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home : news : state news free February 24, 2020

Needle exchange expanded for southern Illinois drug users
From 2011 to 2015, a small pocket of rural Indiana became a hotbed for HIV.

Over 200 new infections were reported in Scott County, an area of about 4,200 people, the great majority transmitted between intravenous drug users. Hepatitis C spread rapidly, too.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Judge freezes Chicago ordinance on free speech grounds
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge this week blocked the city of Chicago from enforcing an ordinance that restricts religious groups from evangelizing and others from campaigning in the downtown Millennium Park on grounds it may violate free-speech protections.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

4 injured in train derailment in Chicago Saturday
CHICAGO (AP) — A South Shore Line train derailed Saturday morning while entering Millennium Station, injuring four people.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Toxic chemicals may have leaked from Scott AFB
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Cancer-causing chemicals used over the years at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois may have leaked into local water supplies, according to a report from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Officials warn of dentistry scam calls
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State regulators are warning consumers about a telephone scam in which the caller claims to be from the Illinois Board of Dentistry.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

New exhibits installed at Lincoln sites
SPRINGFIELD — Exhibits have been installed at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site Visitor Center and inside one of the historic neighborhood homes. Lincoln-era toys, games and school activities highlight exhibits in the Visitor Center at 426 South Seventh Street.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Riverton police officer charged after head butting suspect
RIVERTON, Ill. (AP) — A police officer in the central Illinois community of Riverton has been charged with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct after he allegedly head-butted a drunken driving suspect, officials said.
Friday, February 21, 2020

'Starved Rock Killer' freed after decades in prison
PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An 80-year-old man who spent nearly 60 years in prison after being convicted of killing one of three suburban Chicago women whose brutalized bodies were found in a state park walked out of prison today.
Friday, February 21, 2020

GOP says tying funding to tax vote is shameful
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Republicans on Thursday called it “shameful” that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is floating a budget plan that ties more than 40% of promised education funding to voter approval of his coveted tax-structure overhaul.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Governor's plan linked to passage of amendment
SPRINGFIELD — One day after delivering his budget proposal to the General Assembly in Springfield, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker was in Chicago on Thursday rounding up support for his proposed increases in higher education funding.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Brian Urlacher's brother charged in gambling ring
CHICAGO (AP) — The brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher and nine others, including a police officer, have been charged with operating an offshore sports gambling business, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
Friday, February 21, 2020

TV analyst? Spokesman? Freed ex-gov goes job hunting
CHICAGO (AP) — Job wanted: Ex-governor and ex-con with strong speaking skills and good hair seeking employment.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Bills adding e-cigarettes, sexting risks to school curriculum pass House committee
Two bills that would add the risks of e-cigarette use and sexting to public school curriculum will head to the full Illinois House of Representatives after unanimously passing a committee Wednesday.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Views differ on Pritzker's graduated tax-dependent budget plan
Illinois’ chief fiscal and investment officers lauded the economic opportunities afforded if voters approve Gov. JB Pritzker’s “fair tax” proposal in November. But several Republican lawmakers said they objected to the governor’s plan, outlined in his annual budget address Wednesday, to cut spending in several key areas if the constitutional amendment fails to pass.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Blagojevich praises Trump from Chicago home after release
Former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich gushed about Donald Trump Wednesday, a day after the Republican president commuted his sentence for political corruption.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Lawmakers take aim at plastic pollution with package of bills
In an effort to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution, a group of state lawmakers from both legislative chambers touted a series of bills Tuesday that would tax or ban single-use plastics and aim to boost recycling.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Little support in Springfield for Blagojevich release
There was little support Tuesday at the former stomping grounds of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the remaining years of the disgraced former Democratic governor’s 14-year corruption sentence.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

2 new Legionnaires' cases reported at center where 1 died
Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a suburban Chicago senior living center, bringing the outbreak’s total cases to five, including one previous fatal case, health officials said Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

House Republicans say bipartisan effort should lead budgeting process
One day before Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address, House Republican lawmakers called for another “inclusive” and “bipartisan” effort at adopting a state budget without new taxes.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EPA orders cleanup of zinc smelter site in DePue, Illinois
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order to those responsible to clean up contaminated soil at a site near the northern Illinois town of DePue, where a zinc smelter and fertilizer plant was once located, it was announced Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

House Republicans want DCFS reforms ahead of funding increase
A group of Republican lawmakers said Tuesday they want to see internal reforms at the Department of Children and Family Services in addition to the increased funding that Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to propose.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

SIU Medical School to pilot state prison health care
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will provide health care at two state prisons in a test that could expand statewide and which could provide answers for a troubled, $180 million-a-year medical program for 40,000 inmates, officials said Monday.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Illinois State president creates role focused on diversity
Illinois State University’s president has created a new position focused on diversity and inclusion on campus.

President Larry Dietz appointed Doris Houston as the university’s first assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, The Pantagraph reported. Houston is currently the interim director of the university’s School of Social Work and she called the new role a natural fit with her background,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Professor suspended for calling police on student
A white professor at an Indiana university who called police to his classroom after a black student refused to change seats will not be teaching for the remainder of the semester, the school said in a written statement.

No formal charges or disciplinary action was immediately taken against Ball State University marketing professor Shaheen Borna and he continued to teach after the classroom incident Jan. 21, The Star Press reported, despite  campus protests.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Chicago officials: 200K efficient LED streetlights in place
Chicago’s streets are now being illuminated by 200,000 LED streetlights that will significantly reduce the city’s electricity bills, transportation officials announced Monday.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation is aiming to install 270,000 LED streetlights by 2021, replacing high pressure sodium lights that officials said are less efficient. The city estimates the change will cut electricity costs by $100 million during the program’s first decade.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

State accepting nominees for volunteer service awards
Illinois officials are accepting nominations for volunteer service awards aimed at highlighting the importance of community service by individuals and businesses.

The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service will be taking nominations until  Feb. 21. The commission is a 40-member bipartisan group appointed by the governor.

Monday, February 17, 2020

State police director backs FOID fingerprinting
The Illinois State Police director said this week that his department has stepped up illegal firearm ownership enforcement methods, but it needs greater resources to continue the job — including fingerprints of Firearm Owner Identification Card applicants.

During a news conference Thursday, ISP Director Brendan Kelly gave an update about enforcement efforts and announced support for Senate Bill 1966, a measure that would increase FOID card fees and mandate fingerprinting of applicants.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Lawmakers renew college athlete endorsement push
One month ahead of the tipoff of March Madness, Illinois lawmakers – backed by a pair of NBA brothers – are renewing a push to allow college athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness.

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch called a Chicago news conference Friday to push for his Student Athlete Endorsement Act, or House Bill 3904, which is awaiting a vote in the Illinois Senate.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Parents allege daughter sexually assaulted at recess
The parents of a 6-year-old southern Illinois girl are suing local school officials, alleging that their daughter was sexually assaulted by another kindergartner during recess.
Monday, February 17, 2020

Illinois man, 80, set for release in 1960 triple-killing
An 80-year-old man is set to be released from an Illinois prison this week, nearly six decades after he was sentenced to life for the killing of one of three suburban Chicago women whose brutalized bodies were found in a state park.
Monday, February 17, 2020

Reworked charges in Chicago cite another R. Kelly accuser
An updated federal indictment against R. Kelly unsealed Friday in Chicago includes sex abuse allegations involving a new accuser, adding to the jailed singer’s mounting legal challenges across three states.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Locals asked to reach into wallets to protect Kankakee River
In an effort to greatly expand the district charged with protecting the Kankakee River, a large percentage of county voters residing less than a mile from the river’s banks, will be asked to tax themselves.

The citizen-initiated referendum, commonly called a back-door referendum, seeking approval for the tax — which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $24 a year — will be on the March 17 primary ballot.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

6 wounded in shooting at Chicago apartment complex
Six people, including three minors, were wounded in a shooting at an apartment complex on Chicago’s South Side, police said.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Young boy, woman die after suburban Chicago house fire
A suburban Chicago house fire early Friday killed a young boy and a 57-year-old woman, authorities said.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Officials hope to name new SIU Carbondale leader by April
Officials hope to name a new chancellor to lead the Southern Illinois University Carbondale by spring.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Dancing for a good cause is good for a businessman
Darek Lambert didn’t mind doing a little dancing on Feb. 7 for a good cause.

Lambert and his partner Sara Deters took the stage for a disco-themed number, complete with “a lot of pointing up and around“ and some “crazy“ moves, during the 10th annual Dancing with Local Stars event.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Redistricting reform gets bipartisan push
A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers and advocacy groups announced an effort in both chambers Thursday to overhaul the way Illinois’ legislative districts are drawn.

Legislators from Chicago, its suburbs and downstate are backing a state constitutional amendment — twin measures in the Senate and House — shifting district mapmaking power from politicians to a 17-person commission whose members would be representative of state demographics.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Experts: Flu poses greater risk than Coronavirus here
Illnesses and deaths associated with the novel coronavirus are growing worldwide, but medical experts in Springfield say influenza continues to pose a much greater risk to the public in central Illinois and the rest of the United States.

There’s no vaccine yet for coronavirus, which so far has infected 12 people and resulted in no deaths in the United States.

Friday, February 14, 2020

1 year after shooting ISP pushes hike in gun fees
In the year since five workers died in a suburban Chicago warehouse shooting, state officials have beefed up illegal firearms enforcement efforts, including the first-ever operations by state authorities to confiscate weapons from those whose gun permits are invalid, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said Thursday.
Friday, February 14, 2020

Sentencing reform conversation begins to take shape
Criminal justice reform is high on Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s agenda this year, but a legislative committee hearing Thursday in Chicago showed that reform advocates and the law enforcement community have widely differing views on the issue.

In January, Pritzker said ending cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences would be among his top priorities during the 2020 session, and those two subjects were the focus of Thursday’s hearings.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Black EIU swimmer sues Illinois police over false arrest
Illinois police officers wrongfully arrested, detained and threatened to shoot a black college athlete while pointing a gun to his forehead at a rest stop as he traveled with the school’s swim team, a civil rights group contends in a lawsuit.
Friday, February 14, 2020

Newspaper publisher files for bankruptcy
The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country, including the Belleville News-Democrat in Belleville, Illinois, is filing for bankruptcy protection.

McClatchy Co.’s 30 newsrooms, including The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer in Raleigh, and The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, will continue to operate as usual as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Casino developer sues gaming board
A video gambling operator who was denied approval to open a casino-racetrack near Chicago is suing the Illinois Gaming Board, alleging that one of its employees illegally accessed sensitive information about him and his company and leaked it to three federal agencies.
Thursday, February 13, 2020

State releases $500 million for technology network
Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday touted statewide benefits he said will result from a $500 million state investment in 15 hubs of a University of Illinois-led public-private research institute network.
Thursday, February 13, 2020

IEA report says Illinoisans give schools a low grade
The Illinois Education Association on Tuesday released a report that shows Illinoisans do not have a high regard for public schools outside their own communities.

The association indicates in its State of Education report that 1,000 Illinois residents taking part in a poll gave a grade of “C-“ to public schools, although they gave their local public schools an “A” or “B” grade. The report indicates more than half of those polled believe teachers are paid too little. Many also said they wouldn’t advise family members to become teachers. There are about 2,560 teacher positions open in Illinois.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Asian carp roundup on Ky. Lake like a cattle drive
Like a slow-motion, underwater cattle drive, wildlife officials in a half-dozen aluminum boats used pulses of electricity and sound on a recent gray morning to herd schools of Asian carp toward 1,000-foot-long nets.

The ongoing roundup on wind-rippled Kentucky Lake opens a new front in a 15-year battle to halt the advance of the invasive carp, which threaten to upend aquatic ecosystems, starve out native fish and wipe out endangered mussel and snail populations along the Mississippi River and dozens of tributaries.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

AG Raoul tells EPA to bolster ethylene oxide rules
Illinois’ top lawyer has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact more rigorous ethylene oxide emissions standards in the wake of public pressure on the General Assembly to consider stricter regulations.

More than 70 lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics, a medical supply sterilization company in suburban Willowbrook, claiming exposure to the gas caused serious health problems. That company closed its doors in Illinois last year after facing intense public backlash.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Illinois can now do in-state testing for new virus
The Illinois Department of Public Health now has the ability to test for the 2019 novel coronavirus in-state, meaning shorter wait times for test results for people showing symptoms of the virus and meeting certain criteria.

IDPH said in a news release Tuesday that Illinois is the first state to be able to do the testing without shipping specimens out of state, and results are typically available within 24 hours.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Voter registration error in Illinios could mean deportation, criminal charges for some
The day Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick applied for an Illinois driver’s license upended her life. When a clerk offered to register her to vote in 2005, the Peruvian citizen mistakenly accepted, leading to long legal battles and eventually deportation.

A decade and a half later, she struggles to find work at 52, is nearly homeless and hasn’t seen two of her three American citizen daughters in years because of a secretary of state’s office mishap.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

NFL kicker turned Illinois high court justice to retire
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas, a former placekicker with the Chicago Bears, will retire from his seat on the bench effective Feb. 29.

He plans to join the Chicago-based Power Rogers law firm, which successfully represented him in a defamation suit against the Kane County Chronicle in 2006.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Last weekend Chicago's deadliest of the year so far
Chicago recorded nine homicides between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, a weekend police said was the deadliest of the year for a city that has seen the number of fatal shootings surge this year after a previous decline.

Twenty-three people were killed or injured in shootings during the period, nearly four times as many as during the same time a year ago, police said.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Fetal remains tied to abortion doctor to be buried
More than 2,400 sets of fetal remains found last year in the Illinois garage and a car of a late Indiana abortion doctor will be buried Wednesday at a northern Indiana cemetery.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Western Illinois to offer minor in cannabis growing
The art of growing cannabis will become a minor subject at Western Illinois University in the fall, school officials announced Monday.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Unique Illinois privacy law leads to $550M Facebook deal
Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are among millions of people who have been tagged in Facebook photos at some point in the past decade, sometimes at the suggestion of an automated tagging feature powered by facial recognition technology.

It was their Illinois addresses, though, that put the trio’s names atop a lawsuit that Facebook recently agreed to settle for $550 million, which could lead to payouts of a couple hundred dollars to several million Illinois users of the social networking site.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Four, including three teens, charged in store owner's death
An adult and three teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Chicago convenience store owner during an armed robbery, authorities said Sunday.
Monday, February 10, 2020

Chicago police officer guns down armed man early Sunday
A Chicago police officer shot to death an armed man after the person allegedly wounded a person in shooting outside a North Side bar, authorities said Sunday.
Monday, February 10, 2020

New cruise ship scheduled to visit Great Lakes in 2022
A cruise ship currently being built in Norway is scheduled to visit the Great Lakes, including a stop at Traverse City in northern Michigan eight times in 2022.
Monday, February 10, 2020

Treasurer Frerichs awarded ESGR Patriot Award for commitment to Illinois Veterans
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs was presented today the Patriot Award for his commitment to military service member employees.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

State extends hours for medical marijuana
CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted medical cannabis dispensing organizations the ability to remain open until 10 p.m. to make medical cannabis sales. The Department provided additional guidance to dispensaries that have both a medical and adult use license to ensure they prioritize serving medical cannabis patients as required by state law.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch plans to retire this year
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The leader of the University of Illinois Springfield plans to retire this year.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

Virtual classroom provides rural opportunities
CAMPBELL HILL, Ill. (AP) — “Trico, do you have the worksheet?”
Their microphone muted, students Shealee Swisher and Jasmine Serr silently raise a thumbs-up to the webcam before them.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Man hopes thrift-store urn filled with ashes finds home
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A thrift-store find in Illinois has prompted its buyer to find the person to whom it rightfully belongs — and might not know it’s even gone.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

IDFPR expands ability of medical cannabis dispensaries to serve and prioritize patients
CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted medical cannabis dispensing organizations the ability to remain open until 10 p.m. to make medical cannabis sales.
Friday, February 7, 2020

'Fox guarding hen house' in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – All three people who have held the position of legislative inspector general in Illinois told a joint ethics panel Thursday the office needs more independence to police the General Assembly and maintain the public’s confidence in the process.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Man body-slammed by police sues Chicago, officer
CHICAGO (AP) — A 29-year-old man who was knocked unconscious when a Chicago police officer body slammed him onto a street curb sued the city and the officer on Thursday, saying the officer should have known the maneuver was dangerous because he is trained in martial arts.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Chicago fire marshal convicted on federal charges
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago Fire Department marshal was convicted on federal charges of depositing around $350,000 in less than $10,000 increments at different financial institutions to evade banking-reporting requirements, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said Thursday.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Singers invited to participate in choir
MATTOON — Does the cold and snowy weather have you singing the blues? It’s time to change your tune by joining the choir! Preparation for the spring season of the Lake Land College Community Choir began this week. Rehearsals are held on Tuesday nights in the Lake Land College Theater from 7-9:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Committee presses for answers on voter registration
A programming error in Illinois’ automatic voter registration system that mistakenly enrolled more than 500 people was a “wakeup call,” the state’s top elections official said Wednesday.

One string of code among 8.5 million others controlling the “hundreds of functions” of the secretary of state’s office resulted in 574 people who identified themselves as non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote, the agency’s senior legal advisor, Nathan Maddox, said.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Senate deals Governor Pritzker first veto override
Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker was dealt his first veto override Wednesday when the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that retroactively extends a sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and equipment.

House Bill 3902 passed the General Assembly during the 2019 fall veto session. It reinstates a tax break that was in place starting in 2010, but which was allowed to expire in 2015 without state tax officials or other public bodies taking note.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Reporter's Notebook: Gov touches on election security, Illinois primaries , more
Gov. JB Pritzker took questions on elections, the possibility of Illinois moving up in the presidential primaries pecking order and the Freedom of Information Act on Wednesday during an unrelated news conference.
Thursday, February 6, 2020

1 dead, 2 sick from Legionnaires' at senior center
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a senior living center in suburban Chicago has left one resident dead and two others sickened, health officials said Wednesday.

The Lake County Health Department said in a news release that it has confirmed three cases of the disease, a type of severe pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, at Brookdale Senior Living in Vernon Hills. The release says staffers at the facility were notifying residents and others who may have been exposed to the bacteria and were working with state and county health departments to determine “potential sources of contamination.”

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gun rights groups sue ISP for FOID delays
A pair of gun rights advocacy groups are suing the Illinois State Police, its director and the chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau for “not acting in a timely manner on Firearm Owner Identification card and concealed carry applications.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging violations of Second Amendment rights.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Madigan defends handling of misconduct probe
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on Tuesday defended his office’s handling of a sexual misconduct investigation into former Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks.

The allegations against Franks date back to 2016, and Madigan said his actions were designed to protect an employee of the speaker’s office.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

'Major flaws' as state transitions DCFS child care
An estimated 2,500 children and young adults in Illinois who had been in the custody of the state’s foster care system within the last year abruptly lost their health coverage on Feb. 1.

That was just one of many problems that occurred over the weekend when the state shifted some 19,000 former foster children into its privatized “managed care” health coverage system. Children’s advocacy groups warned Tuesday that more problems may lie ahead as the state works to move approximately 17,000 current foster children into that same system.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tax amnesty nets $60 million more than expected
A tax amnesty program created during the passage of last year’s state operating budget has brought in nearly $240 million — approximately $60 million more than was expected — the Illinois Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

The Illinois Tax Amnesty Program, proposed by Gov. JB Pritzker and passed as part of Senate Bill 689, allowed qualified taxpayers to pay off any outstanding state tax liability and have corresponding penalties and interest forgiven..

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Illinois soybean farmers hurt by virus hit on China economy
Soybean farmers in Illinois cannot catch a break.

After a promising trade deal with China last month gave farmers hope amid an intense trade war, the deadly Wuhan coronavirus currently overwhelming China is also damaging its economy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Racketeering lawsuit targets Sandoval and locals
Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval and SafeSpeed LLC, the red light camera company at the center of federal corruption charges against him, are now the targets of a racketeering lawsuit that seeks to void tens of thousands of traffic citations issued through the company’s devices.

Lawrence Gress, a Downers Grove resident and lead plaintiff in the case, filed the suit Monday under the federal Racketeering, Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law most often used to prosecute organized crime syndicates. But RICO also allows for private civil suits for actions that are part of a criminal enterprise.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

5-year-old and elderly man killed in fire
A wind-driven fire swept through a suburban Chicago apartment early today, killing a 5-year-old boy and an elderly man who apparently became trapped by flames on the building’s second-floor.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Illinois sees yet more voter registration troubles
The voter registrations of nearly 800 former Illinois inmates may have been mistakenly canceled because of a “data-matching error” between state agencies, the State Board of Elections disclosed Monday.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

1st month of Illinois pot sales nets $40 million
Illinois marijuana dispensaries sold nearly $40 million worth of recreational weed during the state’s first month of legal sales, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Illinois residents bought more than $30.6 million in January, while out-of-state visitor sales totaled $8.6 million, the report shows. Dispensaries sold over 970,000 products.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

State of Union speech Tuesday to project optimism
Standing before lawmakers in the grand-domed Capitol where his impeachment trial is still underway, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night will declare the state of the union strong, even when it is bitterly divided as he asks Americans for a second term.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Chicago schools inspector faces scrutiny
The inspector general of Chicago Public Schools, whose investigations led to the removal of two former CEO’s, faces scrutiny himself for allegedly berating employees.

Complaints about Nicholas Schuler have led the school board to hire an outside firm to investigate, according t o The Chicago Sun-Times.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Groups launch aid plan for immigrants
Two nonprofit organizations in Chicago have launched a state-funded legal aid program designed to help thousands of immigrants, former inmates and low-income people across Illinois.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Event for minority and women-owned businesses
State transportation officials have planned an event next month in Springfield for minority and women-owned businesses.
Monday, February 3, 2020

IEPA offers internships for students in tech fields
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has developed a 12-week, paid internship program for students in technical fields who want to see regulatory work in the field.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Illinois census outreach money still not disbursed
Groups whose outreach efforts greatly affect how accurately Illinois’ residents are counted have yet to receive state funding.

Census advocates worry that the lag in funding the groups’ efforts c ould put federal funding and as many as two congressional seats at stake after the 2020 count, according to the  Chicago Tribune.

Monday, February 3, 2020

State Police search Madigan's office
Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at House Speaker Michael Madigan state Capitol offices this week as part of an investigation into sexual misconduct, stalking and other allegations against former state Rep. Jack Franks.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

SIU-Carbondale getting upgrade of Communications Building
Each year, Illinois public universities submit a wish list of building upgrades to the lawmakers crafting the state’s budget.

For 22 years, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s list has included renovations to its Communications Building. Now, finally, state support will make that long-held dream a reality.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

DNA backlogged at crime labs, Illinois Police questioned
Lawmakers questioned Illinois State Police about the DNA backlog at state crime labs, stating too many cases are waiting on DNA processing.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

String of Chicago robberies targeting users of dating apps
Chicago Police said Friday they are looking for a suspect or suspects using a dating app to lure victims to hotel rooms where they use a stun gun to rob them.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

Program means some can pay bills and have clean clothes
A dreary weather forecast didn’t keep away the smiling faces and appreciative customers from the second Suds of Love event in Belleville on the evening of Jan. 22.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

China striving to keep 50 million people isolated and fed, both, in biggest anti-disease effort ever
Carrying permits demanding “fast passage,” truck drivers rushed a 560-ton shipment of disinfectant from eastern China to Wuhan, the locked-down city of 11 million people at the center of a vast effort to contain a new viral disease.

Outside the metropolis in central China, the cargo was shifted to local trucks with drivers in masks and protective suits, part of a tightly controlled flow of food and other supplies through checkpoints that have blocked most access to Wuhan since Jan. 23.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Trump poised for acquittal in impeachment trial
President Donald Trump appeared headed for all-but-certain impeachment acquittal as senators prepared toay to reject efforts to call more witnesses and moved to start bringing a close to only the third impeachment trial in American history.

The timing of a final vote on Trump was still uncertain. But the outcome was increasingly clear after a key Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, announced he didn’t need to see or hear more testimony. He said the Democrats had proved their case, that Trump abused power and obstructed Congress, but he did not think Trump’s actions rose to the impeachable level.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Illinois ethics laws among nation's weakest
Government reform advocates told a panel of state lawmakers Thursday that Illinois has some of the weakest governmental ethics rules in the country and that lawmakers should put more teeth into them if they hope to regain the trust of the public.

“For me, the disheartening part of all of it is not that so many lawmakers at all levels of government have strayed so far from the rules and have overshadowed the good work of ethical lawmakers, but that so many across our state kind of react to this news with a shrug,” said Georgia Logothetis, assistant director of the watchdog group Common Cause Illinois. “It’s a kind of disheartened acceptance that, well, this is just the way things work in Illinois.”

Friday, January 31, 2020

Policy change: Secretary of state won't forward16- year-old's information to voter registration system
While the information for approximately 4,700 16-year-olds was forwarded from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to the Illinois State Board of Elections as part of an automatic voter registration program, no underage people were registered to vote, nor did they receive information about registering to vote, according to representatives of those two agencies.
Friday, January 31, 2020

Illinois joins multi-state lawsuit over new food stamp rules
Illinois joined a multi-state lawsuit over proposed Trump administration rules on food stamps that could cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose benefits, Attorney General Kwame Raoul confirmed Thursday.
Thursday, January 30, 2020

Gov talks tough about fraud and graft
Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday, talking tough about ending fraud and graft in a state notorious for corruption and urging support for such contentious ideas as halting the time-honored practice of lawmakers leaving the Legislature to immediately become lobbyists.
Thursday, January 30, 2020

Illinois one of 3 to sue to force US to ratify ERA
Three Democratic state attorneys general are suing a U.S. government official to force him to recognize Virginia’s vote this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and certify the measure as part of the Constitution.

The lawsuit filed Thursday against the archivist of the United States comes after the National Archives and Records Administration said this week that David Ferriero would “take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment,“ which would prohibit discrimination based on sex.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

NIU dropping standardized tests in admissions
Northern Illinois University announced Wednesday it will eliminate the use of standardized tests in undergraduate admissions and merit scholarship decisions next year.

Any high school graduate who applies to NIU with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above will be guaranteed admission to the university in DeKalb.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Hundreds attend funeral for 'unclaimed veteran'
Hundreds of people attended a funeral service in suburban Chicago Wednesday for a former U.S. Air Force mechanic who became an “unclaimed veteran” when he died last month.

The service for John James Murphy, 71, was held at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home in Elgin. Murphy died Dec. 18 at a nearby hospital after living in a rehabilitation center since 2017. The funeral home was unable to find any relatives.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Illinois discloses more problems with voter registration
Illinois elections officials  disclosed fresh problems Wednesday with the state’s automatic voter registration program, saying at least one eligible voter who declined to register to vote was signed up anyway.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Harmon names new state leadership team
New Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, announced his leadership team Tuesday on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.

Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, will remain the chamber’s majority leader, while Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, will become an assistant majority leader and president pro tempore — a position once held by Harmon under former President John Cullerton before he changed the caucus’ leadership structure.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Lawmakers seek to end corporate poaching by states
Two Democratic lawmakers unveiled legislation Tuesday to form a multi-state compact in which each member state would vow not to use company-specific tax incentives to lure businesses away from another member state.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Autistic futures trader who triggered crash spared prison
A U.S. judge Tuesday sentenced a socially awkward math whiz-turned-futures trader who earned tens of millions of dollars over several years and helped trigger a U.S. stock market “flash crash” from his parents’ suburban London home to time served and a year’s home confinement, sparing him imprisonment after prosecutors praised his cooperation and said his crimes were entirely unmotivated by greed.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

BorgWarner to buy rival Delphi for $3.3B
Auto parts supplier BorgWarner is acquiring Delphi Technologies in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $3.3 billion, partly to help strengthen its power electronics products.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Warden at center of email scandal misled probe
A former assistant prison warden, at the center of an explosive 2012 government email in which a lobbyist alludes to a rape cover-up and illegal hiring, gave false information during an investigation four years earlier into whether he misplaced a bulky ring of keys at a state lockup, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ex lawmaker charged with red-light camera bribery
Federal prosecutors filed bribery and tax charges on Monday against a former Illinois state senator who led the powerful transportation committee, alleging he accepted payments in exchange  for supporting costly red-light camera programs across the state.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Illinois to continue voter registration program
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that there are no plans to suspend Illinois’ automatic voter registration program as election officials work to contain the fallout from more than 500 people being mistakenly registered.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Man makes a 'ministry' of protecting Quad-City churches
A sanctuary ceases to be a place of refuge when bullets are flying.

As more shootings occur in churches, mosques and synagogues in the U.S., more religious leaders are being forced to reckon with a new reality.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Helicopter in crash that killed Kobe Bryant previously owned by state of Illinois
The luxury helicopter that crashed Sunday morning in California, killing all nine people on board including former NBA star Kobe Bryant, was once owned by the state of Illinois.
Monday, January 27, 2020

DCFS youth eligible for annual scholarship program
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is accepting applications for its annual scholarship program.
Monday, January 27, 2020

Illinois becomes second state to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $100 for diabetes patients
SPRINGFIELD — The ability of pharmaceutical companies to line their pockets on the backs of Illinoisans with diabetes is coming to an end.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Coach who hid camera gets seven years
CHICAGO (AP) — A former youth volleyball coach who installed a hidden camera to record videos of hundreds of children using a bathroom at a suburban Chicago athletic training facility was sentenced Friday to six years and 11 months in federal prison.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Pot stolen from O'Hare amnesty box
CHICAGO (AP) — Marijuana was stolen this week from a box placed at Chicago’s Midway International Airport for travelers who dispose of their marijuana before they board a plane, police said Friday.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Arrests made in Danville triple homicide
DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois said Friday they have arrested three teenagers in the slayings of three people in their 60s whose beaten and stabbed bodies were found this week inside a residence.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Woman kills retired trooper, self at Chicago-area bar
LISLE, Ill. (AP) — A woman fatally shot a retired Illinois State Police trooper and wounded another retired state trooper and an off-duty trooper before turning the gun on herself at a cigar lounge in the Chicago suburbs, police said.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Millikin cellist and faculty member releases new album
DECATUR — Amy Catron, principal cellist for the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) and adjunct faculty member for the School of Music at Millikin University, has released a compilation of work produced by First Step Records, a Millikin student-run record label, titled "Particles and Prayer."
Saturday, January 25, 2020

LLCC hosts Illinois Freedom Project exhibits Feb. 11-13
SPRINGFIELD — In observance of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Lincoln Land Community College will host the Illinois Freedom Project travelling exhibit from Feb. 11-13 in A. Lincoln Commons on the Springfield campus, 5250 Shepherd Road.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Mount Pulaski historic site will host Lincoln's birthday celebration Feb. 8
MOUNT PULASKI — The Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site will host an early celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday on Saturday, February 8 with an appearance by Brian "Fox" Ellis portraying John A. "Black Jack" Logan, the son of Dr. John Logan, for whom Logan County is named.
Saturday, January 25, 2020

Elections board corrects non-citizen voting numbers
SPRINGFIELD — Only 15 people who self-identified as not being U.S. citizens cast ballots in the 2018 and 2019 elections, the Illinois State Board of Elections said in a correction Thursday, three of which actually turned out to be citizens.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Chicago police end effort to predict gun offenders
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police have ended a program that sought to predict people most likely to be victims or perpetrators of gun crime, according to a watchdog report released Thursday that warned the department of serious flaws in the approach.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Great Lakes naval base in Illinois on lockdown
GREAT LAKES, Ill (AP) — A Naval station north of Chicago was locked down and warned personnel to “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT!” after someone drove onto the base without showing credentials, but it later described the situation as “minor” and said no one had been harmed.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Portraits of Obamas to begin 5-city US tour in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — The official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama from the National Portrait Gallery will begin a five-city national tour in Chicago in June 2021.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Chicago woman becomes 2nd US case of virus from China
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials announced Friday.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Illinois unemployment rate drops to new historical low in December
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 3.7 percent, a new historical low, while nonfarm payrolls added +8,000 jobs in December, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The November monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report from -17,200 to -13,400 jobs.
Friday, January 24, 2020

ROE discusses plan to address area teacher shortage
VANDALIA — With Illinois facing a shortage of 1,800 educators in the upcoming school year and the country forecasted to face a shortage of 200,000 by 2025, Golden Apple is launching an initiative to address this crisis and help fill critical positions throughout the state: the Golden Apple Accelerators Program, a new teacher residency and licensure program that will expedite the preparation of highly-qualified teachers in areas of the state most in need, including central Illinois.
Friday, January 24, 2020

Court hears lawsuits against schools
Two Illinois school districts defended their actions against an elementary school teacher and a restoration company before the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The justices’ eventual decisions could determine how school employees can use paid family leave, and whether contracts are enforceable if they should not have been signed in the first place.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Non citizen voting: Lawmakers call for suspension of automatic voter registration until problems are fixed
Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and newly-elected Illinois Senate President Don Harmon added their voices Wednesday to a growing chorus of state officials calling for legislative hearings to determine how more than 500 people who identified themselves as non-U.S. citizens became registered to vote through the state’s new automatic voter registration system.
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Error leads to noncitizen voters in Illinois
An error in Illinois’ new automatic voter registration system led to a possible 545 non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote, 16 of whom cast ballots, state officials publicly acknowledged this week.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Illinois Republican congressman who backed Nixon impeachment has died
Thomas Railsback, an Illinois Republican congressman who helped draw up articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in 1974, has died at age 87.

Railback died Monday in Mesa, Arizona, where he lived in a nursing home in recent years, former Republican congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Coalition renews Clean Energy Jobs Act push
With federal regulatory changes looming and legislators one week away from a return to the Capitol, some clean energy advocates are looking to jumpstart a stalled proposal to bring major reforms to the state’s energy landscape.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Layoffs didn't discriminate against blacks
A class action lawsuit claiming Chicago Public Schools discriminated against black educators when it announced layoffs in 2011 has been dismissed.

The 2012 lawsuit by the Chicago Teachers Union was filed on behalf of 630 black educators who were among 1,470 CPS employees who were laid off.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

New documentary explores political movement that began in '60s in Chicago
Civil rights activists were still mourning the 1968 assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Richard Nixon was president, the Vietnam War hadn’t ended, and urban racial tensions remained.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Teen's suicide prompts family to work to prevent others
Andre Irizarry is haunted by questions every day of his life.

Why would his 18-year-old daughter take her own life? What made her feel so hopeless? Could he have done something to prevent the suicide? Were there warning signs that he missed? The list goes on and on ...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Suspected Chicago-area serial killer stayed under the radar, but how?
When a police detective said last week that a man suspected of strangling a suburban Chicago teen in 1976 may have killed as many as a dozen girls and young women, the question that screamed louder than all others was: How did nobody notice?

Today, as Lisle Police Detectives Chris Loudon and detectives in other communities where Bruce Lindahl lived try to retrace his steps, what is emerging is a terrifying murder mystery created by a man Loudon describes as a serial killer, a monster hiding in plain sight.

Monday, January 20, 2020

DNA tests confirm captured coyote bit six-year-old
Animal control officials in Chicago said Sunday that DNA tests confirm a coyote recently captured in the city is the same animal that attacked a 6-year-old boy.

An evaluation determined that the animal was shot with a BB gun, “which could have caused the limp in its movements as well as the aggressive behavior,” according to the Chicago Animal Care and Control’s statement. Officials said they worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to evaluate the animal.

Monday, January 20, 2020

After hours of closed-door talks, Senate pres is chosen
Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, was elected as the 39th president of the Illinois Senate on Sunday after hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations.

The race had been weeks in the making, and by the time the closed-door negotiations began Sunday shortly after 11 a.m., the field of candidates was down to two – Harmon, who has served in the chamber since 2003, and Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat and the majority leader, who has served in the Senate since 1998.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Illinois law eliminates suspension of license for non-moving violations
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a law that eliminates driver’s license suspensions for most non-moving violations.

The Democrat signed the “License to Work Act” last week. It takes effect July.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Illinois 'X Caucus' influential in Senate election
Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is the new Senate president, thanks, in large part, to a group of moderate suburban and downstate Democrats who quietly supported him in his monthslong rise to the head of the chamber.
Monday, January 20, 2020

Report: Chicago Teachers Union spent $1.5M on pre-strike lobbying
The Chicago Teachers Union spent almost $1.5 million on political activity including lobbying, in the months leading up to a two-week strike in the fall, according to a published report.
Monday, January 20, 2020

IDNR okays coal company's plan to discharge millions of gallons of waste water
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved the first of three permits for a coal company’s plan to discharge waste water from a mine into the Big Muddy River.
Monday, January 20, 2020

Museum program on African Americans' work marks 50th year
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is marking the 50th anniversary of a program honoring the achievements of African Americans in science, technology, engineering, art and medicine and encouraging young people to consider those fields.
Monday, January 20, 2020

Delegate votes in primaries can be 'super important'
In presidential primary elections, it’s all about the delegates.

Delegates are the chosen representatives that attend each party’s nominating convention and give their support to a specified candidate.

Saturday, January 18, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

Wildlife organizations to host eagle viewings this weekend
Wildlife organizations are planning eagle viewing events in Illinois and Wisconsin.
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










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