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home : news : state news free January 17, 2020

State senators to choose new president
The Illinois Senate will hold a special meeting Sunday to elect a new chamber president.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, surprised his colleagues at the end of the fall veto session Nov. 14 by announcing his plan to retire from the Senate in January, once a new president is chosen.

Friday, January 17, 2020


Equal Right Amendment hits support threshhold; but implementation is complicated, likely stalled
Two years after Illinois’ Legislature approved new language for the U.S. Constitution codifying that rights cannot be denied due to gender, the Equal Rights Amendment gained enough state support to be ratified.

Its potential implementation is more complicated, though.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Lawyers say immigration court system is 'red tape gone crazy'
Tucked in a windowless room of Chicago’s immigration court, one of the nation’s largest legal advocacy groups for immigrants runs a free help desk.

Their pace is dizzying. Most days, there’s a line outside the door, with some cases taking years to resolve. Attorneys have no printer and make copies by hand. They rarely take breaks, even to use the bathroom.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Another wetter-than-normal spring predicted as Illinois farmers recover from crop losses
The state’s climatologist is predicting Illinois farmers are likely to endure more burdensomely wet weather while they try to plant cash crops this spring after suffering major losses as a result of a record-wet planting season last year.

April through June is likely to be wetter than normal in Illinois, according to rainfall projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, posing a challenge to corn and soybean farmers in the heart of planting season.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Chicago bolsters sanctuary protections, activists want more
Chicago again bolstered its sanctuary policies Wednesday as aldermen approved a plan requiring police to document any requests for assistance from federal immigration agents.
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Autopsy didn't find cause of death of suburban Chicago woman
An autopsy has failed to determine the cause of death of a suburban Chicago woman whose body was found in the trunk of her car, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ex-priest gets 9-year prison sentence for child pornography
A former southern Illinois priest who pleaded guilty last year to distributing child pornography and processing methamphetamine was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Comptroller to lawmakers: No more pay for time not worked
Illinois’ chief fiscal officer announced a plan this week to remedy the “ridiculous” law that allows legislators to be paid for days they did not hold office.

Representatives and senators are paid in 12 equal disbursements on the last working day of each month. Current law allows lawmakers to receive a full salary as long as they hold office at least one day in each pay period.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

U of I president being offered contract extension, pay raise
University of Illinois President Tim Killeen is being offered a new contract that would extend his tenure four years and hike his annual compensation by about 40%, officials revealed Tuesday.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Regional authority proposed for Quad Cities
Some business and government leaders in the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa and western Illinois want to form a regional authority that would gain funding and manage big projects.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Illinois group asks U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider abortion protections
An Illinois anti-abortion advocacy group argues the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing the procedure is outdated and “out of step with modern science.”

The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based law firm, filed a brief last week on behalf of Illinois Right to Life in the highest court’s first abortion-related case in years.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Illinois gun dealer regs to take effect Friday; subject of constitutional lawsuit
New rules governing how retail gun dealers do business go into effect Friday and include the types of records they must keep, how weapons and ammunition are to be stored and the kinds of video surveillance and security systems they must maintain.3
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Police suspect serial killer strangled teen in 1976
A suspected serial killer strangled a suburban Chicago teenage girl in 1976 and likely killed another woman just days before she was to testify in court that he raped her, police said Monday.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

23 people apply to be next CPD superintendent
The Chicago Police Board has received applications from 23 people who want to become the city’s next police superintendent, officials said Monday.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

State ag director resigns over response to rape email
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agriculture director has resigned after acknowledging he received, but did not act on, a lobbyist’s email seven years ago that referenced an alleged rape cover-up and illegal hiring practices.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Nowicki named bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois
Capitol News Illinois today announces that Jerry Nowicki has been promoted to the position of bureau chief with the news service.

 Nowicki joined Capitol News Illinois as a reporter when the Illinois Press Foundation’s news service began covering state government in January 2019. During Capitol News Service’s first year of operation, Nowicki was a lead reporter on some of the biggest legislative session issues, including the graduated income tax proposal,  a significant increase in the minimum wage, the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, and the state’s first capital infrastructure plan in more than a decade.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Ghost hunters tell how their show got on streaming service
Central Illinois Ghost Hunters (CIGH) owner Shane Cleer has been involved in paranormal investigation for nearly a decade and a half. After managing his own small budget team, an opportunity to take over CIGH, an established brand in the area, presented itself.
Monday, January 13, 2020

East St. Louis official faces $175K in fines to state board
An elected official in East St. Louis owes more than $175,000 in accrued fines to the Illinois State Board of Elections if he wants to appear on the March primary ballot.
Monday, January 13, 2020

County's printing glitch led to duplicate voter cards
County officials in central Illinois said a computer glitch was to blame after some residents received up to eight voter registration cards recently.
Monday, January 13, 2020

Activist, 23, named to vacant Chicago-area state House post
Democratic leaders have selected a 23-year-old community activist who works for U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to fill a vacant Illinois House seat.
Monday, January 13, 2020

Storm prompts about 1,000 flight cancellations in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — A winter storm threatening the Chicago area with ice and snow prompted the cancellation of about 1,000 flights Saturday at Chicago’s two main airports.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Illinois updating birth certificates for transgender dads
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is updating its birth certificate system to affirm the gender identities of transgender parents, after a transmasculine person asked to be officially recognized as a father who gave birth to their daughter.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

IDPH investigating Legionnaires' Disease cases at two Chicago nursing homes
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating cases of Legionnaires' disease at two separate nursing homes in Chicago.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Illinois lawmakers say policy on vaping not enough

SPRINGFIELD — Some Illinois lawmakers say a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy responding to a growing trend of youth e-cigarette use does not go far enough.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Carle acquires hospitals in Normal and Eureka
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Carle Health has announced plans to purchase medical facilities owned by Advocate Aurora Health, including hospitals in Normal and Eureka.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Gov puts criminal justice reforms atop '20 agenda
SPRINGFIELD — In year two, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will focus on ending cash bail, reforming low-level drug crime sentencing and reducing mandatory minimum sentences, he announced in Chicago Thursday.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Illinois corn and soybean production drops by roughly twenty percent
SPRINGFIELD — Production of Illinois’ two most valuable crops fell by roughly one-fifth last year, according to final crop yield numbers released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Illinois economy grew slowly in the third quarter of 2019
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois economy grew at a slower pace than most neighboring states and the nation as a whole during the third quarter of 2019, according to new figures released Friday.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Central Illinois Ghost Hunters talks about their live streaming show
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Central Illinois Ghost Hunters (CIGH) owner Shane Cleer has been involved in paranormal investigation for nearly a decade and a half. After managing his own small budget team, an opportunity to take over CIGH, an established brand in the area, presented itself.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Small Illinois town gets nat'l grant funding for concert series
GALVA, Ill. (AP) — Pink-ribboned wooden stakes that outline where a performance stage is to be constructed might make Wiley Park look like a field of dreams.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Conservation district offering eagle viewing trips
DECATUR, Ill. — The Macon County Conservation District invites area residents to enjoy one of four eagle viewing trips in January and February. All four trips are open to all ages. Each trip departs from and returns to Rock Springs Nature Center. A fee of $25/person covers all transportation.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Lincoln Presidential Library to honor MLK's memory with day of activities
SPRINGFIELD — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Monday, Jan. 20, by presenting his most famous speech and offering free admission to community groups that work to better the lives of others.
Saturday, January 11, 2020

Illinois Medicaid now covering transgender therapy
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Medicaid program now covers medical procedures for people transitioning from one gender to another.
Friday, January 10, 2020

Officials say be careful not to overdo it on edibles
SPRINGFIELD — Thousands of marijuana-related emergency visits occur in the United States each year. While a fatal overdose is unlikely, ingesting too much marijuana is possible, especially if you’re not familiar with the potency of the drug you’re consuming, officials said.
Friday, January 10, 2020

Madigan says no to investigation of "rape in Champaign'
SPRINGFIELD – House Speaker Michael Madigan said Thursday he will not initiate a House-led inquiry into a recently unearthed 2012 email written by a state government insider that alluded to a possible cover-up of a “rape in Champaign” and other criminal activity.
Friday, January 10, 2020

Coyote captured on Chicago's North Side after two attacks are reported
CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities on the hunt for coyotes in downtown Chicago after two reported attacks, including one where passersby said they had to pull a wild canine off of a 6-year-old boy who was bitten in the head, captured one animal Thursday night on the city’s North Side.
Friday, January 10, 2020

Treasurer Frerichs to serve as Chair of National College Savings Organization 
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today will preside over his first meeting as Chair of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), a leading objective source of information about Section 529 college savings plans and prepaid tuition plans.
Friday, January 10, 2020

Girlfriend 'cat fight' inside singer RKelly's condo
Chicago police say two girlfriends of R. Kelly fought Wednesday inside the embattled singer’s Trump Tower condominium , resulting in one of the women being taken to a nearby hospital.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

State panel cites resources needed to counteract overuse of punitive seclusion
Legislators and advocates began discussions Tuesday of what action the state can take to counteract the overuse of physical restraint and forced isolation of students in Illinois schools, particularly those serving students with special needs.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

Republicans blast property tax task force report
Illinois House Republicans on Wednesday blasted a draft final report from the special Property Tax Relief Task Force that lawmakers formed last year. They said the panel’s Democratic majority summarily rejected dozens of proposals from Republicans.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

House bill would add risks of sexting to sex ed curriculum
Sex education in Illinois middle and high schools would be required to include a discussion on sexting if a bill introduced in the state House of Representatives becomes law.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

Coyote attack in Chicago's Lincoln Park
A young boy walking with his mother outside a Chicago nature museum on Wednesday was bitten by a coyote, authorities said.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

Lawmakers on both sides demand investigation of 2012 'rape in Champaign'
Lawmakers from both parties are calling for an investigation of a 2012 email exchange between a government insider and then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s staff regarding a possible cover-up of rape and other criminal activity.
Thursday, January 9, 2020

New Illinois law provides sweeping financial aid
Some transgender students and some of those living in the U.S. without legal permission have become the first to apply for college financial aid in Illinois under a new state law.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Freshman legislator named to Sandoval's seat
Democratic leaders have appointed a first-term state representative to the seat vacated by former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who is under federal investigation.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Merging governments in Illinois tops task force property tax-reduction plan
Illinois could lighten its property tax burden by consolidating governmental taxing districts, standardizing property-value assessments, tightening up the appeals process and reining in breaks on commercial redevelopments, according to a draft report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Two men killed in Chicago gunfight
A man on probation for a gun violation was charged Tuesday with murder for taking part in a Chicago gun battle that left two dead.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Judge tosses teen's confession in mother's killing
A western Illinois judge has thrown out the confession of a teenage girl accused of fatally shooting her mother, ruling that investigators should have stopped questioning the then-15-year-old once she told them “I don’t want to talk anymore.“
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Chicago airports add boxes to dump marijuana
Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports have added boxes where travelers can dispose of recreational marijuana before they board their flights.

The cannabis amnesty boxes, as they’re called, were installed at each airport last week, just as legal marijuana sales began in Illinois. The boxes are located just past the airports’ Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Suspect in lawyer's death a cash-strapped student
A 28-year-old man charged in the stabbing death of a prominent Illinois attorney was a cash-strapped Missouri pharmacy student.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Suspect charged in death of prominent attorney
Murder charges were filed Monday against a man suspected in the death of a prominent Illinois attorney.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Plea reached in child false identity case
A federal court filing shows that a plea agreement has been reached in the case of a 24-year-old Ohio man who claimed to be a missing Illinois child.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Shortages force closing of marijuana dispensaries
Several Illinois recreational marijuana dispensaries were closed Monday, with some owners saying strong demand has caused a shortage in supplies and staff exhaustion.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

AG seeks accelerated ratepayer refund from utilities
Two of the state’s largest electric utilities owe their customers a combined $543 million in refunds, according to state regulators, but there is sharp disagreement over how much time the companies should have to pay it back.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

More Illinois seniors eligible for state benefits now
More Illinois seniors will qualify for state benefits such as discounted license plates and free transit under new income guidelines that took effect for 2020.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

State: 123 children died despite contact with DCFS
A report highlighting persistent problems within Illinois’ child welfare agency showed 123 children died in the past fiscal year despite having contact with the Department of Children and Family Services.
Monday, January 6, 2020

CPS had 140 residency violations in '19
A watchdog for Chicago Public Schools received 140 complaints of possible residency violations among district employees, a new report found.

CPS employees are required to live within Chicago city limits like other public workers, unless they’re granted a waiver. The new annual report also outlined 15 cases of residency fraud, the Chicago Tribune reported. CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s 2019 report recommended dismissal or noted where the employee resigned during the investigation.

Monday, January 6, 2020

One Illinois library has novel idea: Politics with civility and respect
Imagine a political environment that promotes civility over rancor. Visualize a political discussion that emphasizes unity rather than division.

The Rockford Public Library and the not-for-profit organization Better Angels are holding a public meeting Jan. 11 at the Nordlof Center that will explore methods of softening the polarized political landscape as the nation heads into a presidential election year.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Lake Michigan surfer started in Chicago
You might be surprised to learn surfing is increasingly popular on the Great Lakes. In fact, some enthusiasts plunge into Lake Michigan any chance they get, any time of year.
Monday, January 6, 2020

Illinois will stop collecting fines for drivers caught on red-light cameras
The state of Illinois will stop collecting fines against drivers who are ticketed after cameras catch them violating red lights, Comptroller Susan Mendoza said Monday.
Monday, January 6, 2020

Police are investigating death of a prominent Illinois lawyer
The death of a prominent Illinois lawyer is being investigated, but few details about his death were released immediately.
Monday, January 6, 2020

Wildlife organizations to host eagle viewings this weekend
Wildlife organizations are planning eagle viewing events in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Monday, January 6, 2020

Chicago-area U.S. soldier killed in Kenya attack
A U.S. solider from the Chicago area was among three people killed in an attack on a military base in Kenya.
Monday, January 6, 2020

Illinois shops excited to sell bongs as pot law takes effect
Owners of Illinois glass pipe shops are elated to begin selling bongs after the state’s law legalizing recreational marijuana took effect.
Saturday, January 4, 2020

Suspect surrenders after taking hostage
An armed robbery suspect surrendered to police after holding a woman hostage at an Illinois bank for more than six hours.
Saturday, January 4, 2020

After successful debut, Pritzker has work on taxes, ethics
Last June, as the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its spring session, first-year Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked whether he would simply kick back and wait for his re-election campaign. After all, he had accomplished virtually everything on which he had campaigned: A balanced budget, a multi-billion-dollar statewide construction program, legalization of marijuana for recreational use, a $15 minimum wage and more.
Saturday, January 4, 2020

US men's soccer team cancels plan to train in Qatar
The U.S. men’s soccer team has canceled its plan to train in Doha, Qatar, from Jan. 5-25 “due to the developing situation in the region.”
Saturday, January 4, 2020

Chicago-area zoo euthanizes Zenda, a struggling male lion
A 14-year-old male African lion has been euthanized at a suburban Chicago zoo.
Saturday, January 4, 2020

Fake Illinois lawyer pleads guilty, gets probation
A woman who fooled a public defender into hiring her as a lawyer pleaded guilty Friday to practicing law in Illinois without a license.
Saturday, January 4, 2020

Group must revise suit over dark money
A conservative advocacy group must show that it or one of its donors is being harmed before continuing with a lawsuit seeking to overturn an executive order by Montana’s governor requiring organizations that receive large state contracts to report political contributions over $2,500, a federal judge ruled.
Friday, January 3, 2020

American Airlines vows to share Boeing proceeds
American Airlines said Thursday it is negotiating with Boeing Co. over compensation for the airline’s grounded planes and expects to share some of the proceeds with employees.

American had 24 Boeing 737 Max jets when the planes were grounded worldwide in March after two deadly crashes. Like other airlines, American has canceled thousands of flights as a result. It estimated that the grounding will cut its full-year 2019 pretax income by $540 million.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Assets of former owner of Ebony going to auction
Bankrupt Johnson Publishing Co., the former owner of Ebony and Jet magazines, will sell off art that once decorated the company’s Chicago headquarters.
Friday, January 3, 2020

Dispensaries report smooth rollout of legal weed
The first day of legal sales of recreational marijuana in Illinois went “extraordinarily well,” according to one industry representative, with total sales on Jan. 1 of nearly $3.2 million.

“I just I cannot express the gratitude from the dispensary operators to our customers about their courtesy and civility and patience. It was really a lovely, very successful rollout, I think, on the first day,” Pamela Althoff, executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, said in an interview Thursday.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Five homicides in first few hours of 2020 in St. Louis
The new year is off to a bloody start in St. Louis, with five people shot to death on New Year’s Day.
Thursday, January 2, 2020

Opening date of Obama center is still uncertain
Four years after Chicago was chosen as the site of Barack Obama’s presidential center, it’s still unclear when construction will begin on the $500 million facility.

Early predictions were that the Obama Presidential Center could open as soon as 2020, but a lengthy federal review process has slowed progress. That review is required because of the center’s location in Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction can’t start until the review is completed.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Illinois sees first l egal sales of recreational marijuana
The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal Wednesday in Illinois to the delight of pot fans — many who began lining up hours early at dispensaries.
Thursday, January 2, 2020

2 toddlers dead after stabbing and high-rise plunge
Two toddlers died early today in Chicago after a woman believed to be their mother allegedly stabbed a 70-year-old man, left one of the children in a bathtub and threw the other child out an 11th-floor apartment before jumping herself, police said.
Thursday, January 2, 2020

Lawsuit: Famed Jesuit abused boy 1,000 times around world
One day in May of 1970, an 11-year-old boy and his disabled sister were sitting on the curb outside a Chicago tavern, waiting for their mother to come out. When a priest with crinkly eyes and a ready smile happened by and offered the family a ride home, they could not have been happier.
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Ex Puerto Rico official pleads guilty in corruption case
The former president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives pleaded guilty Monday in a 2017 corruption case in which he was ordered to pay a fine but will not face prison time.
Monday, December 30, 2019

Illinois time change plan causes confusion at Missouri border
A proposal in Illinois to make daylight saving time permanent has some residents and business owners worried about the confusion it could cause at the Missouri border.
Monday, December 30, 2019

Legal marijuana sales may spark Midwest interstate tension
Retailers legally selling marijuana for the past month in Michigan say they have drawn customers from surrounding Midwestern states where the drug remains illegal and, as Illinois prepares to joins the recreational market on Wednesday, officials are renewing warnings to consumers against carrying such products over state lines.

The dynamic is familiar for states on the West and East coasts where the sale and use of marijuana has been broadly allowed since Colorado’s market opened in 2014, despite a federal ban that created a patchwork of legal and cultural snares. Nebraska and Oklahoma went so far as to file an unsuccessful lawsuit against Colorado, arguing that its marijuana law would have ill effects for surrounding states.

Monday, December 30, 2019

State hires military liaison for professional licenses help
The state of Illinois has hired a military liaison to help service members and their families through the process of obtaining professional licenses, officials said.
Monday, December 30, 2019

As wind farms grow in Illinois, so do concerns
Fifty wind farms have opened in Illinois since 2003 and more are in the works, but not everyone is on board.

The state ranks sixth nationwide with 2,778 operational wind turbines, according to The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, which cited the American Wind Energy Association. McLean County is expected to have four wind farms soon.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Former US attorney in southern Illinois charged with 3rd DUI
Former U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton has been charged with driving under the influence for the third time since 2017, according to police.

Wigginton of Troy was arrested Thursday in Edwardsville, according to Police Chief Jay Keeven. He said more details would likely be available Monday.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Police: Boy hurt in accidental gunfire at Illinois gun range
A boy was wounded in accidental gun fire at a suburban Chicago gun range, police said.
Monday, December 30, 2019

Marijuana arrests plummet in Illinois' 5 largest suburbs
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — Marijuana arrests dropped significantly in Chicago’s largest suburbs, a change many say is caused by decriminalization and a change of attitude toward the drug.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Families can 'head to the beach' Jan. 4 at state museum
SPRINGFIELD — Children and their families will have the opportunity to escape the frigid temperatures and be transported to the prehistoric and modern beaches of Illinois through the Illinois State Museum's monthly Super Saturday program on January 4. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., visitors can learn about Illinois' underwater past and present with objects from the Museum's collection, build a sandcastle, decorate a pair of sunglasses, and explore the depths of the ocean.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Man who made 27,000 crosses for victims is retiring
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man who made more than 27,000 crosses to commemorate victims of mass shootings across the country is retiring.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Bond set at $5M for suspect in Christmas Day killings
PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) — A judge set a $5 million bond Friday for a state corrections officer who’s charged in the Christmas Day shootings of his wife, adult son and another man in a small eastern Illinois community.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Lawyer who helped free wrongly convicted is killed
OAK PARK, Ill. (AP) — An attorney who fought to help get people wrongly convicted of murder out of prison has died after getting hit by a vehicle in suburban Chicago.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Southern Illinois archaeologist's finds return to SIU
CARBONDALE, Ill (AP) — Like many prolific people, Irvin Peithmann’s documents, writings, photographs and artifacts became dispersed over his career and after his death in 1981.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Nature preserves near Charleston open for injured veteran hunters
CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — It wasn’t long before Winston Woodard received a bit of teasing, along with praise, for his ongoing success at a newly undertaken activity.
Saturday, December 28, 2019

Secretary of State says "If you are driving high, you will get a DUI"
ILLINOIS — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding motorists not to drive under the influence of alcohol or cannabis and not to drive distracted during the holiday season.
Friday, December 27, 2019

SIU discusses future of last military building on its campus
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — When Professor John Jackson arrived at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1969, the campus was full of repurposed World War II-era buildings.
Friday, December 27, 2019

New year will bring a higher minimum wage, legalization of marijuana
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s minimum wage will increase by $1 hourly, recreational marijuana will go on sale to those over 21 years of age, and some state taxes and licensing fees will increase when the calendar hits January.
Friday, December 27, 2019

Good government experts are troubled
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire businessman, spent about $3 million of his money on state expenses, including staff salaries and renovations, according to a published report.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Students serve prof with sex assault suit
The alleged victims of a former University of Illinois associate professor turned to email to finally serve him with their federal lawsuit accusing him of sexually and emotionally exploiting them.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boy charged in fatal fire to be evaluated
EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A 9-year-old boy charged in a central Illinois fire that killed five people, including family members, will be evaluated by a child trauma expert to determine if he’s fit to stand trial.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Crews make Christmas rescue of climber
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in southwest Illinois made a Christmas morning rescue after a woman who climbed up bluffs above a city park got stuck on a ledge for hours.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Chicago to see record breaking warm day
CHICAGO (AP) — Record-breaking warmth has hit the Chicago area, but weather experts said it won’t last long.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Illinois gets $40-million for early childhood
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois will get over $40 million in federal funding for early childhood programs over the next three years, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

Animal Protective League announces adoption dates
SPRINGFIELD — The Animal Protective League (APL) will hold several pet adoptions during September with cats and dogs available at various locations. All animals for adoption will be spayed or neutered, microchipped and have received all age appropriate vaccinations by the time of their adoption.
Thursday, December 26, 2019

All cultivation centers okayed for adult use
SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has now approved all 21 cultivation centers to grow cannabis for adult use. The department has approved the three outstanding cultivating licenses authorized under state law. 
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bail set for Chicago man arrested in party shooting
CHICAGO (AP) — Bail was set at $300,000 Monday for a man facing gun charges in connection with a weekend house party shooting in Chicago that left 13 wounded, though tests that could potentially tie him directly to the shooting haven’t been completed.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Homeless camp allowed to stay at Chicago viaduct
CHICAGO (AP) — A group camping below a Chicago viaduct have received a reprieve from eviction, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Pajama Party Mini Camp at Rock Springs, January 2-3
DECATUR — Children ages 1-5 and their adult buddy are invited to Rock Springs Nature Center for Pajama Party Mini Camp. This camp for ages 1-5 will be offered Thursday, January 2 and Friday, January 3 from 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Dense fog causes flight delays and cancellations in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Dense fog caused flight delays and some cancellations at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports early on Christmas Eve — one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Your expenses don't end when your pay does: How to create a retirement 'paycheck'
(AP) — Your expenses don’t end when your paychecks do, but creating a reliable income stream in retirement can be tricky. The right choices can result in sustainable income for the rest of your life. The wrong choices could leave you uncomfortably short of cash.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

IDNR encouraging pollinator-friendly habitat on solar sites
SPRINGFIELD — Bees, butterflies, and other insects that pollinate native plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate. As part of a comprehensive effort to expand pollinator-friendly habitat in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is launching a new initiative involving planting pollinator habitat on solar energy sites in the state.
Monday, December 23, 2019

Violations to Scott's Law will result in higher fines in 2020
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Police (ISP) continues to urge motorists to obey the Move Over Law — also known as Scott's Law — and use caution when approaching stationary emergency vehicles or any other stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights on the interstates and roads.
Monday, December 23, 2019

Child welfare worker in Freund case defends record
(AP) — A state child welfare worker who investigated an abuse claim months before a 5-year-old suburban Chicago boy was found beaten to death has defended his record.
Monday, December 23, 2019

13 wounded in shooting at Chicago memorial party
CHICAGO (AP) — One person has been charged in connection with a shooting early Sunday at a house party that left 13 people wounded, four of them critically, Chicago police said.
Monday, December 23, 2019

Children reunited with dad after Chicago carjacking
CHICAGO (AP) — Three children who were inside an SUV that was carjacked on Chicago’s north side have been reunited with their father and were not injured, police said.
Monday, December 23, 2019

ISP urges the public to drive responsibly during the holidays
Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Brendan F. Kelly is reminding motorists to enjoy the holidays responsibly and take the necessary safety precautions to prevent unnecessary tragedies..
Saturday, December 21, 2019

More than 6,000 students earned the State Seal of Biliteracy
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 6,217 high school students in the Class of 2019 have earned the State Seal of Biliteracy, which means they demonstrated a high level of proficiency in both English and another language, and 2,876 students have earned the State Commendation Toward Biliteracy, which indicates that they made significant progress toward achieving biliteracy. 461 more students earned the Seal this year compared to last year.
Saturday, December 21, 2019

Wins and losses, praise and criticism
A tumultuous year in Illinois politics draws to its close as the historic legislative accomplishments of May and June give way to a flurry of ongoing federal investigative activity, resignations and indictments.

Central to the story of 2019 is Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Chicago Democrat and billionaire who spent more than $170 million of his estimated $3.4 billion fortune on a successful bid to unseat one-term incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

2 men, woman dead in southern Illinois; 2 fugitives arrested
Three people were found dead inside a southern Illinois home after two fugitives wanted in other states were captured in Missouri, police said Friday.

Police in Bethalto found the victims Thursday night after being contacted by investigators in Hazelwood, Missouri, where two fugitives were arrested.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

How to help the lost and unconnected among us
In this season of joy, I am reminded, as we all are, fleetingly, that not all share our joy. Several years ago, for example, the circus came to my rural town. A friend and I decided to ensure that all kids could have the very few bucks needed for tickets and some cotton candy. Fifteen single-parent families were quickly identified by a local church group as needing such help.
Saturday, December 21, 2019

Re-established Springfield brewer fixes fairgrounds pavilion
The Illinois State Fair’s popular Food-A-Rama received a $10,000 sponsorship from Reisch Charities.
Saturday, December 21, 2019

Pritzker announces major investment in downstate Illinois child care centers
Child-care providers in certain downstate Illinois counties will see their reimbursement rates increase by 20% under the Child Care Assistance Program, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced this week.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Chicago man free after nearly 30 years
A Chicago man who claimed he was tortured into confessing to a 1990 murder was released from prison Thursday after a judge threw out his conviction.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Man gets 27-year sentence
A man has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for shooting at police officers in 2016 as they responded to a domestic disturbance call in a north Chicago suburb.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Reports indicate Michigan man may be baby abducted in 1964
When a woman posing as a maternity-ward nurse snatched a newborn from its mother’s arms more than 55 years ago, the case made headlines nationwide and led to a massive search by FBI agents and police.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Church seeks return of statue of priest who helped kids
The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is requesting that a statue of a well-known priest be returned, months after it was removed from church property in a suburb.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Man gets life sentence for killing cop close to retirement
A man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for killing an off-duty Chicago police officer who was shot while cleaning the car he had bought for retirement.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Teen charged in fiery crash that killed Decatur woman
A teenager accused of crashing a car into a house while drunk has been charged in the death of an 87-year-old Decatur woman.
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pritzker signs pension consolidation bill into law
A new law signed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday will consolidate 649 downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds into just two.

Pritzker signed the measure, passed in the recent fall veto session, in Chicago and hailed it as an initiative 70 years in the making.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Researchers suggest more state funding for schools would help lower soaring property taxes in Illinois
A pair of researchers are suggesting the best way to reduce property taxes in Illinois is for the state to take over a greater share of funding for public schools and consolidate some units of local government.
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Statehouse dome inspection reveals some damage
A Capitol dome study conducted earlier this month revealed “some obvious flaws on the exterior of the dome,” a state employee said Tuesday.

Inspectors also found cracks inside the structure and changes made over the years that have altered the Statehouse’s historical profile. The flagpole atop the Capitol needs to be replaced and the holiday lights will probably need to be hung in a different manner, Harl Ray, senior project manager for the secretary of state’s Department of Physical Services, said at a Capitol Architect board meeting.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Farmers gather for first Hemp Summit
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan said Tuesday that interest in the newly-legalized hemp industry continues to build, but more work needs to be done for the industry to mature.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Children in state care abused at Chicago hospital
Cook County’s public guardian filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against a Chicago psychiatric facility that treated children in state custody, alleging troubling claims of sexual abuse, improper medication and concealed investigations.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Chicago warns: Stop feeding raccoons
Chicago city agencies are telling people to stop feeding the raccoons that populate the city’s northern lakefront.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Fair's Food-A-Rama to be renamed Reisch Pavilion
The Food-A-Rama will have a new name and a clean new look for the 2020 Illinois State Fair thanks to a $10,000 sponsorship from Reisch Charities, Brewer of Reisch Gold Top Beer.  The funds will go toward fixing the pavilion's roof, sandblasting the metal support structure and a fresh coat of paint.  The sponsorship is good for one year, with the option of continuing the relationship after 2020.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Driver is imprisoned for 26th charge
A suburban Chicago man who has spent decades getting arrested and convicted of driving on a revoked license was sentenced Monday to six years in prison after his 26th charge for the crime.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Pritzker expected to consent to refugee resettlement
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he fully supports allowing refugees to resettle in Illinois and he is expected to sign a letter to the Trump administration to that effect in the coming days.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Manar to co-chair early childhood commission
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was today named co-chair of the Governor’s Commission for Equitable Funding for Early Childhood Education and Care by Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker. The commission will make recommendations on how to fund equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age 5.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

11 Illinois districts honored for Advanced Placement success
Eleven Illinois school districts have been honored for improving access to Advanced Placement courses and making gains on their exams, state education officials announced recently.
Monday, December 16, 2019

Springfield graduate program adds Chicago-based internships
A program that connects graduate students at the University of Illinois Springfield with internships in state government is expanding to include positions based in Chicago, leaders announced this month.

The director of the Graduate Public Service Internship Program said the expansion begins in August.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Chicago mayor fires longtime city spokesman
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fired a longtime city spokesman who worked for three mayors, a city spokeswoman confirmed Sunday.

Bill McCaffrey, who worked at City Hall for about 15 years, most recently served as chief spokesman for the city’s Law Department. Lightfoot’s office said in a statement emailed Sunday that McCaffrey was “fired for cause” Friday and declined to give an explanation.

Monday, December 16, 2019

DNR: Illinois hunters bagged 75K deer during 7-day fall hunt
Hunters took more than 75,000 deer during Illinois’ seven-day firearm hunting season this fall, according to preliminary totals compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

That number represents a 7% drop in the number of deer harvested from 2018, when nearly 81,000 deer were taken.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Authorities investigate car crash
Authorities are investigating after three people were killed in an early morning head-on crash in the northern Illinois city of Beach Park, authorities said Saturday.
Monday, December 16, 2019

Chicago teen fatally shot as she walked home from work
Chicago Police said Monday they were examining surveillance video but had not made any arrests in the weekend slaying of a 16-year-old girl who was shot in the head as she walked home from work on the city’s West Side.
Monday, December 16, 2019

Program addressing youth incarceration may grow

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A program that provides an alternative to incarceration for court-involved youth in Southern Illinois has reached a critical milestone.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Families served by DCFS to be provided free smoke detectors
DECATUR, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announced a new program to provide smoke alarms to families served by the department if they do not have a working smoke alarm in their home. Families served by DCFS may now request smoke alarms from their caseworker; and caseworkers will now have access to a supply of smoke alarms when visiting families.
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Illinis sues e-cigarette maker Juul over youth marketing
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has become the latest state to sue the country’s biggest e-cigarette maker, alleging in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Juul Labs Inc., used deceptive marketing practices to entice minors and misrepresented the amount of nicotine in its products.
Friday, December 13, 2019

State takes another step in selling Thompson Center
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials are inching closer to selling a downtown Chicago building that houses state government offices, announcing the selection Thursday of a project manager to oversee the sale.
Friday, December 13, 2019

US charges Army vet with threatening to shoot Congressman Davis
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A 64-year-old Army veteran has been charged in federal court with making a threatening communication against an Illinois congressman.
Friday, December 13, 2019

Chanukah menorah added to Capitol rotunda's holiday display
SPRINGFIELD — A Chanukah menorah was added to the holiday display in the Statehouse rotunda Friday, joining a holiday tree, nativity scene, satanic sculpture and Winter Solstice sign installed days earlier.
Friday, December 13, 2019

Irony? Chicago salt truck slides on ice into Lake Michigan
CHICAGO (AP) — Two Chicago Park District workers escaped without serious injury after the salt truck they were navigating along an icy lakefront bike path slid into Lake Michigan Wednesday morning.
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Architect: 'No excuse' not to add changing tables
SPRINGFIELD — A law mandating baby changing tables be installed in both men’s and women’s restrooms beginning Jan. 1 does not apply to the Illinois State Capitol Complex, but the buildings’ architect plans to add them to some facilities anyway. She said “there is no excuse” not to.
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Illinis school rule would ban secluded timeouts
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Education submitted its proposed rules Tuesday for how schools can restrain students who exhibit dangerous behavior, aiming to protect children and faculty from outbursts but banning the use of prone restraints and the practice of locking such students in timeout rooms all by themselves.
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Days before pot becomes legal, Chicago prosecutor to vacate 1,000 convictions
CHICAGO (AP) — The top prosecutor in Illinois’ largest county on Wednesday filed motions to vacate more than 1,000 low-level marijuana convictions, kicking off the process of clearing tens of thousands of convictions.
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Illinois approves two more marijuana cultivation centers, one in Shelbyville and one in Albion
Illinois has approved two more marijuana cultivation centers ahead of the start of legal recreational sales next year, officials announced Tuesday.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ACLU report finds several county courthouses not in compliance with breastfeeding area law
Illinois county courthouse compliance with a law requiring them to provide nursing mothers access to a private room has so far been “decidedly mixed,” an analysis found.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Illini beer sales greater than expected
Football fans have been thirstier than expected, University of Illinois athletic officials said.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Governor signs bill promoting diverse workforce on state's capital projects
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Tuesday aimed at ensuring minority workers have access to jobs created through the state’s new $45 billion capital improvements plan, as well as access to training for careers in construction and building trades.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Judge okays outpatient treatment for Capitol guard killer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A man who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of an unarmed security guard in Illinois was granted release from a secured state psychiatric hospital to a Chicago outpatient treatment center, a judge ruled after health professionals testified the man is mentally stable.
Monday, December 9, 2019

38 cars burn in 2 arson fires today in Chicago
Monday, December 9, 2019

Illinois jail inmate escapes delivering meals
MORRIS, Ill. (AP) — A man described described as a “model inmate” escaped Saturday from a county jail outside Chicago while helping deliver meals, authorities said.
Monday, December 9, 2019

Rapper dies after medical emergency in Chicago
Rapper Juice WRLD, who launched his career on SoundCloud before becoming a streaming juggernaut and rose to the top of the charts with the Sting-sampled hit “Lucid Dreams,” died early Sunday after a “medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.

The rapper, whose legal name was Jarad A. Higgins, was 21. Authorities have not released details about his cause of death.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Illinois prison guards face federal charges in inmate death
Three Illinois prison guards were arraigned in federal court Friday on charges of assault and civil rights violations in the May 2018 death of an inmate at Western Illinois Correctional Center.
Saturday, December 7, 2019

FAA seeks to fine Boeing $3.9 million for faulty jet parts
Safety regulators want to fine Boeing nearly $4 million, saying that the company installed critical wing parts on 133 planes  even though it knew the parts were faulty.
Saturday, December 7, 2019

U of Illinois drops criminal past question from application
Admissions applications to the University of Illinois campuses are no longer requiring students to disclose whether or not they have a criminal background.

A student-led coalition urged the university to remove questions about criminal and disciplinary history, saying it discouraged potential students from applying, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Chicago to spend $2.5 million to settle 2 lawsuits
The city of Chicago will spend $2.5 million to settle lawsuits filed over the deaths of two young people because of alleged police wrongdoing.

A $1.3 million settlement would go to the family of Tevin Jones-Rogers, 18, who died during an April 2017 police pursuit.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Survey collects travelers' opinions on highways
Illinois officials want travelers’ opinions on the state’s transportation system.
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Report: FBI agents, prosecutors ask questions about Madigan
The longest-serving state House speaker in modern American history is a subject of inquiries in an ongoing federal corruption investigation that has already entangled several top Illinois Democrats, according to a newspaper report published Thursday.
Friday, December 6, 2019

Illinois woman pleads guilty in beating death of her 5-year old son
An Illinois woman charged in the beating death of her 5-year-old son pleaded guilty to murder Thursday.

At a hearing in the McHenry County courthouse, JoAnn Cunningham, 36, entered her plea in the April slaying of Andrew “AJ” Freund. Prosecutors dropped other charges against her, according to the  Chicago Tribune. She faces 20 to 60 years in prison when she returns to court for sentencing. No date for sentencing was set.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Female officer recorded kissing CPD chief is transferred to another dept.
A female officer who was reportedly caught on video kissing then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson at a popular restaurant in October was transferred weeks later from his personal security detail to another role on the police force, a department spokesman said.
Friday, December 6, 2019

Davis votes to stop scam robo calls
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) votes for S. 151, the TRACED Act, to stop illegal robocalls that are scamming Americans. This bill overwhelmingly passed the House this week, passed the Senate 97-1, and is expected to be signed into law.

“Robocalls are not only annoying, but they are an avenue for fraud that targets seniors and many other Americans,” said Davis. “It’s now estimated that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones are fraudulent. Many of us have answered a call either on our cell or home phone from a local number only for it to be a scam. This is a new scam technique commonly referred to as ‘Neighborhood Spoofing.’ This legislation, drafted by both Republicans and Democrats, will give consumers more control and transparency over who is calling them and ensure that law enforcement and the FCC can go after the bad actors who break the law.”

Friday, December 6, 2019

More urgency needed on ethics reforms, Illinois Republican lawmakers say
A handful of Illinois House Republicans on Wednesday called for a special legislative session – or at least greater urgency in the upcoming regular session – to pass reforms to state ethics laws.

“How can this government possibly move forward with credibility without robust anti-corruption safeguards in place,” Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, asked during a Capitol news conference.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Illinoisians will face tighter rules for food stamps
The Trump administration is about to impose new regulations that would tighten eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, in a way state officials say could cut off benefits for an estimated 140,000 Illinoisans.
Thursday, December 5, 2019

No Lincoln artifacts auction; foundation extends debt
The foundation supporting the 16th president’s library and museum announced Wednesday it no longer needs to auction off a collection of more than 1,000 Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln artifacts.
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pritzker talks next phase of legalized marijuana rollout
One month before the scheduled rollout of legalized marijuana in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a follow-up bill to the initial reform Wednesday and took questions about the next phases of the implementation.

“It’s new territory, we’re seeing that in some of the cleanup that we’re doing in this bill,” said Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who sponsored the initial marijuana legalization measure.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Chicago police blame Facebook for gun, drug sales
Private Facebook groups have “emboldened” sellers of illegal drugs and guns to connect with potential buyers over the social media site, Chicago police said Tuesday, as leaders announced that a two-year undercover investigation led to more than 50 arrests.

Police leaders, including Chicago’s new interim superintendent, also accused Facebook of failing to help prevent illegal sales of guns. The social media company banned private sales, trades and exchanges of firearms in 2016, but investigators said they found dealers using private groups and messages to quickly sell firearms and drugs at prices higher than street values.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Beatification for Fulton Sheen delayed by Vatican
Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s journey to sainthood has been delayed as Vatican officials postponed this month’s scheduled beatification in Peoria.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria says in a news release Tuesday that Vatican officials postponed the ceremony that would have put Sheen one step from sainthood.

No reason was given why Sheen, ordained in Peoria in 1919 and who died in 1979, will not be beatified this month or why a “few members of the Bishop’s Conference asked for further consideration.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Officials anticipate smallest harvest in years
As the month of December arrived, many Illinois farmers were still working to harvest their corn and soybeans  the state's two largest field crops  and agriculture officials are anticipating one of the smallest harvests in recent years.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

ISBE amends rule to allow certain kinds of restraint
After receiving significant feedback from schools and advocates across the state, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) filed an amendment yesterday to its emergency rules that banned seclusion in Illinois schools and placed restrictions on the use of physical restraint.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Top cop: 'Didn't mean to deceive'
Ousted Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Tuesday that he didn’t “intentionally mislead or deceive” anyone about the mid-October night he was found sleeping behind the wheel of his SUV.
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Reports shed light on Chicago police chief's firing
Chicago’s fired police chief was having drinks with a woman for hours the mid-October night officers found him sleeping behind the wheel of his SUV, according to two newspapers citing unidentified sources.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

U of I system joins campaign against climate change
The University of Illinois has joined more than 200 higher-education institutions worldwide in a letter declaring a climate emergency ahead of a major United Nations global warming conference in Madrid.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

From nativity scene to satanic sculpture, rotunda has become focal point of state's religious debate
Seasonal decorations are filling the Illinois Capitol rotunda — a holiday tree, nativity scene, satanic sculpture and Winter Solstice sign surround the ever-present “Illinois Welcoming the World” statue in the center of the space.
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Man body-slammed by Chicago officer charged with battery
Bail was set at $5,000 Sunday for a 29-year-old man facing battery and other charges after a Chicago police officer body-slammed him onto a street during his arrest.

The charges against Bernard Kersh, including aggravated battery of an officer, stem from him spitting at and threatening the officer on Thanksgiving afternoon after police approached him at a South Side bus stop on suspicion of drinking alcohol in public, prosecutors said during a hearing Sunday.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Champaign charity for hungry, homeless faces deficit
A Champaign charity that aids the hungry and homeless is more than $270,000 in the hole as it enters the holiday season.
Monday, December 2, 2019

Parking tax would support building, hit private land
A tax on parking places to help finance Illinois’ $45 billion statewide construction plan has lawmakers taking a second look.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the tax takes effect Jan. 1. It’s 9% on spaces that are rented by the month or year. It’s 6% for spaces rented hourly, daily or weekly.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Lawyer: Teen charged in mom's killing involuntarily drugged
The attorney for a 17-year-old western Illinois girl accused of fatally shooting her mother says she wasn’t responsible for her actions because she was under the influence of a prescription antidepressant she was forced to take.
Monday, December 2, 2019

Big obstacles remain before Chicago gets long-awaited casino
CHICAGO (AP) — After years of pushing a Las Vegas-style casino to boost tourism and much-needed revenue, Chicago’s leaders seemingly hit the jackpot when Illinois lawmakers approved one as part of a massive gambling expansion.
Saturday, November 30, 2019

50,000 deer taken in first weekend, 15% drop
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials say hunters in Illinois took a total of 50,173 deer during the first weekend of the firearm season Nov. 22-24.
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Former Democratic campaign worker settles harassment suit
CHICAGO (AP) — A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has reached a $275,000 settlement to a federal lawsuit she filed against several of his political committees.
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Screening of gun violence initiative, discussion scheduled
CHICAGO (AP) — A screening of WTTW’s year-long initiative on gun violence and a discussion on the topic are scheduled for Wednesday.
Saturday, November 30, 2019

APL sets December pet adoptions
SPRINGFIELD — The Animal Protective League (APL) will hold several pet adoptions during September with cats and dogs available at various locations. All animals for adoption will be spayed or neutered, microchipped and have received all age appropriate vaccinations by the time of their adoption.
Saturday, November 30, 2019

Embattled state Sen. Martin Sandoval resigns
SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Martin Sandoval, whose Statehouse office was raided by federal agents in September, announced late Wednesday that he will step down from his seat effective Jan. 1.
Friday, November 29, 2019

Illinois residents raising concerns with sesame allergy bill
CHICAGO (AP) — A new Illinois law seeks to protect both adults and children with sesame allergies, but critics argue it gives families a false sense of safety.
Friday, November 29, 2019

State troopers rush heart to hospital for transplant
CHICAGO (AP) — A heart transplant recipient is recovering nicely thanks to his doctors and nurses. And two Illinois State Police troopers.
Friday, November 29, 2019

Twinkle,twinkle Capitol dome? Maybe, maybe not.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Holiday lights won’t be strung up on the Capitol dome in Springfield for a while and possibly not at all this year.
Friday, November 29, 2019

Embattled state Sen. Martin Sandoval resigns
SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Martin Sandoval, whose Statehouse office was raided by federal agents in September, announced late Wednesday that he will step down from his seat effective Jan. 1.
Friday, November 29, 2019

Live Animals from Wildlife Prairie Park at Dickson Mounds Tot Time December 5
LEWISTOWN — We may know that humans hear with their ears, but what about a grasshopper that hears with its knees? “Sense-ational World” is the theme of Dickson Mounds Museum’s Tot Time on Thursday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m. The program, presented by Wildlife Prairie Park, is an introduction to the senses, featuring live animals.
Friday, November 29, 2019

No cash? No problem, Salvation Army offers option
Carolyn Harper made her pitch for donations to the Salvation Army with a smile on her face and a bell in her hand, trying to convince shoppers along Chicago’s busy Michigan Avenue that there was “no line, no wait.”

Despite her prodding, half a dozen people apologetically explained they had no cash to drop into the bright red kettle. Most passed on before Harper could explain there’s a new way to donate to the classic fundraising campaign this year: with a smartphone.

Heather Bishop, 35, was among those who did wait to hear about the non-cash option. She quickly completed her electronic donation while keeping an eye on her two young children after a stop at the American Girl store.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Burke on being 3rd female chief justice: It's pretty awesome
Since the state’s highest court began meeting 200 years ago, 121 justices have served as its leader. Three of those are women.

Anne Burke began her term as the Illinois Supreme Court’s chief justice on Oct. 26.

She earned her legal degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1983, when she was 39, after working as a physical education teacher and helping found the Chicago Special Olympics.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cavalier lending of priceless artifact lead to former director's ouster at Abraham Lincoln Museum
Just eight days after a nonprofit organization founded by conservative commentator Glenn Beck requested it be lent a priceless, handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address to display at a “pop-up” museum in Dallas, Texas, the staff at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum had the document packed and ready to move.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Supreme Court won't review Illinois murder law
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal challenging a controversial state law that allows someone to be convicted of murder if a death occurs during the commission of another forcible felony, even if it is caused by someone else.

The ruling means the Illinois law still stands, although at least two bills have been introduced in the state General Assembly to narrow how it’s applied.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Pritzker vetoes retroactive tax break for private jet parts in spite of support
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday vetoed a bill that would have provided a sales tax exemption on the sale of private jet parts and components retroactive to 2010 and continuing through 2024.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Nearly 20,000 lbs. of narcotics seized in Midwest ports in '18
Officials say nearly 20,000 pounds of narcotics were seized at ports of entry last year in 12 Midwestern states, including Illinois and Indiana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced recently that its Chicago field office, which covers the 12 states, had the most narcotics seizures for the second year in a row of any other field office. The agency’s data is from Oct. 1, 2018 to September 30 of this year. In total, there are 20 field offices.

Monday, November 25, 2019

State Fire Marshal offers safety information for holidays
Thanksgiving has arrived and that means many people will be working overtime in their kitchens. According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 166,100 home fires per year involving cooking equipment. Thanksgiving is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment, with four times the average number occurring. Ranges and cook-tops account for almost three out of every five home fires reported involving cooking, with ovens accounting for 13% of those fires.
Monday, November 25, 2019

Woman falls 7 stories to her death in Water Tower Place
Chicago police say a 65-year-old woman has fallen seven stories to her death inside Water Tower Place.
Monday, November 25, 2019

School board group won't support arming teachers
A group representing Illinois school boards has again rejected a resolution supporting teachers and other school employees carrying guns in schools.

The Illinois Association of School Boards voted against the measure Saturday during an annual convention. It’s the second consecutive year the group has rejected such a proposal.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Review of public universities finds more students seeking mental health services and facing long wait
More college students are turning to their schools for help with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, and many must wait weeks for treatment or find help elsewhere as campus clinics struggle to meet demand, an Associated Press review of more than three dozen public universities found.
Monday, November 25, 2019

Hazing: Ex-player sues Illinois school
A former player is suing his northern Illinois high school, its football coaches, administrators and a former teammate over alleged hazing, including an incident in which he and other players were forced to run naked across a field.
Saturday, November 23, 2019

Illinois spending $2.39 per resident on decennial census outreach effort
With less than a month and a half remaining until the new year begins, most states have put together what’s known as a “complete count committee” that organizes efforts statewide to get people to participate in the 2020 Census.

However, a handful of states — Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas — are lacking these state-sponsored committees.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Uses found for closed central Illinois churches
Jim Gortner bought the St. Philomena Catholic Church in Monticello 25 years ago with the idea to move his framing business inside. Fourteen years later, the main floor became a spot for sipping a cup of joe. The Steeple Coffee House and Gallery was born.

“It was sitting vacant; the price was right,“ Gortner said. “My wife thought we could do some really neat things with it.“

Across the region, former houses of worship have been saved from demolition and repurposed for less pious purposes. Spaces for weddings, Masses and baptisms are now places to crack cold ones, eat meals, hear live music or even stay overnight.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Illinois delegation split on impeachment
Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Friday that he believes there was "strong evidence" presented in the House hearings this week to warrant the impeachment of President Donald Trump, but two of his Illinois Republican colleagues in the House strongly disagreed.

Durbin, along with U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood (R-18th) and Rodney Davis (R-13th) were in Springfield on Friday to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony with Gov. J.B. Pritzker for a local project being funded through the recently-passed $45 billion capital improvements package. They spoke with reporters afterward.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

About 15,000 same-sex couples wed in Cook County since equality law
Nearly 15,000 same-sex couples have wed in Cook County since Illinois legalized marriage equality six years ago, an achievement advocates and elected officials celebrated this week.

Then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed the marriage equality law in 2013, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all states must allow same-sex unions.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Shopping malls cut back Black Friday all-nighters
Black Friday at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg will start less than an hour before sunrise this year, ending the mall’s recent run of all-night marathons to kick off the holiday shopping season.

The decision to scale back hours is part of a growing trend among retail centers, mall owners and retail industry experts say.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Inspector general recommended firing museum head
Illinois’ inspector general recommended firing the director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum because a copy of the Gettysburg Address was loaned last year to an upstart museum operated by political pundit Glenn Beck.
Saturday, November 23, 2019

Illinois reporting 5th vaping related death
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the death of a fifth Illinois resident who had recently been hospitalized with lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products (EVALI).  At this time, a total of 187 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 13 to 75 years old, with a median age of 22, have experienced lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping.  IDPH continues to work with local health departments to investigate another 40 possible cases in Illinois.
Friday, November 22, 2019

State could net $380M with tax fix
Lawmakers passed a legislative fix during the recently adjourned fall veto session which proponents say could help the state realize $380 million in annual tax revenue by increasing compliance with existing online retail transaction tax laws.

Supporters say the new law will ensure the state’s full 6.25 percent sales tax rate and any locally-imposed taxes will be collected at the point of destination on sales made through online marketplaces or by remote retailers that do a certain amount of business in the state.

Friday, November 22, 2019

CDC to review air pollution near East St. Louis
Federal health officials are reviewing whether toxic emissions from a downstate hazardous waste incinerator pose health risks to surrounding residents, according to an official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The assessment comes amid a more than decade-long battle between the owner of the Veolia North America plant in Sauget, just outside of St. Louis, and environmental groups representing nearby residents seeking increased monitoring of airborne metals from the incinerator’s three smoke stacks.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Illinois State Board of Education seeking public input on student testing
State education officials are seeking public input on potential significant changes to the annual reading and math tests students take each year.

The Illinois State Board of Education announced Thursday it has launched an online survey to get feedback about how to make those tests “more useful, inclusive, equitable and balanced.”

“I began my tenure as state superintendent with a commitment to improving Illinois’ state assessments based on feedback from the field,” State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said in a news release. “As a former teacher and district administrator, I know the importance of high-quality assessments that help us understand students’ mastery of the learning standards and tailor instruction to meet students’ needs.”

Friday, November 22, 2019

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down social media ban for sex offenders
Illinois’ highest court ruled Thursday that it is unconstitutional to ban convicted sex offenders from social media sites.

Conrad Allen Morger was convicted of sexually abusing a minor and sentenced to four years of probation by a court in McLean County. That came with a binding condition he not use specific internet sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Friday, November 22, 2019

State to end use of Isolation seclusion in Illinois schools
The state’s board of education announced emergency rule changes Wednesday in response to a news story which detailed an overuse of “isolation rooms” in several Illinois public school districts, including those serving students with special education needs.

That news investigation, published by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Tuesday, analyzed thousands of pages of records from Illinois schools which showed “every school day, workers isolate children for reasons that violate the law.”

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Gov announces funding for nursing simulation lab
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the release of funding for a Chicago State University nursing simulation laboratory at a news conference on the university’s campus Wednesday.
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Illinois mother and child found dead in car in pond
Police in suburban St. Louis are investigating after a woman and her young son were found dead inside a vehicle that drove into a pond.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the victims were inside a car submerged in about 10 feet of water near Roxana, Illinois. Madison County Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Koberna says the vehicle was pulled from the water early Wednesday after a witness reported seeing headlights bobbing in the pond.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bill would cut off lawmakers pay the day they leave
A measure preventing lawmakers from receiving pay for days they did not hold office has remained in legislative limbo since its introduction in January. Its sponsor said the “simple, commonsense” fix is necessary to address the General Assembly’s “culture.”

Representatives and senators are paid in 12 equal disbursements on the last working day of each month. Currently, the statute allows legislators to collect a full month’s salary as long as they hold office at least part of that period, meaning a lawmaker can receive a full month’s pay for working just one day.

Springfield Republican Rep. Mike Murphy’s bill proposes to end that “pay benefit,” he said, and conform the legislature’s salary structure to one akin to the private sector’s.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Parents are angry after young students are taught to open child-proof bottles
Parents of students at a northern Illinois elementary school are angry after an older student led an experiment that asked their children to open child-proof medicine bottles.

Parents were not told in advance about Friday’s project at Leland Elementary School in LaSalle County. On Sunday, the principal and Leland School District Superintendent Jodi Moore sent parents a letter saying that a junior high school student had worked with some kindergartners and first graders “to gather data for a science fair project.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

AMA calls for total ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products
The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.

The group adopted the sweeping stance at a policy-making meeting in San Diego. It aims to lobby for state and federal laws, regulations or legal action to achieve a ban, but the industry is sure to fight back.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Foxx: 'Truth is, I didn't handle it well.'
A prosecutor who came under harsh criticism when her office suddenly dropped charges against actor Jussie Smollett and is now the subject of a court-ordered investigation announced Tuesday she is running for reelection.

In her news release saying she’s seeking the position again, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed the Smollett case and the furor over the handling of it. The actor was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself earlier this year in Chicago while in the city filming the television series “Empire.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Smollett calls Chicago prosecution malicious
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett says his $10,000 payment after the close of a criminal case should prevent Chicago from seeking reimbursement for a police investigation of his claim that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Chicago cop and teen are wounded, suspect killed in shootout
Authorities say a suspected bank robber shot a Chicago police officer in the head, badly wounding him, before another officer killed the suspect in a shootout in which a teenage bystander was wounded.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference late Tuesday that the chaotic chain of events began hours earlier when two men robbed a bank in the suburb of Des Plaines.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Derailment disrupts Amtrak service
BNSF railway officials expect to have tracks cleared by early Wednesday after a train derailment in West Quincy.

Railway spokesman Andy Williams says 12 cars on the 70-car train derailed early Tuesday in West Quincy. Five of the cars ended up on their sides.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Illinois' busiest hunting season begins this Friday
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding hunters to make safety their first priority as they head to the field for the state's firearm deer, upland game, waterfowl and other busy hunting seasons.

"We want hunters to enjoy all the opportunities available here in Illinois, with hopes for a safe and successful hunting season this fall," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan. "While we enjoy and celebrate Illinois' hunting heritage, we want everyone – from experienced, veteran hunters to those who may be new to hunting – to always think safety first."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

32,000 Illinoisians save $8.5M in 1st year of program
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Monday continued to promote a new state program which he says is a first step to alleviating a nationwide “retirement crisis.”

At a Chicago news conference, Frerichs said more than 32,000 Illinoisans have saved more than $8.5 million for their retirement as part of Illinois Secure Choice, a program which has been implemented in the past year after it was created by state law in 2015.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Illinois prosecutor announces bid for re-election
The top prosecutor in Cook County, Illinois, who was harshly criticized when her office suddenly dropped charges against actor Jussie Smollett, says she’s running for re-election.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says in a Tuesday news release she hopes to continue reforming the criminal justice system in the county including Chicago that she began implementing when she was elected in 2016.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Annual Christmas open house at historic site
The oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois is putting on its best holiday duds and throwing its doors open to the public the evening of Saturday, December 14 for candlelight tours as part of the annual Vandalia Statehouse Christmas Open House. The first 100 families to visit will receive free Christmas ornaments.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Health economist addresses devastating financial costs of cancer
Personal experience led a health economist from the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria to bring attention to the overwhelming financial burden that accompanies cancer.

Carl Asche, director of the Center for Outcomes Research at UICOMP lost his wife to cancer in 2017. Karmen Kirkness Asche fought cancer for more than two years before her death in 2017. The difficult experience was also exceedingly expensive. Carl Asche said it was only through good fortune and careful management that he does not suffer from financial toxicity today. He knows that many people are not as fortunate.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Astronaut, NBA star, singer among Order of Lincoln honorees
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has named recipients of the 2020 Order of Lincoln. It is the state’s highest honor for professional achievement and public service.
Monday, November 18, 2019

FEMA upheld Illinois decision to deny individual assistance
A federal agency upheld its decision to deny financial assistance to Illinois residents and business owners affected by historic flooding despite granting the state public aid.
Monday, November 18, 2019

Judge tosses excessive force lawsuit in homeless man's death
A judge has dismissed an excessive force lawsuit brought by the family of a central Illinois homeless man who died in 2016 after police restrained him.
Monday, November 18, 2019

$10M trail connecting 2 southwest Illinois counties opens after 15 years
A $10 million pedestrian trail connecting two southwest Illinois counties has opened after 15 years of planning.
Monday, November 18, 2019

100 guns turned in at St. Sabina buyback program in Chicago
A gun buyback program at St. Sabina Church in Chicago produced at least 100 firearms.
Monday, November 18, 2019

Chicago-area college student arrested for guns in SUV
A judge has denied bail to a Chicago-area college student who was charged after police found six guns in his SUV in a campus parking lot.
Monday, November 18, 2019

4 people die in crash after high school football game
Police say four people, including two teenagers, have died in a head-on crash after an Illinois high school football game.
Monday, November 18, 2019

During veto session, clock runs out on time change
SPRINGFIELD — The adjournment of the fall veto session Thursday night means a number of bills that failed to pass both chambers this week must wait for further action when the General Assembly returns on Jan. 28.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Chicago teachers okay contract that ended strike
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago teachers on Friday approved the contract deal that ended an 11-day strike and includes pay raises, $35 million to enforce limits on class sizes and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Foster parents, ACLU resist state Medicaid change
CHICAGO (AP) — Foster parents and child care advocates are resisting a new Illinois Medicaid health care plan that is set to roll out next year, questioning whether it will adequately serve the needs of foster children.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

'Black Hawk Down' hero, Illinois native, dies
DURAND, Ill. (AP) — A Durand native whose courageous combat was illuminated in the book “Black Hawk Down” has died.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Unemployment rate remains at historical low in October
Saturday, November 16, 2019

UIS waives application fees for new terms
SPRINGFIELD — The University of Illinois Springfield is waiving all application fees for prospective students in an effort to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to pursue a higher education.
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Ethics commission, watered down disclosure bill headed to the governor
SPRINGFIELD – A pair of ethics reform bills passed both chambers Thursday at the Illinois Statehouse despite claims from Republicans that the measures were watered down, partisan and diversionary.
Friday, November 15, 2019

Gov says he'll sign amended insulin price cap bill
SPRINGFIELD — A cap on prescription insulin costs for some health insurance plans is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said Thursday he looks forward to signing the measure.
Friday, November 15, 2019

4th Illinois resident dies after vaping related lung injury
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the death of a fourth Illinois resident who had recently been hospitalized with lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products (EVALI). At this time, a total of 179 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 13 to 75 years old, with a median age of 22, have experienced lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping. IDPH continues to work with local health departments to investigate another 41 possible cases in Illinois.
Friday, November 15, 2019

Senate President Cullerton to retire
SPRINGFIELD — Senate President John Cullerton will resign from the General Assembly sometime in January, he told his caucus in a meeting after the fall veto session concluded Thursday.
Friday, November 15, 2019

After 7 decades pension consolidation passes
SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker thanked lawmakers Thursday for passing legislation to address an issue that has eluded the General Assembly for nearly seven decades – consolidating hundreds of suburban and downstate police and firefighter pensions into two unified systems.
Friday, November 15, 2019









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