video shows black high school foot ball player forced to sit near banana peels
A black football player at a northwest Illinois high school is seen on video sitting down in a locker littered with banana peels after a teammate threatens to break his knees if he doesn’t comply.

Moline Police Chief Darren Gault called the incident at Moline High School a “disturbing racist scene.” Detectives interviewed student athletes, coaches and staff members over the weekend and turned their findings over to prosecutors, Gault said.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Urban farmers bring fresh food to southern Illinois
During the beginning of the pandemic, as many people were trying to grasp what exactly COVID-19 was, Eugenia Alexander decided she’d start growing produce for her family and the community at her Glen Carbon home. She thought she needed it for survival.

“I wanted to do that because what was happening was a lot of fruit was being recalled,(and) a lot of veggies were being recalled during the pandemic when it first started, so I was just like, you know what, us getting food from these grocery stores isn’t like promised,” Alexander said. . “Anything can happen. If it wasn’t a pandemic, to where it could be shut down and what are we gonna do?”

Monday, April 12, 2021

Tourism, hospitality leaders call for state guidance amid recovery
Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday that hotels have “been among the hardest hit” segment of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the industry may not see a full recovery until 2024 at the earliest.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Toddler shot on Lake Shore Drive out of coma
A toddler who was shot last week during a road rage incident on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive has been removed from a medically induced coma, according to doctors treating the 21-month-old child.
Monday, April 12, 2021

Pekin book club members find oasis in community of readers
The origins of the Next Chapter Adult Book Group go back far enough, the current facilitator is not quite sure how long the club has been in existence.

“I know it’s been at least 15 years,” said Beth Bradford, head of information services at the Pekin Public Library.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Long sentence for man accused of trying to aid Islamic State
An Illinois man who believed he was giving phones to help the Islamic State group commit violence was sentenced Friday to 13 1/2 years in federal prison.
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Tourism and hospitality leaders call for state support, guidance amid COVID-19 recovery
Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday that hotels have “been among the hardest hit” segment of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the industry may not see a full recovery until 2024 at the earliest.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mayor pardoned by Trump wins another term in Illinois town
Voters in a small Illinois town reelected a mayor who ran a write-in campaign after President Donald Trump pardoned him in a gambling investigation.
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Illinois Emergency Management Agency shares some valuable lessons learned from the pandemic
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency was forced to adapt quickly to a new role when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, and the agency’s director told a legislative committee that more work needs to be done to prepare for the event of another statewide disaster.

“Even though we provide resources to counties and local jurisdictions during times of disaster, we really never had a logistical arm to the organization. That has since changed,” IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau told a Senate budget committee. “So overnight, we turned into a Fortune 500 logistical supply chain management system. And you can imagine the lessons that are learned from trying to do that.”

Friday, April 9, 2021

Universal vaccine eligibility draws near for Illinois
Gov. JB Pritzker reiterated Thursday that all Illinois residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, April 12, as vaccine supply – but also virus transmission rates and hospitalizations – continues to increase.

More than 80 of the state’s 102 counties have already opened eligibility to individuals age 16 and over in advance of the April 12 eligibility expansion date.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Chicago coach charged with nude photo scheme
A former track and field coach at Boston’s Northeastern University was arrested Wednesday and charged with using bogus social media accounts to try to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos of themselves, prosecutors said.

Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, is accused of creating fake social media accounts to contact track and field athletes and offering to help get rid of compromising photos of them he claimed to have found online.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Lawmaker seeks to bring early childhood education bachelor's programs to state community colleges
A bill that would allow community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees for early childhood education is awaiting consideration before the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1832, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, would give Illinois community colleges the option to apply for accreditation to offer a baccalaureate-level early education program.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

State court expands legal protections for tenants
The Illinois Supreme Court issued an order this week creating stronger safeguards for tenants seeking rent relief under the governor’s eviction moratorium.

The court’s revised order makes clear that landlords challenging a tenant’s eviction moratorium protections have to state the legal and factual basis for such a challenge, said Chief Judge Eugene G. Doherty, of the 17th Judicial Circuit, which spans Boone and Winnebago counties.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

'Great concern' over rising trends
Public health officials on Wednesday announced 3,790 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 80,628 test results reported over the previous 24 hours, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 4.1 percent, the highest that figure has stood since Jan. 30.
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Toddler shot in car on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive
Toddler shot in car on Chicago’s Lake Shore DriveCHICAGO (AP) — A 21-month-old boy was shot in the head Tuesday morning while riding in a car on Chicago’s famed Lake Shore Drive just hours after seven people were shot and wounded in a fight a few miles away, in what is shaping up to be one of the most violent years for the city in memory, police said.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Toddler shot in Champaign
A 2-year-old central Illinois boy was shot when his home was hit by gunfire, authorities said.

The house in Urbana was hit several times around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department said.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

COVID-19 increasing; state boosting vaccinations
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise Tuesday as state officials announced that additional resources were being deployed in the state’s vaccination efforts.  

Public health officials announced 2,931 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 51,625 test results Tuesday, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 3.9 percent, the highest that figure has been since Feb. 1. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

ISBE director on leave after attempted extortion
One day before Tuesday’s consolidated election, the Illinois State Board of Elections executive director was placed on administrative leave after being the subject of an online extortion attempt, ISBE said in a news release.

The eight-member elections board voted unanimously on Monday to place Director Steve Sandvoss on leave, according to the release. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

COVID cases, hospitalizations in Illinois continue to see an uptick
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise in Illinois as the statewide seven-day rolling case positivity rate reached 3.8 percent for the third consecutive day Monday.

The case positivity rate had not been near 3.8 percent since the beginning of February, when it hit 3.9 percent on Feb. 1, and then continued to decline throughout the month and into March. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

7 shot in Chicago as gunfire erupts during fight
Seven people were shot and wounded in a Chicago neighborhood in a burst of gun violence during what’s shaping up to be one of the city’s most violent years in memory, police said.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Event at bar in Illinois caused 46 COVID-19 cases
An indoor event at a bar in rural Illinois triggered 46 cases of COVID-19, the hospitalization of a resident of a long-term care facility and a school shutdown, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday.

Attendees of the bar opening event in February reported “inconsistent” mask wearing and lax physical distancing. In the end, those who tested positive for COVID-19 included three bar staff members, 26 patrons and 17 others who were infected by those who went to the bar. A 650-student school had to shut down because so many people were in quarantine, according to the CDC.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Mayor demands to know how teen got gun
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she has directed the Chicago Police Department to capture and bring to justice whoever gave a 13-year-old boy the handgun he was carrying last week when he was fatally shot by a police officer.

Adam Toledo was shot in the chest after he ran from officers in the Little Village neighborhood shortly before 3 a.m. on March 29. He died at the scene and a gun was recovered.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

LaHood resigns Lincoln Museum job after loan fiasco
Former Illinois congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has resigned as chairman of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, officials announced Monday.

The move comes days after federal prosecutors in California revealed LaHood paid a fine in 2019 for failing to disclose a $50,000 loan from a foreign national while a member President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Schools: 'Use funds to overcome learning loss'
Gov. JB Pritzker took to the road Monday to urge local school districts in Illinois to carefully target the roughly $7 billion in federal funds they will soon receive in order to help students overcome the learning loss they may have suffered during the pandemic.

“We’re all wondering if this was a lost year for our children,” Pritzker said at an early childhood learning center in the Champaign school district. “We worry if a year’s worth of online classes and virtual play dates will impact their future in some negative way in the future.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Suburban Chicago man charged in relative's stabbing death
A suburban Chicago man charged in a relative’s fatal stabbing used a “samurai knife“ to stab the 76-year-old victim dozens of times inside her home, a prosecutor said.
Monday, April 5, 2021

Iowa State crew club president discusses boat's capsizing
The president of Iowa State’s student crew club said winds that had been forecast to remain low picked up suddenly, causing a boat to capsize before the crew could return to shore, killing two crew members last week.
Monday, April 5, 2021

Sharon Cohen, much-honored AP national writer, dead at 68
Sharon Cohen, a matchless reporter who told American stories with great skill and compassion over more than four decades at The Associated Press, died Monday at her Chicago home. She was 68.
Monday, April 5, 2021

Chicago Transit Authority tests electric buses
The Chicago Transit Authority is testing more electric buses on the city’s streets.

CTA officials say six prototype buses will be used for passengers on the 66 Chicago route that runs east and west. Based on the buses’ performance on the road, CTA officials plan to OK the manufacture of 17 more vehicles.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Gov commutes life sentence of Gerald Reed, an alleged torture victim by Chicago police officers
SPRINFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday commuted the life sentence of a 57-year-old man who alleged he was tortured by Chicago police officers into confessing to two murders.
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Governor signs measure into law that expands vote by mail and curbside voting for all future elections
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Friday a measure that expands vote-by-mail and curbside voting for all future elections.
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Democrats continue redistricting public hearings
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Public hearings continue next week as the Illinois House Redistricting Committee gathers information for the Legislature’s once-a-decade adjustment in political boundaries.
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Illinois human service agencies make the case for funding increases
SPRINGFIELD — State agencies that serve Illinois seniors and children in state care pleaded their cases Friday for increased funding in next fiscal year’s budget.
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Spruce, Callery pear have no place in Illinois landscapes
URBANA — They are beautiful, tempting, and frequently for sale in Illinois garden centers, but many nonnative trees are less than ideal for land of Lincoln landscapes.
Saturday, April 3, 2021

4-year.-old dies in crash with IDOT truck
SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (AP) — A 4-year-old Chicago boy died when a car rear-ended an Illinois Department of Transportation help truck along a freeway and caught fire in a Chicago suburb, state police said.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Jesse White unveils new Organ donation campaign
ILLINOIS — Secretary of State Jesse White unveiled a new ad campaign today featuring White Sox All-Star relief pitcher and longtime radio voice of the team, Ed "Farmio" Farmer, who died last year. The campaign marks the beginning of National Donate Life Month in April.
Friday, April 2, 2021

3,526 new virus cases are one-day high since Feb. 5th
SPRINGFIELD — The state reported 3,526 new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the highest one-day total since Feb. 5.
Friday, April 2, 2021

State school board makes case for funding
SPRINGFIELD — State education officials made their case Thursday for a funding increase above and beyond what Gov. JB Pritzker has recommended, arguing that schools need the additional money to overcome the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on student learning.
Friday, April 2, 2021

3,526 new virus cases are one-day high since Feb. 5th
SPRINGFIELD — The state reported 3,526 new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the highest one-day total since Feb. 5.
Friday, April 2, 2021

GOP seeks expanded COVID liability protection
SPRINGFIELD — The top Republican in the state Senate has introduced a bill to shield healthcare providers and others from being held responsible for injuries or deaths related to COVID-19 exposure.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Video may be released of Chicago police shooting boy
The agency that investigates Chicago police shootings said it is trying to figure out a way to legally release body camera video of an officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old earlier this week.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Number of people shot, killed in Chicago climbs
CHICAGO (AP) — This year continues to shape up as deadlier in Chicago than last year as the first three months of 2021 ended with more homicides and shooting victims than were recorded during the same period of 2020, according to police department statistics released Thursday.
Friday, April 2, 2021

Decline in small business as lawsuits proceed
SPRINGFIELD — Hospitality jobs in Illinois have declined nearly 52 percent since the pandemic began, according to new data, as lawsuits continue against the governor’s orders to close nonessential businesses.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
ILLINOIS — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services today joined Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, Jackson County States Attorney Joe Cervantez, Associate Judge of the First Judicial Circuit Court Christy Solverson and John A. Logan College President Dr. Kirk Overstreet at a virtual press conference to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

State releases guide to school reopening
SPRINGFIELD — Educators, students and families will face a host of new challenges in overcoming the learning loss that occurred over the past year of mostly remote learning as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and schools prepare to fully reopen for in-person learning.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

GOP proposes independent redistricting oversight
SPRINGFIELD — Republicans in the General Assembly have introduced a new bill that would hand over the process of drawing new legislative and congressional district maps to an independent commission that would be required to use official Census Bureau, rather than survey estimates, to draw the maps.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

State Supreme Court to hear case over weapons ban
SPRINGFIELD — Legal challenges against a ban on assault weapons in suburban Deerfield have reached the state’s highest court.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Easing of restrictions in Illinois slows as COVID-19 cases surge
Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are delaying Illinois’ reopening plans, state public health officials said Tuesday.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

GOP proposes independent redistricting oversight
Republicans in the General Assembly have introduced a new bill that would hand over the process of drawing new legislative and congressional district maps to an independent commission that would be required to use official Census Bureau, rather than survey estimates, to draw the maps.

The latest bill, introduced Tuesday as an amendment to Senate Bill 1325, mirrors a proposed constitutional amendment that was introduced in 2019. That proposal, which had 37 cosponsors, died in the 101st General Assembly without receiving a hearing.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

State Supreme Court to hear case over weapons ban
Legal challenges against a ban on assault weapons in suburban Deerfield have reached the state’s highest court.

Two consolidated lawsuits against the Lake County suburb were among the 14 total criminal and civil cases that the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear on appeal.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Duckworth's memoir details her path to the senate
Her fellow crew members initially thought Tammy Duckworth had been killed when a rocket-propelled grenade punched a hole in the helicopter she was flying in Iraq and exploded, ripping off her legs and severely wounding her right arm.

But Duckworth hadn’t endured rough circumstances as a child overseas and then as a high schooler in Hawaii to be deterred by that loss or any other obstacle.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

In Illinois, COVID positivity continues to trend upward
COVID-19 hospitalizations and case positivity rates continued to trend upward Monday, leaving entry into a recently-announced “bridge” phase of reopening uncertain even as the percentage of seniors vaccinated continued to increase.

The COVID-19 case positivity rate was 3.3 percent Monday, having risen for the fourth straight day. It marked a 50 percent increase since March 14.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Union-backed coalition outlines new energy plan
As the clean energy conversation in Illinois continues, a coalition of lawmakers and labor unions introduced another regulatory overhaul bill that focuses on employing union workers as the state begins to transition to a clean energy economy.

The Climate Union Jobs Act intends to put hundreds of union laborers to work on building new clean energy projects by mandating union labor on any project that receives state subsidies.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Illinois Auto Dealers Association sues Jesse White
The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association has filed a lawsuit against Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office, alleging that White is allowing unlicensed, unregulated dealers to operate in Illinois, in violation of state law.

At issue in the case is whether automobile manufacturers should be allowed to own and operate their own dealerships rather than contracting with independent dealership franchises, which has been the case in Illinois and most other states for decades.

But in recent years, there has been a growing trend of “vertical integration” within the industry, especially within the electric car industry where manufacturers like Tesla and others have insisted that they have a right to sell their own products directly to customers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Five killed today in pair of wrong-way crashes in Chicago
Five people were killed in separate, fiery wrong-way crashes on a Chicago expressway early Monday, state police said.

The first crash along the Eisenhower Expressway, or Interstate 290, occurred about 1:10 a.m. in west suburban Forest Park when a wrong-way driver hit a car in the eastbound lanes, killing both drivers while their vehicles burst into flames, said Illinois State Police spokeswoman Gabriela Ugarte.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Picking up highway trash costs the state $6 million a year
 Before you toss trash out the car window while cruising down an Illinois highway, think of this: Taxpayers pay $6 million a year to clean it up.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says proper disposal of waste saves in other ways too.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Illinois police car stolen by Dillinger in jailbreak returning to scene of the crime
A police car that notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger stole after his daring escape from a northwest Indiana jail will get a police motorcade and a parade next month when it returns to the scene of his jailbreak.

After Dillinger escaped from jail in Crown Point, Indiana, in March 1934 by fooling jailers with a gun carved out of wood, he stole Lake County Sheriff Lillian Holley’s 1933 Ford V8 police car and drove it to Chicago, where he abandoned it.

Monday, March 29, 2021

ACA enrollment deadline in Illinois extend, Aug. 15
Eligible Illinoisans now have more time to sign up for ACA Health Insurance Marketplace plans. President Biden has extended the deadline for the Special Enrollment Period in Response to COVID-19 from May 15th to August 15th.

According to the most recent federal CMS numbers, more than 5,300 Illinois consumers purchased and enrolled in health plans since February when President Biden signed an executive order to open the ACA Marketplace for the Special Enrollment Period. Unlike other SEPs, consumers are not required to provide proof of a qualifying life event, such as getting married, having a baby, or losing job-based coverage to enroll.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Chicago police kill suspect in 'armed' confrontation
A Chicago Police officer responding to a scene where gunfire had been detected fatally a shot a person early Monday in what the department called an “armed confrontation” with police.

According to police the officers had been dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s West Side shortly after 2 a.m. after what is called ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of gunfire in the area.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Illinois-made 'Coolest Thing' keeps ice off stop lights
The next time you’re in a blinding snowstorm but can clearly see the traffic signal ahead, thank the producers of “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.”

The Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater, manufactured in Elk Grove Village, was declared the winner last week of the second annual “Makers Madness” contest.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Book examines 1955 murder in Mattoon, subsequent manhunt
Judy Rosella Edwards was born after her sister, 14-year-old Doris L. Edwards, was murdered in 1955, but grew up feeling her absence from the lives of her Mattoon family.
Saturday, March 27, 2021

Chicago man says 60 stops by police due to mistaken identity
A Chicago man says he has been detained by law enforcement more than 60 times over 15 years because he has the same name and birth date of a man wanted on an apparent traffic violation.
Saturday, March 27, 2021

Vaccinations expanded, teams dispatched in COVID-19 uptick
Illinois public health officials on Friday approved universal COVID-19 vaccination in areas where demand for the shots is lagging and pledged to dispatch mobile teams to boost vaccine distribution in one trouble spot as the disease’s toll started to creep back up.
Saturday, March 27, 2021

Shooting at Chicago gathering leaves 1 dead, 7 hurt
A shooting at a gathering on Chicago’s South Side early Friday left one person dead and seven others wounded, police said.

At least two males opened fire and a 26-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene in the Ashburn neighborhood with a gunshot wound to the head, according to preliminary information from police.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Lawmakers pass bill on pre-trial interest in PI cases
The Illinois Senate passed a bill Thursday to allow victims in personal injury and wrongful death cases that reach a verdict to collect interest on money they receive from court, with the intent of incentivizing settlements in these cases.

Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed an earlier version of the bill that was approved by both chambers in the January lame duck session.

The current version of the bill, Senate Bill 72, will now head to Pritzker’s desk for his signature after passing the House last week.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Curbside, mail voting expansion bill heads to gov
A bill to expand the use of vote-by-mail and curbside voting in future elections passed the Illinois Senate Thursday, meaning it needs only a signature from the governor to become law.

House Bill 1871, which was approved by the House last week, would revise the state election code to make permanent some of the changes that were widely adopted across Illinois for the 2020 general election in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the bill is sent to the governor and signed quickly enough, it would take effect immediately, possibly in time for the April 6 elections.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Pritzker vaccinated as positivity rate rises
Gov. J.B. Pritzker rolled up his sleeve Wednesday to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The 56-year-old governor said was eligible for the vaccine as a government worker and stepped up at the mass vaccination site on the Illinois State Fairgrounds to set an example.

“I’m deeply grateful that so many of our residents have embraced this life-saving protections, but I also want Illinoisans to know, especially those who may not yet feel confident enough to get vaccinated, that I’m not asking you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,“ Pritzker said.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

New report examines attitudes toward education
The Illinois Education Association, one of the largest teacher unions in the state, on Tuesday released its third annual state of education report examining attitudes towards public education in Illinois.

The poll, conducted by Normington Petts and Next Generation Strategies, surveyed 1,000 different Illinois adults of varying backgrounds and regions of the state by phone or online.

One of the main takeaways from the poll, according to IEA, was that nearly 8 in 10 adults believe the COVID-19 pandemic has made teaching and learning more difficult.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Illinois lawmaker advances bill to repeal state's overreach on rent control
The House Committee on Housing on advanced a bill Wednesday that would allow local municipalities to implement measures regarding rent control.

House Bill 116, introduced by Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, would repeal the state’s Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997 and enable local municipalities to impose caps on rent prices.

Guzzardi said the rent control repeal would aim to give more “flexibility” to local municipalities in order to make their own decisions regarding rental costs.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Chicago sees 'worrying' uptick in COVID-19 cases
Chicago experienced a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in the last week, triggering fresh concerns Tuesday from the city’s top health officials.

The average number of confirmed daily cases in the nation’s third-largest city was 350 Tuesday, up 23% from 285 the week before, according to city data.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

1,000 Illinois inmates to go free under virus suit
About 1,000 Illinois inmates scheduled for release in the next nine months could soon be set free as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit filed last spring amid a growing COVID-19 health crisis in state lockups, a lawyer involved in the case said Tuesday.

The settlement calls for the release of low- to medium-risk inmates who are within nine months of their release date and are eligible for certain good-time credits, according to a court document filed Tuesday. The Illinois Department of Corrections agreed to “use its best efforts” to process the awards within the next month, the document states.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Infection control policy deficient at state VA homes
A joint report from two state agencies and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found Illinois’ four state-run veterans homes lack standardized infection prevention policies despite previous audits suggesting they be implemented.

The report from the Interagency Infection Prevention Project, or IIPP, calls for the facilities to create a new infection control position and increase staffing and training.

The goal of the IIPP is to “support an integrated and comprehensive response to COVID-19” at the state’s veterans homes, according to the joint report of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and USDVA.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Chicago lawmaker looks to lift ban on inmate voting
A bill that would repeal an existing law that prohibits prison inmates from voting is working its way through the General Assembly, although the chief sponsor of the bill says it’s only one part of a broader process to restore voting rights to prisoners.

House Bill 1872, sponsored by Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, was the subject of an informational hearing in the House Ethics and Elections Committee Monday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Peoria to remove name of 3rd president from school
The Board of Education in Peoria has voted to remove the name of the third U.S. president from a city primary school because of his legacy on human rights and slavery.

The board voted late Monday to change the name of Thomas Jefferson Primary School. No name has been proposed as a replacement and no timeline has been set.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Chatham officer justified in shooting man with knife
A central Illinois police officer who shot a knife-wielding man four times when the man charged at him won’t face charges in the shooting, a prosecutors says.

Sangamon County state’s attorney Dan Wright said Monday in a news release that Chatham police Officer Adam Hahn was justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm “under the totality of the circumstances reflected“ by an Illinois State Police investigation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

ICC okays plan for consumers hit with high utility bills
On Thursday, the Illinois Commerce Commission unanimously approved historic consumer protection agreements to help electric, natural gas, water, and sewer residential customers hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate outstanding consumer debt and prevent disconnections before the voluntary winter moratorium on disconnections expires on March 31, 2021.

Consumers struggling to pay their energy bill must call the utility to receive benefits and prevent disconnection. The stipulated agreements were negotiated and signed by the ICC Staff, the state's largest public utilities, and participating consumer advocate groups.   

The large electric and gas  agreement includes the following utilities: Ameren Illinois Company (Ameren), Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Northern Illinois Gas Company (Nicor Gas), North Shore Gas Company and The Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company (Peoples Gas).

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Davis defends remarks about Asian Americans
Less than a week after a deadly attack on Asian Americans in Atlanta, Gov. JB Pritzker and members of the General Assembly's Asian American Caucus spoke out against the murders and against discrimination generally toward the Asian American community.

"I do not pretend to know the pain of this moment, for those who look at the Atlanta victims and see their own mothers, daughters and sisters, or themselves," Pritzker said at a news conference Monday in the Chinatown neighborhood in Chicago. "But I want the (Asian American Pacific Islander) community in Illinois to know that I see you, and I see the fear and anxiety that these events have forced into your lives and the lives of your loved ones, and I want you to know that Illinois is your home. You are our friends and our neighbors and our family members, and I will do everything in my power as governor to protect you and to welcome you."

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

State nears 'bridge' phase as more seniors get vaccine
With 64 percent of the state’s seniors having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Illinois is nearing the “bridge” phase of reopening that will allow for greater capacity limits at businesses and social gatherings.

That number must hit 70 percent to enter the bridge phase, which would trigger another 28-day monitoring period. If virus transmission and hospitalization metrics don’t worsen during the monitoring period, Phase 5 can begin, removing all capacity restrictions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

HUD reports uptick in homelessness in Illinois
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. The report found that 10,431 people in Illinois experienced homelessness on a single night in 2020, an increase of 2.3% from 2019 and a decline of 36.2% since 2007.  "The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 Report are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to make the homelessness crisis worse," said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Evanston first for Black reparations
Evanston, Illinois, on Monday became the first U.S. city to make reparations available to its Black residents for past discrimination and the lingering effects of slavery.

The Chicago suburb’s City Council voted 8-1 to distribute $400,000 to eligible Black households. Each qualifying household would receive $25,000 for home repairs or down payments on property.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Illinois Regenerative Agricultural Initiative meeting scheduled for April 9
The new Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (IRAI) is inviting interested farmers, researchers, nonprofit groups, and others with a stake in resilient agriculture and food production to join its second public meeting on April 9.

Launched in October at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IRAI is a home for regenerative agriculture research, education, and outreach. With support from Fresh Taste, it will gather stakeholders on campus and beyond to create agriculture and food systems resilient to climate change, improve soil and water quality, support healthy communities, and enhance food security.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Scholarships help keep health care in rural Illinois
For about 30 years, Illinois Farm Bureau has injected about $320,000 into the mission to get health care for farmers, by means of the Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program.

This year alone, the bureau will award 15 scholarships in the amount of $4,000, funded by the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Budget targets 'loopholes' critics call crucial to renewal
Not everyone’s happy with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal. But the “pain,“ the deep cuts and the across-the-board tax increases that the Democrat predicted would follow last fall’s failed amendment to generate more income tax revenue haven’t materialized.

Instead, the spending plan Pritzker presented last month and which lawmakers will contemplate in coming weeks eats up a projected $2.6 billion deficit in part by curtailing spending by $400 million and raising $1 billion in taxes through eliminating what he calls “unaffordable” corporate loopholes — several of which weren’t loopholes two years ago when he signed them into law.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Health officials urge precautions against rabies
Illinois health authorities are reminding residents to be cautious of bats and other animals that could have rabies as the weather warms.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the year’s first reported case of a bat testing positive for rabies has already occurred in DuPage County.

Monday, March 22, 2021

On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions
On federal death row, prisoners fling notes on a string under each other's cell doors and converse through interconnected air ducts. A top issue these days: whether President Joe Biden will halt executions, several told The Associated Press.

Biden hasn't spoken publicly about capital punishment since taking office four days after the Trump administration executed the last of 13 inmates at the Terre Haute, Indiana, penitentiary where all federal death row inmates are held. The six-month run of executions cut their unit from around 63 to 50. Biden's campaign website said he'd work to end federal executions, but he's never specified how.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Chicago History Museum CEO wants to diversify attendance
The new president of the Chicago History Museum says he wants to make the city’s oldest museum interactive and to increase and diversify attendance.

CEO Donald Lassere says 80% of those visiting the museum on the city’s North Side are White in a city that has a majority-minority population. The newly hired Lassere comes to the Chicago History Museum from the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Illinois reports 1,431 new COVID-19 cases, with 22 deaths
Illinois public health officials on Sunday reported 1,431 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state, and 22 additional deaths.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the state has seen more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases, including 21,081 deaths.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Man who fired on police charged with attempted murder
Attempted murder charges were filed against a man who allegedly fired on Chicago police officers, striking one, authorities said Sunday.

Officers were investigating a report of shots fired in the Austin neighborhood Saturday when Tracey Thomas Jr., 29, allegedly opened fire. Thomas then barricaded himself in a building and continued firing. A female officer was struck in the hand. The unidentified officer was treated at Mount Sinai Hospital and later released.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Tips for starting your spring garden off strong
URBANA — Cloudy, cold winter days may seem endless, but as the weather warms, bulbs will bloom and grass will green, giving way to sure signs of spring.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Illinois youth learn skills to become healthy living changemakers
URBANA, Ill. — The past year has presented many challenges to people's physical, emotional, and mental health. Risk factors such as poverty, neglect, and violence can make the challenges more intense, and social isolation and uncertainty from COVID-19 may continue to negatively impact community health for some time to come. 4-H Youth now have the tools to become healthy living changemakers right in their communities through the leadership of prominent lifestyle and health experts at the recent National 4-H Summit for Healthy Living.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Dear farmer: Young farm fans express their gratitude
ILLINOIS — A big block of Swiss cheese and gallon of milk perfectly illustrate Nora Sweitzer’s farm favorites. That and a little Holstein waving from the side.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Funding for small businesses announced
CHICAGO—The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Local Initiatives Support Group (LISC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) today announced the first round of small businesses receiving grants as part of the Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program, with $1.7 million awarded to 58 small businesses facing significant damages due to events of civil unrest.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Illinois State offers well being days, not spring break
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University sophomore Jasminh Randall, a finance major from Rockford, was planning to spend her spring break in Cancun with her three roommates.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Illinois to expand vaccine eligibility ahead of April 12 universal rollout

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday that more groups of people will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of April 12 when everyone over age 16 will become eligible.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Lake Land College to host graduation parade
MATTOON — Lake Land College is adding a new feature to the graduation ceremonies this May. In addition to a virtual commencement ceremony, the college will host a parade for all graduates on campus on May 14, 2021.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Farm Credit provides special $10 million patronage payment to farmers
ILLINOIS — In response to last year’s unprecedented conditions faced by agriculture and the overall economy, the Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) Board of Directors declared a one-time $10 million preseason patronage distribution being delivered this week to the cooperative’s farm family members.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Illinois youth opioid use linked with other substance misuse, mental health
URBANA, Ill. — Opioid use has dramatically increased in the 21st century, especially among young adults. A new study from the University of Illinois provides insights on usage patterns among Illinois high school students to help inform prevention and treatment strategies.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Fraudulent calls to members posing as LLCU representative
ILLINOIS — Land of Lincoln Credit Union (LLCU) wants to alert the community to a fraudulent call that has been circulating among LLCU members. Several LLCU members have reported calls received where the number on Caller ID matches that of the LLCU Lincoln Line Telebank phone number.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Gov. Pritzker announces income tax filing extension
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pritzker announced today that his administration is extending the individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to May 17. The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will continue to process tax refunds for those filing ahead of the deadline. The filing extension does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021. These payments are still due on April 15 and can be based on either 100% of estimated or 90% of actual liability for 2021, or 100% of actual liabilities for 2019 or 2020.
Friday, March 19, 2021

$100,000 bail for woman with history of airline stowaways
CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Thursday ordered a 69-year-old woman with a history of stowing away on airliners be held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, two days after she was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where judges have previously prohibited her from going.
Friday, March 19, 2021

$100,000 bail for woman with history of airline stowaways
CHICAGO (AP) — A judge on Thursday ordered a 69-year-old woman with a history of stowing away on airliners be held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, two days after she was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where judges have previously prohibited her from going.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Health care reform legislation passes state House
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House passed a massive health care reform bill Thursday, marking the passage of the final of four legislative agenda pillars outlined by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus last year.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Girl, 8, throws mattress from burning home, jumps to safety
CHICAGO (AP) — An 8-year-old Chicago girl whose mother was at work somehow managed to toss a mattress from her family’s third-story window during a fire and then jump onto it to safety, a fire official said Thursday.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Experts: There are redistricting options
SPRINGFIELD – Two national experts on reapportionment and redistricting told an Illinois Senate panel on Wednesday that there are a variety of options at the state’s disposal besides using detailed census data to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative district maps.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Bill aims to provide more support to renters, owners
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, reintroduced a bill on Wednesday that would offer emergency support to tenants, landlords and homeowners struggling to make payments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Red Cross announces volunteer recruitment open houses
ILLINOIS — The Red Cross is actively in need of Blood Donor Ambassadors and Blood Transportation Specialists, Virtual DAT Team members and Duty Officers/Dispatchers, and Disaster Caseworkers, and Volunteer Recruitment Team Members.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mandatory K-12 sex edbill advances in Illinois House
SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois House committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would mandate all public school districts in the state provide a comprehensive, age-appropriate curriculum on sex education, sexual abuse awareness and healthy relationships for all grades, K-12.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Joyner-Kersee joins discussion of women in sports
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The federal law "Title IX" revolutionized women's sports in America, allowing millions of female athletes to get off the sidelines. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will examine the law's impact March 25 with a panel of experts, including Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Dems push repeal of parental notification abortion law
SPRINGFIELD — Some Democratic lawmakers want to repeal an abortion law that requires girls under the age of 18 who are seeking an abortion to notify their parents at least 48 hours before the procedure, with some exceptions.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Wildflower Walks on Elkhart Hill
ELKHART — The April wildflower walks will be offered twice a day, 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. and are scheduled for every Saturday in April starting April 3 for the very earliest of the spring ephemerals such as spring beauties and Dutchmen’s breeches, and later in the season concluding with the vast sweeps of Virginia Bluebells.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Crowded bars: March Madness or just madness?
CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA Tournament and bars were made for each other, with fans of powerhouse teams like Gonzaga and longshots like Colgate pouring in to cheer their teams. Until last year, that is, when COVID-19 blew up everybody’s brackets.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Illinois Senate begins the redistricting process today
An Illinois Senate committee held its first hearing today to begin the process of redrawing congressional and state legislative districts in line with the 2020 census, despite the fact that detailed census data will likely be unavailable until September.

Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said in an interview that despite the delay by the Census Bureau, he expects the General Assembly to complete the process before the June 30 deadline set in the state constitution.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

State still working on outbreak protocol for VA homes
At a committee hearing Tuesday, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs officials reported that all four state-run veterans homes have no staff or residents currently positive for COVID-19, but the agency is still working to produce uniform infection control procedures for the facilities.

IDVA Chief of Staff Tony Kolbeck, who testified during the virtual House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, said he expects those protocols will be finalized within two weeks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

House committee advances election bills
The Illinois House Ethics and Elections Committee advanced a bill Monday that would expand ballot drop boxes and curbside voting throughout the state.

House Bill 1871 would make changes similar to those passed ahead of the 2020 presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was introduced last month by Democratic Rep. Katie Stuart of Edwardsville.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Guard members return from U.S. Capital
Approximately 400 Illinois National Guard members return home Monday following a drawdown of National Guard forces in Washington, D.C.

Approximately 100 Illinois National Guard members have volunteered to remain in the nation's capital as part of nearly 2,300 National Guard members who will provide continued support to the U.S. Capitol Police until about mid-May. The U.S. Department of Defense approved an extension of this mission. These 100 Illinois National Guard Soldiers volunteered to continue supporting this mission as part of the overall National Guard force provided by the Governors of multiple states.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Naperville house is deconstructed for preservation and reuse
The bits and pieces of World War II hero Arnold “Arnie” Massier’s life will be preserved in Naperville and perhaps around the country rather than headed to a landfill.

When Massier died at age 97 in February 2020, neighbor Jennifer Reichert became executor of his estate, including his home in Naperville, which is suspected to date to the late 19th century.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Missing Illinois hunter's body found in Michigan's UP
The body of a hunter missing since November has been found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Off-duty Chicago police officer shot, the second in 2 days
An off-duty Chicago police officer was shot in the abdomen Monday when he was attacked while his personal vehicle was stopped at a traffic light on the city’s South Side, authorities said.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Advocates, lawmakers look to restore regulatory oversight of gas utility surcharges
Advocates and lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would end a special gas utility surcharge that allows companies to raise customer bills in order to pay for infrastructure development with limited regulatory oversight.

The gas utility surcharge, known as the Qualified Infrastructure Plant, became law in 2013 after similar formula rate legislation that benefited utility giant Commonwealth Edison was passed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

2 killed, 13 wounded at party on Chicago's South Side
Gunfire erupted at a party on Chicago’s South Side early Sunday, killing two people and wounding 13 others in what authorities say may have been a gang-related shooting.

Officers responded at around 4:40 a.m. to reports of a shooting at a towing company where the party took place, police said. Jose Jara, a department spokesman, said in a statement that those shot were between the ages of 20 and 44.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Committees to address state's mental health care needs
Committees dealing with mental health and addiction met in both the Illinois House and Senate Friday to discuss a new crisis born from the COVID pandemic.

“We're fully into what I consider to be the second pandemic, which is mental health and addiction, and we have so much work to do,” Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, said during a meeting of the House Mental Health and Addiction Committee, which she chairs.

According to Conroy, the isolation and loss of normalcy caused by the pandemic has exacerbated the prevalence of drug abuse and mental illness, which Conroy says are the same problem. It’s also caused distress in populations much younger than usual with the closure of schools.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Chicago food truck owner admits to selling guns from eatery
The owner of a Chicago food truck admitted Friday he illegally sold guns from his mobile eatery along with sandwiches piled high with salami, roast beef and turkey.

Terry Ferguson, 56, of Willowbrook, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to narcotics and gun-trafficking charges that included the 2015 sale of two dozen guns from the back of his truck known as “Chicago’s finest Deli on Wheels.”

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Republicans urge responsibility in use of federal stimulus dollars
One day after President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, Illinois House Republicans called for the General Assembly to oversee the appropriation of funds in order to support businesses and individuals most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Friday news conference, state Reps. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, and C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, urged responsibility in the allocation of federal funding and warned against using the stimulus as a “magic bailout” to fund new state programs.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Founder has memories, hope for Arlington Park's next chapter
His heart and soul are a part of Arlington Park, but Dick Duchossois says he’s fine with the new owners selling the horse-racing palace he made that is an institution in Arlington Heights.

“We built it,” Duchossois, 99, said during a telephone interview Monday from the Barrington Hills equestrian estate where he lives with his wife, Judi. The man synonymous with Arlington Park poured millions into the track he bought in 1983, and millions more into a glorious rebuild after a devastating fire in 1985, before merging his creation with Churchill Downs in 2000. But he has no regrets that the 326 acres, including the 94-year-old track, are for sale and destined to be developed into something else.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

2 killed in Evanston shooting, no one in custody at this time
A gunman shot and killed two men and wounded a third Friday on the porch of a house in suburban Chicago, authorities said.

Police officers in Evanston responded to reports of shots fired and found three wounded men at the scene. The victims were taken to Evanston Hospital where two men were pronounced dead from their injuries. A third man was being treated for non-life threatening injuries, according to authorities.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Dog is finally adopted after 2 years in Illinois shelter
A dog that spent more than two years at a southern Illinois animal shelter waiting to be adopted has finally found a new family.

Demi spent 809 days at Helping Strays of Monroe County before a family adopted her March 7 from the shelter in Columbia, Illinois, just south of St. Louis, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Old State Capitol closed through April for $1.5M renovation
The Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield is closed to visitors through April while it undergoes repairs and renovation work.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources administers the historic site, which served as Illinois’ statehouse from 1840 to 1876. Abraham Lincoln served in the Legislature there and in 1858 gave his famed “House Divided” speech in the Hall of Representatives.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Lawmakers revisit data collection privacy laws
State lawmakers are considering changes to an internet privacy law that recently led to a $650 million settlement between Facebook and more than 1 million of the website’s users in Illinois.

A state House judiciary committee advanced House Bill 559 on Tuesday, a measure that would revisit the Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008, known as BIPA, to include provisions which sponsors say will protect small businesses but detractors say will render the privacy law obsolete.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Lawmakers from both parties want role in spending federal stimulus money
Lawmakers from both parties told officials from Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration on Thursday that the General Assembly should have some say in how the state spends the $7.5 billion in federal funds that Illinois expects to receive from the newly-enacted American Rescue Plan.

Those comments came during a virtual hearing of the House Revenue and Finance Committee that took place just hours after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill into law.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Chicago police boost patrols as carjackings spike
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown on Wednesday said 44% of the more than 300 people arrested on motor vehicle-related charges, including carjackings, have been juveniles.

Brown revealed the information as he announced a new section of the Chicago Police Department website. Brown said it includes information on its recently organized carjacking task force, which includes Illinois State Police, the Cook County sheriff’s office and federal law enforcement.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Virus relief plan follows party lines
Democratic state officials in Illinois applauded the final passage Wednesday of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion federal relief package, which includes billions of dollars in aid to cash-strapped state and local governments.

The “American Rescue Plan” passed the U.S. House on Wednesday, 220-211, largely along party lines. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill while only one Democrat voted against it. The White House has indicated that Biden plans to sign the bill Friday.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Lightfoot to aldermen: No wish lists
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned the city’s aldermen on Wednesday not to produce wish lists now that Congress has passed a COVID-19 relief package that will send nearly $2 billion to the city.

The $1.9 trillion package passed Wednesday by the U.S. House and headed for President Joe Biden’s desk is expected to deliver about $7.5 billion to state government and about $6 billion for local government.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Bill advances okaying use of campaign funds for care
A bill that would expand the use of political campaign funds to include child care and elderly home care expenses advanced out a state Senate committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 536 would amend the state election code to allow candidates to spend political committee funds on part-time or full-time child care or dependent elder home care expenses, as long as those expenses are “necessary for fulfillment of political, governmental or public policy duties, activities or purposes,” the bill states.

The bill would also apply to candidates running for political office, as well as officeholders, campaign staff or volunteers.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

State outlines new changes to housing relief plans
The Illinois Housing Development Authority presented their plans for how to use incoming federal COVID-19 assistance during an Illinois House of Representatives Housing Committee hearing Wednesday.

Kristin Faust, IHDA Executive Director, provided an update on two state initiatives that leverage funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help tenants and homeowners who experienced a loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those are the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

House bill on animal cruelty advances
The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Committee advanced several bills Tuesday, including measures pertaining to animal cruelty laws, record expungement and the study of gun violence in Illinois.

House Bill 168, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove, would amend the Humane Care for Animals Act to remove domestic pets from the household of persons known to the courts as a danger to animals.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Proposed bill would ban ceremonial balloon releases
The Illinois House Energy and Environment Committee advanced a pair of bills in a Monday hearing, one that would ban ceremonial balloon releases and another that would make utility companies responsible for the response to gas leaks.

House Bill 418, introduced by Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, would impose a $500 penalty for first-time offenses when knowingly releasing balloons into the atmosphere, as in the case of celebrations and special events.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

State Police sued over concealed carry license delays
Four Illinois residents who have been waiting for months for their state-issued Concealed Carry Licenses are suing officials with the Illinois State Police for allegedly depriving them of their right to bear arms and right to due process.

The lawsuit, filed Friday by the four individuals as well as the Illinois State Rifle Association and the gun-rights group Second Amendment Foundation, claims the state’s concealed carry law is unconstitutional.

Under Illinois law, the Illinois State Police must either approve or deny an application for a CCL card within either 90 days if the application includes fingerprints or within 120 days if the application does not include fingerprints.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

State Board of Education gives new in-person guidance
New COVID-19 safety guidelines released Tuesday by the Illinois State Board of Education suggest in-person learning should be prioritized over extracurricular activities.

The guidelines released in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health say capacity limits for in-person learning, and activities like lunch, will be determined by the space’s ability to accommodate social distancing. The board now defines social distancing for in-person learning as three-to-six feet for students and fully vaccinated staff, although the board says six feet distance remains safest.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Old State Capitol being closed for restoration project
The Old State Capitol building in Springfield will be closed to visitors March 10 through late April while contractor crews work on a repair and restoration project at the state historic site, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today.

The project, managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB), will install a new roof on the drum that supports the Old Capitol dome, and restore the drum columns and drum windows.  The project will also involve painting of the interior and exterior of the drum, as well as plaster repair and painting of interior ceilings and walls.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Extension webinars cover family, food and finance
The University of Illinois Extension will offer several webinar opportunities March 9-23, 2021. You are encouraged to take part in one or all classes. If you have any questions, you may contact them at 217-333-5900 or email
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Positivity, hospitalizations remain at pandemic low
The state’s rolling seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate held steady near two percent Monday as officials continue to increase vaccination efforts in all parts of the state.

The positivity rate stood at 2.3 percent, a number that has not moved more than two-tenths of a percentage point for the past 10 days.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Eviction moratorium expands tenant protections
Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest executive order extending the eviction moratorium for residential tenants adds a new legal protection for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.

Executive order 2021-05, issued on Friday, prevents landlords from pursuing legal action in court against a tenant as long as the tenant gives notice of their inability to pay, and the tenant is not “a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Bill creates plan for St.L-Chicago high speed rail
A House transportation committee on Monday advanced two bills, one lowering toll rates for small trailers and another creating a forum on future railway infrastructure.

House Bill 394 and House Bill 399 were both sponsored by Rep. Martin Moylan, D-Des Plaines. Both received a unanimous 13-0 vote to move to the House floor.

HB 399, which would create the High Speed Railway Commission to explore new infrastructure for electrified trains and buses, also advanced Monday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

State school board requests $400M funding increase
Illinois State Board of Education officials on Monday made their case for an added $362.1 million to the state’s evidence-based funding formula and $50 million in early childhood education grants, pushing back on the governor’s proposal to keep state K-12 education funding flat next fiscal year.

In total, the board recommended a $406 million, or 4..6 percent, increase in fiscal year 2022 in state general revenue funding, increasing the state’s share of education funding to $9.3 billion for the budget year that begins July 1.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Pritzker signs Black Caucus-backed education equity bill into law
Gov. JB Pritzker joined members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on Monday to sign a measure aimed at advancing equity in education in the state.

House Bill 2170, known as the Education and Workforce Equity Act, contains over 20 provisions aimed at decreasing racial gaps in opportunity and attainment that currently persist in the state’s education system. The legislation is the second major omnibus bill backed by the Black Caucus that Pritzker has signed this year.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Illinois reports 1,068 new COVID-19 cases, and 14 new deaths
Illinois public health officials on Sunday reported 1,068 new COVID-19 cases in the state, including 14 additional deaths.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that within the past 24 hours, laboratories have conducted 68,094 coronavirus tests, resulting in a seven-day positivity rate of 2.3%.

Monday, March 8, 2021

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri won't seek reelection in 2022
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri will not seek a third term in the U.S. Senate, he said Monday in a surprise announcement.

Blunt, who turned 71 in January, was widely expected to seek a third term in 2022. Before election to the Senate he served seven terms in the U.S. House. He also served two terms as Missouri’s secretary of state from 1985 to 1993.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Acting U.S. attorney for central Illinois chosen
A retired Army lieutenant colonel and top prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in central Illinois has been named acting U.S. attorney.

Douglas J. Quivey began work last week after the resignation in February of John Milhiser, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Illinois offers webinars in March on using ladders safely
The Illinois Department of Labor wants to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and deaths through education during March, “National Ladder Safety Month.”

The agency’s division of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration is planning free weekly webinars on how to stay safe while climbing the rungs.

Monday, March 8, 2021

IDNR accepting grant applications for fire protection, wildlife rehabilitation, furbearer projects, and coastal management
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is now accepting applications for grants through four different programs: the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program, the Special Wildlife Funds Wildlife Preservation Fund – Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities Program, State Furbearer Fund, and the Coastal Management Grants Program. Each grant program has specific eligibility criteria, project guidelines, application guidelines, and scoring criteria.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

ISP investigate officer-involved shooting in Chatham
CHATHAM, Ill. — Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Zone 4 was requested by the Chatham Police Department to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving a Chatham Police Officer.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

IDNR accepting grant applications
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is now accepting applications for grants through four different programs: the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program, the Special Wildlife Funds Wildlife Preservation Fund – Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities Program, State Furbearer Fund, and the Coastal Management Grants Program. Each grant program has specific eligibility criteria, project guidelines, application guidelines, and scoring criteria.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

Illinois Secretary of State announces current investor threats
ILLINOIS — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is urging investors to be wary of internet and social media schemes promoting precious metals, cryptocurrencies, promissory notes and foreign exchange markets. This week marks Consumer Protection Week and White reminds investors to contact the Securities Department to report investment fraud.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Comptroller hopeful outdoor events on track for summer
SPRINGFIELD - In a Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee hearing Thursday, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said she is hopeful outdoor events can return as early as this summer with large indoor events such as conventions and trade shows beginning in the fall.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Report: Illinois' pension debt tops $300 billion
SPRINGFIELD – A new report by the credit rating agency Moody’s says Illinois will set a new record this year when it reports a total net pension liability of more than $300 billion, the highest of any state in the nation.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Second man charged in deaths of northern Illinois couple
WAUKEGAN, Ill (AP) — A northern Illinois man arrested Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery in Gurnee has been charged with first-degree murder in the December deaths of a Beach Park couple, authorities announced Thursday.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Suburban Chicago man gets 12 years for terror aid effort
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a suburban Chicago man to 12 years in prison for trying to help the Islamic State terrorist group by providing cellphones to be used as bomb detonators.
Friday, March 5, 2021

DNR probes NW Indiana lake deaths of numerous ducks, geese
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana’s wildlife and environmental agencies are investigating the deaths of numerous ducks, geese and other waterfowl recently found dead around a northwestern Indiana lake.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Two weekend programs coming up at Rock Springs
DECATUR — The Macon County Conservation District is offering two programs the weekend of March 20-21:

On Saturday, March 20 at 2pm, you can create your very own rag doll during a Rag Doll Workshop at Rock Springs Conservation Area. Rag dolls have been one of the most popular children’s toys throughout history, dating back to ancient times. Create and personalize your own old-fashioned rag doll. All supplies will be provided. This program is free and for all ages. Children 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Face masks required. Register online by noon on Friday, March 19 at

Friday, March 5, 2021

Night Hikes at Griswold Conservation Area
DECATUR — Venture into the darkness during one of two Night Hikes at Griswold Conservation Area this spring. Choose from Saturday, March 13 and Saturday, May 22 from 8pm-9:30pm.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Bill would end restraint and isolation of students
A House committee agreed Wednesday to continue working on a bill that aims to end the use of physical restraints and isolation as a way of controlling misbehaving students in public school classrooms.

House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, was introduced in response to a 2019 article by Pro Publica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune that documented the extent to which those practices are used in Illinois schools and the harmful effects they have on children.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Settlement reached in Indiana police pursuit, deadly crash
A $1.2 million settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed over a high-speed police chase that ended with a crash that killed a 13-year-old northwestern Indiana girl, a family attorney said.

Attorney Lawrence T. Ruder said the settlement was reached after numerous court-ordered mediation sessions. Indiana’s damage caps law limited how much the family could recover for Julianna Chambers’ death and crash injuries her grandmother suffered, he said.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Chicago raises capacity limits to 50% for bars, restaurants
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday that bars and restaurants will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, loosening restrictions put into place due to the coronavirus pandemic as vaccinations ramp up.

Lightfoot’s decision comes as the city’s public health officials said Illinois residents 65 or older can start making appointments Thursday for the United Center vaccination site. The site on the city’s West Side will open March 9.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Jesse Jackson out of rehabilitation center after surgery
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been discharged from a rehabilitation center where he spent more than three weeks following an illness and surgery.

The 79-year-old founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, who was hospitalized for eight days in January, said Tuesday he could not walk when transferred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab on Feb. 6.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Democrats push resolution 'condemning' GOP lawmaker
Nearly three dozen Democratic members of the Illinois House of Representatives signed onto a resolution Monday to “condemn” a southern Illinois Republican lawmaker for attending a Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. that preceded the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.

House Resolution 132 also references a complaint filed Monday with Illinois Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope to investigate the actions of Rep. Chris Miller, of Oakland, on Jan. 6.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Chicago man arrested, charged with inciting summer looting
A Chicago man was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge alleging that he incited a riot last summer by urging others online to join massive crowds of people who looted downtown businesses.

James Massey, 22, faces one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to incite a riot, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Massey appeared in a court hearing by telephone on Tuesday afternoon, and a judge ordered he be released on bond and placed on electronic monitoring.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

FDA issues emergency-use authorization for U of I COVID test
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday it has authorized the emergency use of a COVID-19 saliva test developed by the University of Illinois.

Despite the lack of FDA approval until Monday, officials said the test, known as covidSHIELD, has been used more than 1.5 million times at the university’s campuses in Urbana, Springfield and Chicago. University officials also said that because the test had been properly lab-certified, dozens of organizations around the world were sold the test, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, American University and a Toyota plant in Kentucky.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

5 hurt in Chicago high-rise carbon monoxide leak, fire
Five people were hurt early Tuesday in a carbon monoxide leak and fire in a Chicago apartment building, fire officials said.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bill calls for rapid on-site visit policy after deadly outbreak at LaSalle Veterans' Home
Two Republican lawmakers on Monday unveiled legislation to strengthen internal policies at state-run veterans homes in the case of a disease outbreak, such as the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home that resulted in 36 resident deaths since the pandemic began.

 The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Sue Rezin, defines an outbreak at a state veterans home as two or more staff or residents at the facility contracting an infectious disease within 48 hours of the first diagnosis.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Illinois teacher shortage getting worse
SPRINGFIELD — A new survey of Illinois school districts shows most are continuing to have trouble filling open teaching positions with qualified teachers and even more are having difficulty hiring substitute teachers.
Monday, March 1, 2021

1 week, 3 reps, 1 mo. pay? Mendoza seeks end to Illinois' exit bonus
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The debacle that was last week’s process to fill the vacancy in the Illinois House of Representatives left by the departure of long-tenured former Speaker Michael Madigan created curious financial fodder for a legislative pay practice that Comptroller Susana Mendoza has been working for more than a year to end.
Monday, March 1, 2021

Illinois teacher shortage getting worse
A new survey of Illinois school districts shows most are continuing to have trouble filling open teaching positions with qualified teachers and even more are having difficulty hiring substitute teachers.

It’s a problem that has existed in the state for many years and one that experts attribute to a variety of factors, such as low pay and the difficulty in attracting new teachers to work in certain parts of the state.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Schools in our region have had to rely on long-term substitutes
Hiring teachers is even more difficult in southwest Illinois school districts than it is in most of the rest of the state, according to a new study from a regional superintendents group.

Of the 61 Illinois districts in the region that includes Christian County that responded to the 2020 Illinois Educator Shortage Study, 87 percent said they have a teacher shortage problem. Statewide, 77 percent of districts responding to the survey said they have at least a “minor” problem hiring teachers.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Dems seek probe of lawmaker with militia decal
Democratic county leaders in Illinois want an investigation of Republican state Rep. Chris Miller after he displayed a decal of an anti-government militia movement on his pickup truck parked at the U.S. Capitol during the deadly insurrection in January.

The Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association asked for a state investigation Friday after photos of Miller’s truck with a sticker for the Three Percenters surfaced on social media.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Officials announce federal vaccine site in Chicago
State and federal officials on Friday announced a new federal mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be opening March 10 at the United Center in Chicago.

The new site will prioritize access for seniors and be open to any Phase 1B-plus eligible residents throughout the state, which now includes those 16 years of age or older with underlying conditions.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Former Illlinois lawmakers face federal charges
One former member of the Illinois General Assembly was indicted, along with his two sons, on charges of tax evasion this week, while a second former lawmaker pleaded not guilty in a separate case that alleged he committed federal tax fraud, among other charges.

Former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, 51, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, through his court-appointed public defender, to charges of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion related to his alleged misuse of more than $200,000 in campaign funds.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Dirksen Congressional Center head promotes study of senator
Tiffany White, director of the Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin, believes it is not enough to study the actions of historical figures. To truly appreciate the role that figures like U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen played in history, it is important to examine their background and their upbringing.
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Former Illinois lawmakers face federal charges
One former member of the Illinois General Assembly was indicted, along with his two sons, on charges of tax evasion this week, while a second former lawmaker pleaded not guilty in a separate case that alleged he committed federal tax fraud, among other charges.
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Illinois' earliest COVID patients recall a lonely year
As it turns out, there are no perks to being first in a pandemic.

“That’s the wrong lottery to win,” Bob Dix said.

It’s been a full year since Dix arrived at the Northwest Community Hospital emergency room in Arlington Heights with a 103-degree temperature that wouldn’t break, confounding doctors who had ruled out the flu, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Illinois Tollway eliminates cash pay
The days of paying cash on the Illinois Tollway are gone forever.

The tollway announced Thursday it is permanently eliminating cash toll collections and will accept only I-Pass, E-ZPass or online payments. Customers unable to pay online can pay by check or money order.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Illinois sets single day vaccine record
The 130,021 COVID-19 vaccinations administered Wednesday set a record for the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday.
Friday, February 26, 2021

Madigan's 2nd replace is 1st Latina to serve district
Former Speaker Michael Madigan chose a second replacement to fill the House seat he vacated last week after he publicly urged his first appointee to step down for “alleged questionable conduct,” the exact details of which remain unclear.

Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar was nominated by Madigan on Thursday during the brief meeting of the five Democratic committeepersons who represent the Chicago wards and Stickney Township within the 22nd District.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Illinois luxury car deliverer attacked; 3 cars stolen
Four men attacked a luxury car delivery driver in suburban Chicago and took off with three high-end vehicles, authorities said.

The attack, which was captured on video, took place early Thursday morning at Jidd Motors in Des Plaines, police said in a release.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Vaccines expanded but appointments still limited
Illinois residents 16 years of age and older with underlying conditions are now able to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in the state’s latest expansion of vaccination Phase 1B.

The expansion includes people aged 16-64 with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, smoking, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, cancer, solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease, pregnancy and persons with a disability, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Madigan successor abruptly resigns
The hand-picked successor to former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s seat abruptly resigned Wednesday, under pressure from his sponsors who accused him of unspecified “questionable conduct.“

Edward Guerra Kodatt submitted his resignation to the House clerk Wednesday morning, according to Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, citing a spokesman for the new House speaker. Kodatt quit just three days after he was chosen from among 10 candidates to replace Madigan, a Democrat from the Southwest Side of Chicago who had held the post for more than 50 years.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Law enforcement: Criminal justice reform 'misguided'
Law enforcement groups have decried the Monday signing of a massive criminal justice reform bill into law by Gov. JB Pritzker, referring to the legislation as anti-police with provisions that will lead to unintended consequences.

House Bill 3653, referred to as the “Safe-T Act,” ends the use of cash bail by 2023 and grants increased state oversight of police agencies statewide, among other provisions. Law enforcement and Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, citing problematic language in some provisions, while maintaining support for the law’s intent.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

State expected to hit 100,000 daily vaccines in March
Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday the state expects to be receiving up to 100,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine daily by mid-March, up from the approximately 60,000 it is currently receiving on average.

That’s counting only the already-approved Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, and is not including a potential dosage spike that is expected occur if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Illinois hemp production drops slightly in 2020
Industrial hemp production declined slightly in 2020, the second year of legalized production in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that 2,392 acres of industrial hemp, or 87 percent of the acres planted, were harvested during the year. That was down from just over 2,800 acres in 2019.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Mayor of Chicago signs plan boosting sanctuary protection
Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a measure Tuesday strengthening Chicago’s sanctuary policies by removing exceptions where local police can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

IDoA seeking nominations for 2021 Senior Hall of Fame
The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is accepting nominations for the 2021 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame Awards. These awards recognize adults, 65 years of age and older, and highlight the meaningful contributions they have made in Illinois.

"It's been tough this past year. We all know an older family member, friend or neighbor who has made a significant impact in their community or has gone the extra mile during these challenging times," said Paula Basta, Director of IDoA. "Now, more than ever, I encourage everyone to take some time to nominate those special individuals who should be recognized for their dedication and notable service. Please help us honor those who embody the spirit of respecting yesterday, supporting today, and planning for tomorrow."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Darren Bailey announces run for gov
Illinois Sen. Darren Bailey, who gained notoriety for challenging Gov. JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive orders last year, announced Monday that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2022.

Speaking before a crowd of supporters at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham Monday night, Bailey cast himself as an outsider candidate who would stand up to who he referred to as “political elites”.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Pritzker calls for $15M loan for areas hit by high gas prices
Gov. JB Pritzker announced a low-interest loan program Tuesday to help alleviate the unprecedented financial burden from soaring utility costs for certain Illinois municipalities and their residents.

The extreme weather that devastated Texas’ electrical grid last week has resulted in skyrocketing natural gas prices in Illinois directly linked to frozen natural gas wells in Texas and Oklahoma.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Hospitalizatins for COVID-19 continue on a steady decline
Hospitalizations and positivity rates for COVID-19 in Illinois continued on a steady decline Tuesday, decreasing for the 13th straight week.

As of Monday night, the state reported 1,488 individuals were in the hospital with COVID-19, including 361 in intensive care unit beds and 172 on ventilators.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Vilsak confirmed for second stint as ag secretary
The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post.

The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same Department of Agriculture for former President Barack Obama’s entire administration. He was confirmed Tuesday on a 92-7 vote.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Illinois seeks help from USDA to feed school kids
As many as 1 million Illinois schoolchildren will get more nutritious meals after state officials received an expansion of a federally subsidized pandemic-relief program, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.

Illinois is one of 16 states that sought additional assistance from the U.S. Agriculture Department’s program. In a news conference at Washington Middle School, Pritzker said the state will more than double the benefits it had been receiving and reach an additional 200,000 children.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

State expands 1B vaccine eligibility
Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday that the state will move ahead with plans to expand vaccine eligibility under Phase 1B of its vaccination plan later this week.

A total of 73,181 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered statewide combined Saturday and Sunday. The state has administered over 2.2 million doses to date, with 4.4 percent of the state’s population being fully vaccinated.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Governor Pritzker signs criminal justice reform bill
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a criminal justice omnibus bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Monday, abolishing cash bail, overhauling police certification and reforming use-of-force standards among numerous other provisions.

Pritzker signed the legislation, House Bill 3653, referred to as the “Safe-T Act,” during an event at Chicago State University alongside members of his administration and lawmakers from the Black Caucus.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Madigan also resigns as chairman of Illinois Democratic Party
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan announced Monday that he is resigning as chairman of the state Democratic Party, a post he has held since 1998.

The announcement came just days after Madigan resigned his seat in the House after a 50-year career in the General Assembly.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Esports offers youths new way to connect virtually
On a typical Tuesday night Seanan AlYasiri and his family crowd around the TV in their living room.

At first glance it may appear they are watching a soccer game — one played with virtual cars instead of people — but in reality they are cheering on Alexi AlYasiri, 10, in a competitive video game called Rocket League.

Monday, February 22, 2021

SIU receives volumes belonging to late inventor Fuller
Southern Illinois University has received a collection of books belonging to the late inventor and designer R. Buckminster Fuller, who also taught at the school.

University officials said the roughly 3,000 volumes at the Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center are part of a recent donation of artifacts and furniture to a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Fuller’s dome-shaped home in Carbondale. Fuller, known for his futuristic inventions, lived at the home from 1960 to 1971. He died in 1983.

Monday, February 22, 2021

State Police: 4 killed in suburban Chicago traffic crash
Four people, including a young child and teenager, died in a traffic crash outside Chicago, Illinois State Police said Sunday.

The crash happened late Saturday evening in Rolling Meadows. All four people who died were in the same vehicle, a blue 2019 Ford Fiesta that had stopped on the right side of the road before it was struck by a black 2018 Jeep.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Democrats choose replacement for Madigan's vacant House seat
Democratic leaders on Sunday chose a 26-year-old constituent services employee to fill the Chicago-area Illinois House seat left vacant by former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Democrats, including Madigan, met in Chicago and voted, with Edward Guerra Kodatt receiving 63% of the weighted vote. Kodatt has worked as a bilingual outreach and budget assistant in a constituent services office run by Madigan and 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Sec of State reminds drivers of Scott's Law
ILLINOIS — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is issuing an urgent reminder to motorists to adhere to the state’s Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law, designed to protect law enforcement and emergency responders who are stopped on the side of roadways. White also underscored the importance of not driving while distracted – with a special emphasis on avoiding texting while driving at all times.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

What Illinois can learn from the Texas energy crisis
SPRINGFIELD — When parts of Texas’ independent power grid went offline this week due to unusually extreme cold weather in the south, the amount of expected energy production lost was equivalent to the amount of electricity used to keep the lights on in the entire state of Illinois.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Some IDNR services will be offline February 23 thru 28
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced that point-of-sale license and permit systems and online license, permit, campground reservation, and registration services will be offline Feb. 23-28 as part of the transition to a new system that begins operation in March.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Vaccine doses administered top 2 million amid progress
SPRINGFIELD — The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Illinois topped 2 million Friday as the state’s case positivity rate continues to hover near pandemic lows and hospitalizations decline.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Heroin chief cause of suburban Chicago opioid deaths
CHICAGO (AP) — A study of deaths related to opioid-related overdoses in suburban Chicago has found heroin was the chief killer, according to a report released Friday.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

ICC urges customers to continue to monitor energy savings
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Commerce Commission is continuing to monitor the power situation in Texas and other areas of the country experiencing extreme weather events and warns that increases in wholesale energy prices could have an impact on some Illinois electric and natural gas customers. The ICC is urging customers to follow winter energy-saving smart tips to keep utility bills down.  
Saturday, February 20, 2021

LLCC Giving Day is this Tuesday
SPRINGFIELD — The Lincoln Land Community College Foundation will hold a one-day fundraising event, LLCC Giving Day, on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of LLCC are welcome and encouraged to participate. The goal is to raise $5,000 to help students with emergency needs, scholarships and through donations to the annual fund.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Memorial Health System advises how to maintain a healthy heart
SPRINGFIELD — Memorial Health System is celebrating American Heart Month throughout the month of February by asking the people in our community to consider their own heart health and take action to lessen their risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a heart attack.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Madigan resigns effective immediately
SPRINGFIELD — Former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, 78, announced Thursday he will step down from the state House of Representatives after 50 years in office.
Friday, February 19, 2021

Trinity Dodge Fixed
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