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home : news : state news free July 14, 2020

COVID-19 positivity rate in Illinois at 3%
The state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate remained at 3 percent Monday as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 883 new confirmed cases of the virus.

The 30,012 test results reported Monday followed more than 70,000 total reported the previous two days, driving Illinois to more than 2 million tests conducted since the pandemic began. Illinois became the first state in the Midwest to reach that milestone and the fifth state in the U.S., following California, New York, Florida and Texas.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Suspect in Illinois child death gets 28 years in prison
A man accused of murder in the death of his 6-year-old daughter in a St. Louis suburb was sentenced Monday to 28 years to life in Nevada state prison for his conviction on felony child sex charges.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

N. Dakota urges court to halt pipeline shutdown
North Dakota is urging a federal appeals court to block a judge’s order to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline.

North Dakota Solicitor General Matt Sagsveen filed a document Monday supporting operator Energy Transfer’s efforts to keep the oil line open while the Texas-based company appeals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Former U of I professor, now lightning strike expert, discusses victims' trauma
Justin Gauger can remember almost everything from the day that changed his life.

He was on a family fishing trip near Woods Canyon Lake in Arizona in August 2014 when lightning struck his back, propelling him 50 feet sideways until he landed face-first in a pile of rocks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

COVID-19 positivity rate levels at 3 percent as state passes 2 million tested
SPRINGFIELD — The state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate remained at 3 percent Monday as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 883 new confirmed cases of the virus.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Here are excerpts of editorial opinions from newspapers throughout Illinois.
Monday, July 13, 2020

Illinois launches campaign to prevent abuse of seniors
Illinois is launching a $2.1 million campaign to prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities, a problem officials fear has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Illinois Department on Aging’s Office of Adult Protective Services received federal funds for the three-year Engage2Change campaign. It will include ads on television, online and via email that will encourage people to report suspected abuse of people age 60 and older and of disabled adults. Some funds also will be used for training caseworkers and legal professionals.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Cook County residents can report police misconduct online
The Cook County state’s attorney’s office is launching a new online process to report allegations of criminal police misconduct including excessive form and intimidation.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced the new complaint form Thursday. Members of the public will be able to directly upload photo and video evidence to submit for review by prosecutors who’ll determine whether it should be referred to an investigative agency or closed.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Federal court denies relaxed requirements for Illinois constitutional amendment
SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois group trying to get a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot is not entitled to looser regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

New COVID-19 cases top 1,000 for second straight day 
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday that the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed over the previous 24 hours topped 1,000 for the second straight day while the percentage of tests coming back positive also grew.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Comptroller criticized for handling of late bill payments
SPRINGFIELD — A program that helps vendors get paid even when the state is late paying its bills might be in danger, the head of one financial company said, because of the way Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is prioritizing the bills that she does pay.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on birth control doesn't affect Illinois' insurance mandates 
SPRINGFIELD — A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week that could make it more difficult for women to access birth control will not impact Illinois law, state officials and advocacy groups say.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Federal court denies relaxed ballot requirements for constitutional amendments 
SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois group trying to get a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot is not entitled to looser regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Presidential Library welcomes five millionth visitor
SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum welcomed its five millionth visitor with gifts, music and an appearance by Lincoln himself, just days after the museum reopened to the public.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Online series of programming features life and times of Abraham Lincoln
ILLINOIS — Looking for Lincoln is proud to announce it will host Lincoln, The Great Communicator online seven times with partner communities around the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Another 39K file jobless claims in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The state of Illinois saw slight decreases in the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims as well as the number of people receiving continuing benefits during the week that ended July 4.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Record testing pushes daily COVID-19 count past 1,000 for first time since June 2
SPRINGFIELD — New Illinois COVID-19 cases topped 1,000 Thursday for the first time since June 2, but the high number coincided with the state’s highest recorded single-day testing output.
Friday, July 10, 2020

As marijuana sales boom, social equity applicants sweat licensing delays
SPRINGFIELD — One of the few things unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic’s presence in Illinois has been recreational marijuana sales.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Madigan: Remove images of Stephen Douglas from Statehouse
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on Thursday called for removing statues and portraits of the 19th century U.S. Senator Stephen A Douglas from the Statehouse along with other known slaveholders.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Group says local governments' hands tied in COVID-19 economic response
SPRINGFIELD — Local government officials in Illinois have their hands “tied behind their back” when responding to COVID-19-related economic struggles, three community and business advocacy groups argued Thursday.
Friday, July 10, 2020

Company will look at weather's effect at Wrigley
CHICAGO (AP) — The wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. The tricky breeze in San Francisco. The heat in Los Angeles.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Pritzker lays out federal COVID-19 response wish list to congressional committee
SPRINGFIELD — Testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said he would like to see a coordinated national COVID-19 containment strategy that requires people to wear masks, and he reiterated the need for a federal financial support package for states.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

AG asks Clay County judge to rule on last issue in Bailey's lawsuit
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois attorney general’s office on Tuesday night asked a downstate judge to address the one outstanding issue in Rep. Darren Bailey’s lawsuit challenging Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

CPD forming unit to fight gun violence
CHICAGO (AP) — After a spate of shootings over the July 4 weekend that left 17 people dead and dozens more wounded, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown is creating a specialized citywide unit that will be quickly deployed to halt sudden outbursts of gun violence.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

U of I rolls out saliva tests instead of nasal swabs
URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Students and staff at the University of Illinois can be tested for the coronavirus with a saliva sample instead of an uncomfortable nasal swab.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Uof Chicago removes tributes to Stephen Douglas
CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Chicago has removed a bronze plaque and stone that publicly honored Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator from Illinois in the 1800s.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Jesse White announces expired driver's licenses, ID cards and license plate stickers extended an additional month - until Nov. 1
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Opposing groups readying for battle over tax amendment 
SPRINGFIELD – Days after the governor donated $51.5 million of his personal fortune to a committee supporting a graduated income tax constitutional amendment, a new coalition has begun an effort to defeat the measure.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Illinois, regional economies shrink in first quarter
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois economy shrank at an annual rate of 5.4 percent during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter, according to federal data released Tuesday, an indicator of just how severely the COVID-19 pandemic affected commercial activity.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Elections Board wants to continue challenge of third-party ballot access
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ chief election authority told a federal appeals court Monday it wants to continue its appeal of looser election rules for third-party candidates.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

State's seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate ticks slightly downward 
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s rolling seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate ticked downward to 2.5 percent Tuesday as the state remained among the lowest in the Midwest in the metric.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

IDOT warns intense heat could cause roads to buckle
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois transportation officials are warning motorists to watch for damaged roads during intense heat.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

'The Blues Brothers' Wauconda beach will reopen
WAUCONDA, Ill. (AP) — Wauconda’s iconic beach seen in the “The Blues Brothers” movie is set to open after a $3 million renovation.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

GOP congressional hopeful Oberweis gets virus relief loan for family dairy
CHICAGO (AP) — A dairy owned by Illinois Republican congressional candidate Jim Oberweis received a loan worth $5 million to $10 million from the federal rescue package aimed at helping small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Rep. Arthur Turner, deputy majority leader in the House, announces retirement
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, announced his retirement from the Illinois House effective Friday, July 3.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

COVID-19 deaths dip to lowest daily number since March
SPRINGFIELD – Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Illinois declined significantly over the holiday weekend and into Monday, touching their lows since the state began reporting the figures daily in April.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Bruno the Bear tranquilized in Missouri
According to the website pjstar.com, Bruno the Black Bear was tranquilized Sunday in Missouri.

Bruno, as he was fondly named by many who followed his story, trekked hundreds of miles from Wisconsin, through Illinois and into Missouri looking for a mate.

Monday, July 6, 2020

17 dead, 70 wounded in Chicago
One of Chicago’s bloodiest holiday weekends in memory ended with 17 people fatally shot, including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, and 70 more wounded, despite a concerted effort to quell the violence with an additional 1,200 police officers on the streets.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Chicago's July 4 weekend ends with 14 killed, 63 wounded
CHICAGO (AP) — One of Chicago’s bloodiest holiday weekends in memory ended with 14 people fatally shot — including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy — and 63 more wounded, despite a concerted effort by the police department that included an additional 1,200 officers on the streets.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Judge denies GOP request to allow large gatherings
SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed Illinois Republican Party groups to host large fundraising events.
Monday, July 6, 2020

State unemployment 29,511 better than prior week
SPRINGFIELD – The number of Illinois workers receiving state unemployment benefits fell by more than 29,000 during the last week of June as many businesses resumed operations after 14 weeks under a stay-at-home order brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Police chief shot while guarding Reagan is retiring
ORLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago police chief who was wounded in the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan is retiring after nearly half a century in law enforcement.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Millikin's new president is at home for career's final chapter
DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Millikin University’s new president, James Reynolds, did not grow up planning a career in academia.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Officer shot and killed, suspect found dead in Ohio
An officer who was responding to a disturbance call in a store parking lot was shot and killed early Saturday morning by an intoxicated man holding a beer, police said.

Toledo Officer Anthony Dia was shot in the chest just after midnight in the parking lot of a Home Depot, and later pronounced dead at a hospital, Police Chief George Kral said at a news conference.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Pawn shops report sales boom despite pandemic
Providers of fast money, pawn shops throughout the region have taken on an enhanced profile in an economy turned upside down by the coronavirus.

Instead of being busy providing loans, Pigg and West Quincy Pawn Shop owner Lionel Hammond said the pawn shops have been swamped with customers coming in buying guns, jewelry, electronics and other goods.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Illinois regulators warn casinos to take virus precautions
Casinos that fail to follow guidelines aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus could be disciplined, including loss of their license, Illinois regulators warned this week.
Saturday, July 4, 2020

Man charged with murder of Southern Illinois toddler
A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 23-month-old girl who died after her head was apparently slammed against a wall of her mother’s Southern Illinois home.
Saturday, July 4, 2020

Illinois opening more centers to support small businesses
Seven new state-run centers will open this summer to support Illinois small businesses.

The Small Business Development Centers set to launch in July or already opened are in Chicago, Elgin and Joliet. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development said the $11.5 million effort brings the total of centers statewide to 42.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Founder of Edwardsville at the center of statue debate
The figure at the center of a statue debate in the Metro East city of Edwardsville has a final resting place at Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Ninian Edwards, who served one term as Illinois’ third governor from 1826 to 1830, is buried in the “Aristocracy Hill” part of the cemetery.

Edwards also served as territorial governor for three terms before Illinois was granted statehood in 1818.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Illinois soldier kills fellow soldier, self
Federal and military investigators say a soldier missing since April was killed and dismembered by a fellow soldier stationed at the same Texas base. The revelation followed demands for the Army to release details about its investigation of the disappearance.

A criminal complaint released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas charges a civilian with helping hide the body of 20-year-old solider Vanessa Guillen. The document, prepared in conjunction with the Army Criminal Investigative Command and the FBI, says the civilian helped the other soldier get rid of evidence after he bludgeoned Guillen with a hammer at Fort Hood in Central Texas and later dismembered and dumped the body.

Friday, July 3, 2020

COVID-19 hospital bed usage in Illinois highest since June 19
COVID-19 hospitalizations rose above 1,651 for the first time in seven days at the end of Wednesday, increasing by 140 from the day before and by 187 from its June 27 low.

The number is also the highest single-day tally for hospital bed usage since June 19, when there were 1,699 people hospitalized with the virus.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Downstate judge rules Pritzker's orders are void
All of Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive orders since April 8 pertaining to the novel coronavirus pandemic are void because he exceeded his authority when he used his emergency powers for more than 30 days, a Clay County judge ruled Thursday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health instead has “supreme authority” to close businesses and restrict residents’ activities in a public health crisis, Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney added.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Judge denies GOP request to allow large gatherings
A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed Illinois Republican Party groups to host large fundraising events.

In the lawsuit, the state GOP argued that Gov. JB Pritzker’s 50-person cap  on gathering sizes — which was a 10-person cap when the lawsuit was filed — does not apply to religious organizations, and the governor “declined to enforce” his order against protesters demanding an end to systemic racism.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Police chief shot while guarding Reagan is retiring
A suburban Chicago police chief who was wounded in the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan is retiring after nearly half a century in law enforcement.

Tim McCarthy, who has served as Orland Park’s police chief for 26 years, is retiring Aug. 1.

Friday, July 3, 2020

State unemployment 29,511 better than prior week
The number of Illinois workers receiving state unemployment benefits fell by more than 29,000 during the last week of June as many businesses resumed operations after 14 weeks under a stay-at-home order brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday there were 676,338 people in Illinois receiving continuing unemployment benefits during the week that ended June 27. That was 29,511 fewer than the previous week.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Lincoln Association announces plan to reconstruct Lincoln Cottage in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Association today announced a plan to reconstruct the original cottage where Abraham Lincoln and his family lived before it was expanded into what is now known as the Lincoln Home.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Springfield man killed in fall from Colorado summit
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities have released the name of a hiker who died after falling about 30 feet (9.1 meters) near the summit of a mountain peak south of Boulder.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cass only county in state in virus warning category
SPRIGNFIELD — Illinois announced another 828 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday among 33,090 tests completed for a one-day positivity rate of 2.5 percent.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

State reports another 828 COVID-19 cases among 33K tested
SPRIGNFIELD — Illinois announced another 828 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday among 33,090 tests completed for a one-day positivity rate of 2.5 percent.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Raoul asks federal judge to force recognition of Equal Rights Amendment's ratification
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ top lawyer wants a U.S. court to compel a federal official to formally acknowledge the Equal Rights Amendment received enough state support to be added to the U.S. Constitution – a largely procedural step that has thus far blocked the amendment from ratification.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mendoza: New fiscal year will be even more challenging than height of budget impasse
SPRINGFIELD — The state of Illinois, like most states, began a new fiscal year on July 1 and the person in charge of managing the state’s bank accounts said she fears it could be one of the most difficult years in modern memory.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum reopens
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is excited to be open to the public again.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cook Co. won't prosecute protestors for minor acts
CHICAGO (AP) — The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office announced Tuesday that her office won’t prosecute protesters for minor offenses such as disorderly conduct, unlawful gathering and violating curfew.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations tick upward as positivity rate remains low 
SPRINGFIELD – The state’s hospital bed usage by COVID-19 patients ticked slightly upward Tuesday as the Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 725 confirmed cases and 23 COVID-19-related deaths.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pritzker signs bill paving way for Chicago casino

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill into law Tuesday that paves the way for development of a major casino in Chicago, something officials expect to provide significant revenues for the state’s recently-passed capital improvements plan known as Rebuild Illinois.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Secretary of State Jesse White and IDOT alert drivers to two new traffic safety laws effective July 1
ILLINOIS — Secretary of State Jesse White and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced two new laws that take effect July 1 which establish tougher penalties for drivers who seriously injure others while texting and driving and for those who cause severe injury to pedestrians.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Facebook to build $800M data center in DeKalb
Facebook has announced it will build an $800 million data center in DeKalb that will create about 100 permanent jobs and depend on 100 percent renewable energy.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

COVID-19 1-day death toll of 14 is lowest since March
The seven-day rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 tests conducted remained at 2.7 percent Monday as the state reported the lowest single-day death total related to the pandemic since March 30.

There were 14 deaths reported Monday after 15 were reported Sunday and 26 on Saturday, bringing the COVID-19-related death toll since the pandemic began to 6,902 among 142,461 confirmed cases statewide.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Chicago releases video of ex-top cop asleep at wheel
CHICAGO (AP) — Documents, audio of a civilian 911 call and police body camera footage showing the former head of Chicago police allegedly asleep in October at the wheel of his vehicle were released to the public Monday by the city of Chicago.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Billiken Parade in Chicago canceled
CHICAGO (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of Chicago’s Bud Billiken Parade, a traditional African American back-to-school event for about 90 years, organizers announced Monday.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Policy Institute report says Illinois was ill-prepared for pandemic
SPRINGFIELD – A new report from an Illinois think tank says the state was ill-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily because of a pre-existing shortage of nurses, and that the pandemic has left the state even more vulnerable in the event of another public health crisis.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

HSHS offers practical safety tips regarding the use of fireworks
SPRINGFIELD — With the Fourth of July just around the corner, thoughts turn to celebrating the holiday with fireworks. Although fireworks can be exciting, festive and fun, the HSHS Illinois hospitals of HSHS want to remind community members that fireworks can also be very dangerous.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Coroner: 3rd Illinois warehouse shooting victim identified
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The third person who died after being shot at a warehouse in central Illinois has been identified.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Start of July brings increase to Illinois minimum wage
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ minimum wage increases to $10 per hour this week, and state officials are reminding workers to make sure their paychecks reflect the change.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Construction halted for Aon Center observatory in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Construction of an observatory atop Chicago’s third-tallest skyscraper will not start for almost another year due to the pandemic.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Illinois reports 646 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois public health officials reported 646 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 15 deaths.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Shootings across Chicago kill 3 kids; activists seek change
CHICAGO (AP) — Activists and local leaders called for more state and federal support Sunday as weekend shootings across Chicago left three children dead, including a 10-year-old who was struck by a stray bullet that came through an apartment window.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Area medical district partners encourage blood donations
 SPRINGFIELD — Leaders from HSHS Illinois, Memorial Health System, SIU Medicine, Springfield Clinic and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health are partnering with the Central Illinois Community Blood Center (CICBC) to ask donors to step forward in support of the region's blood supply. A joint news conference was held today to help raise awareness of the importance of donating blood to ensure an adequate supply for patients in central Illinois.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Illinois Department of Public Health expands newborn Screening
SPRINGFIELD – Beginning Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health will test every baby born in Illinois for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  SMA is a group of hereditary diseases that progressively destroys motor neurons—nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control essential activities such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy.  When there are disruptions in the signals between motor neurons and muscles, the muscles gradually weaken and begin wasting away.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Presidential Library reopening Wednesday
SPRINGFIELD — After a series of changes to protect visitor health, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is finalizing plans to reopen to the public on Wednesday, July 1.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

State reopens, positivity rate slightly up
SPRINGFIELD – As the state entered Phase 4 of its COVID-19 reopening plan Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 800 new cases of the virus among more than 30,000 tests completed for the second straight day.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

State museum offers free 4th of July activity kits for families
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois State Museum (ISM) announces "Red, White, and Blue Super Saturday" will occur online during the 4th of July weekend, Friday, July 3 to Monday, July 6, 2020. Join the Illinois State Museum and celebrate the 4th of July holiday by engaging in art and science activities while at home. Families are encouraged to interact with the Museum online to complete red-white-and-blue themed activities and share their experiences. 
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Springfield shooter kills two coworkers and himself
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The 48-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting two coworkers and critically wounding another at a central Illinois warehouse Friday died after apparently shooting himself, the city’s police chief said.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

IDOC employee arrested; custodial sexual misconduct and official misconduct
SPRINGFIELD — On Jun.25, 2020, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Internal Investigation (DII) arrested Daniel Lara, 30-year-old male of Springfield, for one count of Custodial Sexual Misconduct (Class 3 Felony) and one count Official Misconduct (Class 3 Felony).
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Water-quality grants available from EPA
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has opened the application period for grant programs worth more than $9 million to improve water quality in the state .
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Public Health Dept provides Phase 4 guidance for swimming facilities
SPRINGFIELD — Under Phase 4 of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Restore Illinois plan, swimming facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) can open at a maximum of 50% of capacity. This includes swimming pools, water parks, splashpads, and beaches.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Farmers' struggles with mental health intensify during pandemic
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Meg Moynihan knows what it’s like to struggle.
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Minimum wage in Illinois goes up on July 1
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois' minimum wage will make its second increase this year to $10 per hour beginning July 1. The Illinois Department of Labor urges minimum wage earners to make sure their checks reflect the increase following July 1.
Friday, June 26, 2020

Officers respond to active shooter at Springfield Bunn
SPRINGFIELD — Law enforcement personnel responded to a report of an active shooter at BUNN-o-Matic at 1400 Stevenson Drive in Springfield Friday morning.
Friday, June 26, 2020

24 charged in Chicago drug operation
CHICAGO (AP) — An investigation of an illegal drug trafficking operation on Chicago’s West Side has led to federal charges against 24 purported gang members as well as the seizure of more than 30 guns and more than $1.3 million in cash, authorities said today.
Friday, June 26, 2020

Biggest priest class since 1964: Eight men ordained to priesthood in Diocese of Springfield in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has eight new priests, the largest class of newly- ordained priests since 1964. The priests, who represent a wide spectrum of ages and backgrounds and who come from different parts of the diocese and the globe, were ordained by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Friday, June 26, 2020

State continued unemployment claims remain over 700,000Pritzker says unemployment security agency continually trying to expand capacity

SPRINGFIELD — The U.S. Department of Labor released statistics Thursday showing 705,878 Illinoisans received unemployment insurance for the week ending June 20.

Friday, June 26, 2020

As state enters Phase 4 Friday, Pritzker 'not afraid' to move backwards if COVID-19 cases surge
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new tool to track county-by-county progress in the fight against the novel coronavirus Thursday, but as the state readied to enter the next phase of reopening, he also warned that he would not hesitate to move certain regions backward if progress subsides.
Friday, June 26, 2020

AG: Gathering restrictions regulate Illinoisans' conduct, not speech
SPRINGFIELD — State regulation of the number of people allowed at gatherings does not violate Illinoisans’ First Amendment rights, the attorney general’s office argued in a court document.
Friday, June 26, 2020

GOP senate candidate seeks looser ballot access requirement
SPRINGFIELD — A central Illinois Republican state senate candidate who does not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot asked a federal judge Tuesday to also apply loosened election requirements to him.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Innocence Project clears wrongfully convicted man
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man is free after getting his 2008 murder conviction vacated following new evidence that revealed he was not responsible for the death of his infant son, partly because of efforts from a group in the state that’s cleared more than a dozen people wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

More details released on COVID recovery grants
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced this week that it will soon start releasing funds from two grant programs aimed at helping small businesses that have suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest that occurred during recent protests over racial injustice.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Illinois Right to Life sues to hold large gatherings
SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois pro-life nonprofit filed a federal lawsuit challenging Gov. JB Pritzker’s social gathering restrictions, arguing it should be excluded from caps on attendees to charity, planning and educational events.
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Applications available for $60 million in business interruption grants
SPRINGFIELD — Applications are now available for the new Business Interruption Grant program, which will make $60 million available for 3,500 small businesses affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Valparaiso University provost tapped for Blackburn College presidency
CARLINVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A top Valparaiso University administrator has been chosen as the next president of southern Illinois’ Blackburn College.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

State's blood supply critically low; blood centers in dire need for organizations to host blood drives
PALATINE, Ill. — Officials from the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers (ICCBC) gathered today to make the public aware of Illinois’ dwindling blood supply and the dire need for organizations to step up and continue to host blood drives in their communities, especially as Illinois advances to Phase 4 of Restore Illinois. Following the national trend, Illinois Blood Centers are currently running on 2 day or less supply of blood, putting them at a “critically low” level.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New guidelines released for return to in-person education
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois released new guidelines for schools, colleges and universities to return to in-person learning in the fall, but leaders warned those plans could change if health metrics related to the COVID-19 pandemic stop improving.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Entering Phase 4 out of 5 on Friday
SPRINGFIELD — Restaurants across the state are set to open for indoor dining Friday among other additions to allowable activities under the state’s Restore Illinois plan. The state released new guidance for reopening businesses Monday.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

No further changes to ballot access for third party
SPRINGFIELD — A federal court has denied the Illinois State Board of Elections’ request to suspend enforcement of looser ballot access requirements for third-party candidates in the November election.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Farm Bureau invites you to learn about pollinators
ILLINOIS — During this time of year, you might look out your window to see bees and butterflies buzzing around nearby flowers, moving from one plant to the next, pollinating along the way. Many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy in the summer are a result of the important work these insects do.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Illinois reports 658 additional COVID-19 cases, 23 deaths
Illinois is poised to enter its next phase of reopening Friday, allowing museums, gyms, performance venues and zoos across the state to open their doors with restrictions in place. 
Monday, June 22, 2020

100+ shot in Chicago this weekend
Fourteen people, including five children, were killed as more than 100 people were shot in a wave of gunfire in Chicago over the Father’s Day weekend that produced the city’s highest number of shooting victims in a single weekend this year.

Among the victims was 3-year-old Mekhi James, who police said was fatally shot Saturday as the boy was in a car with his father in the south Austin neighborhood.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Illinois Senator says 1968 report shows not much has changed in race relations
In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson appointed a commission to investigate the causes of race riots in the U.S.. and to offer recommendations for the future.

While its full name is the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the panel is more widely known as the Kerner Commission, so called because it was chaired by Illinois’ then-governor Otto Kerner Jr.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Elections board asks judge to suspend ballot access rules
The Illinois State Board of Elections asked a federal appeals court to suspend a lower judge’s order amending ballot access requirements for third-party candidates this election cycle.

That request was filed one month after Rebecca Pallmeyer, chief judge of the Northern District of Illinois, gave those candidates a little less extra time to gather petition signatures amid Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions.

The elections board now, after analyzing “the competing requirements it and local elections authorities face in preparing for the November election,” is alleging Pallmeyer’s order handicaps its ability to “administer a timely and fair election,” according to court filings.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Edwardsville groups seeks to remove statue of state's 3rd governor, a slave owner
Residents of a southwestern Illinois community want a statue of the state’s third governor removed from a public plaza, arguing that he owned slaves and used his power to protect the practice.

Nearly 500 people have joined a Facebook group that supports petitioning the city of Edwardsville to tear down a Ninian Edwards statue and also rename a plaza with his moniker, according to The Edwardsville Intelligencer.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Advice to Grow By: Green is the new orange
When asked what color goes with everything in your garden, the answer is green, albeit working with the many shades of green in the plant world will certainly put a new spin on this.  In the plant world, the color green has its roots in chlorophyll, needed for converting the nutrients of sunlight into energy for growing things.  

Uncovering bulbs hidden below winter leaves often exposes yellow foliage which takes a few days to assume a healthy green color. At the end of the season, trees and many other plants begin to lose the chlorophyll, revealing the red, orange, yellow, or purple hues of those leaves as the days grow shorter.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

COVID-19 closes suburban Chicago Drivers Services office
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has closed a Drivers Services Facility in suburban Chicago for two weeks, and staff is being quarantined for 14 days, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The Schaumburg facility will be closed until July 2, WBBM-TV reported.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

World trapshooting meets cancellation angers southern Ill.
The decision by Illinois officials to cancel a world sport-shooting championship in southern Illinois because of the coronavirus pandemic has lawmakers from the area upset.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the 121st Grand American World Trapshooting Championships at a state-owned complex near Sparta, scheduled for Aug. 5-15, is canceled.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What will school be like this fall? Guidelines expected soon
School will be different when a new academic year starts this fall, but whether students are still learning remotely or the number of days per week they attend class will likely vary by location and district.
Saturday, June 20, 2020

Illinois PTA calls for statewide learning recovery plan
As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. These truly essential employees have delivered our communities meals, provided health alerts and information, supported our children with a quick transition to remote learning, and served as vital lifelines for countless students and families. We are extremely grateful to them and applaud their strength and commitment.
Saturday, June 20, 2020

State on pace to enter Phase 4 June 26
Illinois’ unemployment rate fell to 15.2 percent in May, according to the state Department of Employment Security, representing a 2 percent drop from the previous month.

Nonfarm payrolls added 62,200 jobs in May based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job losses for April were also revised downward to 738,600 jobs lost, down from 762,200 in previous estimates.

Friday, June 19, 2020

University of Illinois announces fall in-person instruction
In-person instruction will take place in the fall at the University of Illinois, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place to protect students if the state has moved into Phase IV of its reopening schedule, officials said Thursday.

Students who don’t or can’t return to the central Illinois campus can take classes online, according to the university. Those who have signed up to live in university housing or freshmen required to live on campus will have to submit special documentation and receive approval to learn from a distance.

Friday, June 19, 2020

COVID-19 closes one suburban drivers office
The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has closed a Drivers Services Facility in suburban Chicago for two weeks, and staff is being quarantined for 14 days, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The Schaumburg facility will be closed until July 2, WBBM-TV reported.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Lawsuit says firm responsible for unemployment data breach
The firm contracted to launch an unemployment claims portal is solely responsible for a data breach that made available almost 33,000 Illinoisans’ personal information, a St. Clair County resident has alleged in a federal lawsuit.

The state Department of Employment Security announced on May 18 that the web-based system built and maintained by Deloitte Consulting LLP – an international business services company – to process some unemployment claims allowed public access of applicants’ names, Social Security numbers and street addresses.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Chicago ok to keep old police complaints
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that Chicago can keep all records of complaints against police officers that are more than five years old, delivering a victory for police reform advocates who say the records are crucial to keeping track of officers accused of brutality and misconduct.

Though the ruling is part of a legal battle that started long before last month's death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it deals with many of the issues that demonstrators have been raising at the widespread protests over Floyd's death, racial inequality and police accountability.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

State rep calls for investing in black communities
The St. Louis metropolitan area is no stranger to racial tension. In 2014, the Missouri-side suburb of Ferguson was rocked by protests and riots when an African American teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by police.
Brown’s death has been cited as one of several high-profile police killings that propelled the Black Lives Matter movement to national attention.

Now, in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer, the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining broad-based public support that crosses racial lines. It is inspiring protests and demonstrations throughout the U.S., including many cities in Illinois.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Governor announces $900 million in rent support, business relief and more
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday he will extend a moratorium on evictions in the state until July 31, and a new state grant program that will begin in August to give assistance to those who are behind on rent.

There will be $150 million dedicated to each an emergency rental assistance and emergency mortgage assistance program, which will begin in August. Those were two of several programs totaling $900 million in state aid that were highlighted in a Chicago news conference by Pritzker and legislative leaders.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

AG Raoul tests positive; gov to be tested
Attorney General Kwame Raoul has tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced in a news release Tuesday, and the governor plans to get retested as well.

“After experiencing minor symptoms over the weekend, I consulted with my health care provider using telehealth services. Upon the advice of my doctor, I was tested yesterday and informed today that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Raoul said in a news release.

Raoul said in the statement his symptoms remain mild and he continues to be in contact with staff to manage operations of his office. The programs and services provided by the attorney general’s office will continue uninterrupted, he said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

State lawmakers used procedural maneuver to secure firearms bill
New permanent regulations that govern licensed firearms dealers in Illinois have been approved 18 months after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law.

The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, gave its okay to the rules at a meeting Tuesday in Springfield.

The Firearms Dealers License Certification Act passed the General Assembly in May 2018, when Republican Bruce Rauner was governor. But knowing he was likely to veto it, lawmakers used a procedural maneuver to hold the bill until Democrat JB Pritzker took office in January. He signed it on Jan. 17, four days after being inaugurated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Governor Pritzker signs vote-by-mail expansion
Anyone who cast a ballot in the last three years or who registered to vote or changed addresses after the March primary will be sent an application to vote by mail after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill expanding the program Tuesday.

In a news release, Pritzker’s office said the program is aimed at ensuring “safe and active participation in the 2020 general election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1863 and House Bill 2238, which also expands early voting hours at permanent polling places and makes election day a state holiday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Chicago aldermen propose removing police officers from public schools
Chicago aldermen announced a plan Tuesday to remove police officers from city schools amid growing outcry for police reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The proposal ending the city’s $33 million deal with the Chicago Police Department follows similar action in Minneapolis and Seattle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

State GOP sues for same social gathering exclusion as churches, protests
The Illinois Republican Party wants to be excluded from the state’s social gathering restrictions, as it alleged in a federal lawsuit that churches and political demonstrations already enjoy such exclusions.

Throughout the year, the party holds a state convention, strategy meetings and candidate rallies — all with more than 10 people present. Under Gov. JB Pritzker’s May 29 executive order addressing the continued spread of COVID-19, those in-person gatherings are banned.

According to a court filing, the governor carved out an exception for religious institutions, which can hold socially-distanced services of more than 10 people. It also alleges he “declined to enforce” his order against protesters demanding an end to systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Perils of police at high speeds calls for more reform
A tragic chain of events that led to the death of a retired elementary teacher in Chicago started when a police officer confronted a man in a West Side alley. After issuing a call for help, the officer could be heard over the police radio screaming, “Drop the gun!”

Three minutes later and just two blocks away, two police vehicles speeding to the officer’s aid collided at an intersection, one catapulting the other onto a sedan taking 84-year-old Verona Gunn home after a family cookout. She died hours later on an operating table.

That crash last year and another this month that killed a young Chicago mother highlight a police reform issue that hasn’t received as much attention as the use of excessive force: The hundreds of deadly crashes involving speeding police that occur nationwide each year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Illinois announces expansion of emergency assistance programs
As Illinois prepares to enter the next phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan, his administration is launching a number of initiatives to help individuals and families who have been financially impacted from the economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Pritzker was in Belleville to announce the expansion of two existing programs, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program, or LIHEAP, and the Community Services Block Grant program, which provide food, utility and other kinds of assistance to people who are struggling financially.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

IDNR cancels 2020 waterfowl blind drawings
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced it has elected to cancel all waterfowl blind drawings for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Existing blind holders will be allowed to maintain their blinds through the 2020-2021 waterfowl season; drawings canceled in 2020, as well as those drawings scheduled for 2021, will resume in 2021.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Report: 75% of Chicago curfew violation arrestees were black
Black people made up 75% of those arrested in Chicago for alleged violations of a curfew imposed during demonstrations following George Floyd’s death, according to a newspaper report Sunday.

The Chicago Sun-Times analyzed data, obtained through an information request, for the first five days of a curfew imposed May 30 and lifted June 7. The newspaper found 329 of the 440 people arrested were identified as African American.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Officials: Illinoisans can preregister for license, ID needs
Illinois residents can preregister online when applying for a driver’s license or identification card, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Friday.

White said he hopes preregistering will save time at driver’s services facilities, where residents have encountered long lines after weeks of the offices being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Perspectives on Progress: West says listen to the 'unheard'
In the wake of the protests and violence that have beset many communities in Illinois, state Rep. Maurice West says he thinks it’s time for everyone to listen to the voices of people who rarely get to speak.

A Democrat from Rockford and a member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, West talked candidly during a podcast interview as part of Capitol News Illinois’ “Perspectives on Progress” series. He talked about the demonstrations that took place in his community and the mood of his constituents in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis by a white police officer May 25.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Chicago triples per capita police spending since '64
CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has rejected demands to defund the Chicago Police Department, arguing that neighborhoods want more police support.CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has rejected demands to defund the Chicago Police Department, arguing that neighborhoods want more police support.

But an analysis shows Chicago is spending more on policing per person than at any time in the last half-century despite a persistent drop in crime over the last two decades, while the vast majority of murders remain unsolved.

Chicago allocated about $750 million in today’s dollars to the police department in 1964 from the city’s general operating budget. About 3.5 million people lived in Chicago then, meaning the city funded the police at a rate of $215 or so per resident, adjusted for inflation.

This year, Chicago budgeted $1.6 billion for its police department, excluding money set aside for police misconduct lawsuits and police pensions. That means Chicago is planning to spend more than $600 per resident on policing in 2020, according to an Injustice Watch analysis of census figures and police budget appropriations compiled by data scientist Forest Gregg.

Chicago’s per capita spending on policing is more than double that in Miami-Dade County in Florida, which has a similar population, and higher than Los Angeles, which is home to 1 million more residents, according to an analysis of publicly available data.

Police records show violent crimes have steadily declined in Chicago after peaking in the 1990s. The rate at which police solve murders in the city has also cratered. Still, the police budget has consistently taken up about 40% of the city’s general operating budget.

For activists and city leaders calling on Lightfoot to cut the police budget, it’s clear that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

“Right now, we’re paying the police to kill folks like me, that’s what’s happening,” said Ald. Jeanette B. Taylor (20th), one of six democratic socialists on the City Council. “We can’t get a nurse, a social worker, or a counselor in schools, but we can always afford more police? That’s not common sense.”

Taylor and the rest of the caucus penned an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times Monday, arguing that the bloated police budget prevents the city from effectively tackling the coronavirus pandemic, which has carved a $700 million hole in the city’s 2020 budget.

“Chicago needs enormous public investment to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and when we sit down to hash out a budget this year, we will be faced with a choice: We can cut policing, or we can slash basically everything else,” the caucus wrote.

Protests continued this week in Chicago and around the nation, spurred by outrage over the May killing of George Floyd, who died in Minnesota after an officer knelt on his neck, and the long list of Black people killed by police. Protestors have decried systemic racism and called for police accountability, and demanded that police be defunded or abolished so governments can spend more money on social services.

The mayor’s office did not respond to specific questions about Injustice Watch’s analysis of police per capita spending. But at a news conference Tuesday, Lightfoot said she disagrees that adequately funding social services and keeping the police budget intact are mutually exclusive.

“I don’t think it’s an either-or proposition,” she said. “The investments we’re committed to make in mental health, in affordable housing, in workforce development, we need to make those investments, period. And we committed to that.”

While funding for the Chicago Police Department has steadily increased over time, the number of violent crimes committed in the city has fallen dramatically since its peak in the early 1990s.

What’s also dropped since then is the rate at which Chicago cops solve murders.

In 1967, the police reported solving 90% of homicide cases. By 1997, the murder clearance rate was 57%. In 2017, the department reported clearing less than one in four homicide cases. An analysis of police records by NPR from October showed the murder clearance rate was even more abysmal when the victim was Black or Latinx.

Nationally, police departments around the country had a murder clearance rate of about 62% in 2017, according to the FBI.

Despite its failures to find and capture most murderers, the Chicago Police Department budget nearly doubled between 1967 and 2017, going from $867 million to $1.5 billion, adjusted for inflation.

This year’s police budget is the largest on record. Salaries, wages, and overtime pay together take up more than 80% of the funds. There are more than 13,000 sworn Chicago police officers today, the most since 2008.

Municipal finance expert Michael D. Belsky said the most obvious way to slash the police budget is to have fewer officers on the city’s payroll. That means layoffs, said Belsky, executive director of the Center for Municipal Finance at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

But there’s no way to lay off scores of officers without going through the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, a trade union with nearly 350,000 members nationwide.

“It’s very difficult to remove someone; sometimes you have to go to arbitration, sometimes you end up getting sued by the officer and have to settle,” he said. “It’s not that easy to just take out your budget ax and start cutting unionized employees of any sort.”

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 in Chicago did not respond to requests to comment.

In a statement, the Chicago Police Department said it supports investments in community-based organizations and city departments that provide youth programming, family services, drug rehabilitation treatment, and other services. But the department did not answer specific questions about cutting its budget.

Tamar Manasseh, founder and president of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, or MASK, an anti-violence community group on the South Side, said she’s in no rush to dismantle the police department. But she thinks the city should redirect policing dollars to grassroots efforts that stomp out crime at the root.

“I don’t know if there’s enough commitment from the community yet to police our own neighborhoods, but I know that we can get there. We don’t need as many police as we have now,” she said.

Manasseh’s group is headquartered at a vacant lot straddling the border between Englewood and Auburn Gresham. The group prioritizes keeping the peace in the neighborhood without getting law enforcement involved.

“In the six years I’ve been here, sitting in one of the most dangerous corners of the city, I’ve never called 9-1-1, and I have yet to be murdered, even though this is a ‘hot spot,‘” she said.

Volunteers run MASK, but the group provides stipends to a handful of community residents that mediate disputes between other residents. The group also pays for a handful of young people to attend trade schools.

Manasseh said the city could learn from the group’s approach to reducing crime and violence in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

“We sent kids to a trade school and gave them a stipend, and guess what? Violence dropped,” she said. “We’re not asking the city to do anything that we haven’t experimented with — we know it works, and all you have to do is pay people to police their own communities and guess what? Everything will change.”

“You don’t want to do it too quickly, because when all hell breaks loose, the community will beg for the police to come back,” Manasseh said, “but if this is done the right way, it’s revolutionary.”

Matthew Wilbourn is a youth organizer with the anti-violence group GoodKids MadCity and (hash)NoCopAcademy, a coalition opposed to the construction of a $95 million police and fire training facility on the West Side. He said calls to defund the police force city leaders to reimagine what public safety could look like.

“I think people are very scared of that buzzword of ‘defunding’ the police because it sounds like you’re taking away, but it’s all about redistributing that money into something else,” he said.

“The mental health problem in Chicago is frightening, and it has to do with shootings and misunderstanding between people and the police because they’re not equipped to handle this.”

Wilbourn’s comments echo statements Chicago police Supt. David Brown made four years ago when he led the Dallas Police Department. In the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting that claimed the lives of five officers and injured nine others, Brown contended, “we’re asking cops to do too much in this country.”

“Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve,” he said. “Not enough mental health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to cops.”

“I’ll just ask other parts of our democracy — including the free press — to help us, to help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Additional 77 COVID deaths are reported; Chicago average 18 per day
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday 77 additional fatalities related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,260.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Extension offers advice on planting, caring for basil
URBANA — Nothing says summer like enjoying freshly harvested herbs from your garden or patio.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

New daily COVID-19 cases fall below 600 for the first time since March
SPRINGFIELD – The number of new novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, cases reported in the last 24 hours fell below 600 on Friday for the first time since March 30.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Perspectives on Progress: West says listen to the 'unheard' Rockford lawmaker, minister reflects on how to move forward
SPRINGFIELD – In the wake of the protests and violence that have beset many communities in Illinois, state Rep. Maurice West says he thinks it’s time for everyone to listen to the voices of people who rarely get to speak.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs cancelled due to COVID-19
SPRINGFIELD — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker is issuing an Executive Order cancelling the Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs this year. The announcement of the cancellations has prompted the Department of Agriculture to offer a safe, creative way to ensure youth exhibitors still get a chance to showcase their hard work. The annual State Fairs, which attracted over 600,000 visitors combined in 2019, will return in August 2021.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Data science helps guide Memorial Health System during virus pandemic
SPRINGFIELD — Cutting-edge data science that guided Memorial Health System’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year will serve patients well if cases rise in coming weeks and months, a Memorial official says.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Enter state writers competition now
ILLINOIS — Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced today that entry forms are available for the 16th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award.
Saturday, June 13, 2020

Honor flights suspended nationwide for 2020
ILLINOIS — Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) received notice today from its National governing organization that all honor flights nationwide have been suspended through the end of 2020 due to continued concerns related to COVID-19.   This was a difficult but necessary decision to ensure the safety and continued health of our country's most important national resource - - our Veteran heroes.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Perspectives on Progress: Evans says conversation with police should be about 'bad individuals'
SPRINGFIELD — Rep. Marcus Evans would like to see the conversation around policing in the U.S. and Illinois focus on “bad individuals” using police powers wrongly, rather than as a condemnation of policing in general.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Churchs file lawsuit claiming Reproductive Health Act's insurance mandate violates religious freedoms
SPRINGFIELD — Insurance provisions of Illinois’ reproductive health care law violates residents’ religious freedoms, a coalition of Baptist churches and two state businesses allege in a circuit court lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Nationwide Honor Flights have been suspended for the remainder of 2020 
ILLINOIS — Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) received notice today from its National governing organization that all honor flights nationwide have been suspended through the end of 2020 due to continued concerns related to COVID-19.   This was a difficult but necessary decision to ensure the safety and continued health of our country's most important national resource - - our Veteran heroes.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Chicago investigating officers 'lounging' during unrest
CHICAGO (AP) — More than a dozen Chicago police officers and supervisors were captured on video “lounging” inside a burglarized congressional campaign office and even appeared to be making popcorn and brewing coffee as people vandalized and stole from nearby businesses as protests and unrest spread across the city, a visibly angry Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
Friday, June 12, 2020

UIS drops admissions test requirement for 2021 due to virus
SPRINGFIELD — The University of Illinois Springfield will not require college bound high school seniors to submit standardized test scores as part of the application process for fall 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday, June 12, 2020

LLCC recognized for online learning
SPRINGFIELD – Lincoln Land Community College has been named a top school for online learning by the Guide to Online Schools in its recently published “2020 Best Online Community College Rankings by State.” 
Friday, June 12, 2020

Driver's facilities offer online preregistration for quicker service
ILLINOIS — Illinois Secretary of State office has launched an online driver’s license and ID card preregistration application program to reduce the processing time of transactions at Driver Services facilities. It is a proactive approach that will save customers time during their facility visit.
Friday, June 12, 2020

HSHS and Memorial Health System update visitor guidelines
SPRINGFIELD — Visitor restrictions put in place at Memorial Health System (MHS) and HSHS Illinois hospitals in March have been updated due to a decline in COVID-19 numbers in central and southern Illinois.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Jesse White launches driver's license/ID card preregistration application
ILLINOIS — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced today that his office has launched an online driver’s license and ID card preregistration application program to reduce the processing time of transactions at Driver Services facilities. It is a proactive approach that will save customers time during their facility visit.
Friday, June 12, 2020

Medical examiner confirms 9-month-old died from COVID-19
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Wednesday that a Chicago infant’s death in March was caused by COVID-19, a rare instance of a baby dying from the virus.
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Gov: Follow rules and we shouldn't see second spike
Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that Illinois is on pace to enter the next phase of reopening after COVID-19-related shutdowns later this month, and added he doesn’t expect a second surge of the virus in the fall as long as safety guidelines are followed.

“If you go to the (Illinois Department of Public Health) website you'll see that every one of the metrics, every one of the metrics by which the epidemiologists say we should be measuring our progress is going in the right direction,” the governor said. “Every one of them, and it's because of what everybody has done across the state.”

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Rep. Tarver urges honest conversations on race
Daily demonstrations held across Illinois and the U.S. calling for an end to systemic racism are bittersweet, according to state Rep. Curtis Tarver.

Public outcry after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, shows “there are more people out there who believe in good,” he said. But at the same time, it is “frustrating” because protests demanding racial equity have happened before and will happen again.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Governor signs $43-billion Illinois budget heavily reliant on federal assistance
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a state budget for fiscal year 2021 Wednesday, but there is no more financial clarity now than there was when lawmakers passed the measure last month.
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Chicago coronavirus survivor gets lung transplant
Surgeons in Chicago have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus.

Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Chicago cancels Lollapalooza and more
Chicago officials on Tuesday canceled Lollapalooza and other summer festivals through Labor Day, citing concerns about the spread of coronavirus as the pandemic’s financial toll worsened.

Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of people over four days to a lakefront park, generating more than $5 million for Chicago, but city officials said it was too risky with crowds packed close together.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Parts of Chicago's Navy Pier are reopening today
Chicago’s Navy Pier is reopening today, nearly three months after closing as part of state and city efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Initial reopening plans include outdoor restaurant spaces, tour boats, parking garages and outdoor parks and piers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Co-defendant in shooting of trooper enters plea
A co-defendant in the August 2019 fatal shooting of an Illinois State Police trooper has pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge.

U.S. District Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel has ordered Al Stewart Jr., 20, to remain in jail until his sentencing in September. Stewart had been indicted on one count of unlawfully using a controlled substance while in possession of a gun. He faces armed violence, obstruction of justice and unlawful delivery of cannabis in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

State rep calls for systemic reforms after protests
In the wake of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, Chicago-area Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch is calling for a statewide response to hold police accountable for excessive use of force and to address what he sees as “institutional racism” that has devastated many black communities in Illinois.

“We need a statewide system where bad police officers can be held accountable for the deaths of our black men and women in Illinois and across this country,” he said during a recent interview. “We can't have police officers fired from one department and then bouncedto another department. We have to hold them accountable. But we also have to address poverty. We have to create a pipeline to advance black students at community colleges, state colleges and private universities.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Governor celebrates importance of child care as state begins to reopen
Gov. JB Pritzker highlighted the importance of child care and early childhood education on Tuesday as he traveled to Decatur to celebrate the reopening of the local Boys and Girls Club there, which was closed for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor was joined by two of the area’s lawmakers — Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur — at a news conference in the facility’s gym. Pritzker said much of the reason why community centers such as the one in Decatur are able to reopen is because of the funding they’ve received in recent state budgets.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Chicago loses another big trade show
The financial cost of the coronavirus crisis in Chicago continues to climb as another major trade show has been canceled.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show that was scheduled to be held at McCormick Place in September is the latest trade show to be scrapped because of the pandemic.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

News group launches diversity podcast
Capitol News Illinois launched its new “Perspectives on Progress” podcast series Monday to broadcast conversations about race in America and Illinois.

To begin the series, the Statehouse news bureau reached out to the 31 members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to hear their perspectives and share their experiences with racism and their thoughts on what actions, legislatively or otherwise, are needed to move forward.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Pritzker calls on insurers to expedite claims for looted, damaged businesses
Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Insurance are calling on insurers to expedite claims and payments to businesses hit by looters in recent days.

“It is my expectation and the expectation of the Illinois Department of Insurance that insurance companies will do everything in their power to give their customers the resources they need to rebuild and get back on their feet as soon as possible,” Pritzker said. “To that end, my administration has been in consultation with major insurance companies on the quick and robust support they should provide Illinois business owners who have experienced property damage, including but not limited to riots, vandalism and looting.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Lincoln mayor quits; aldermen will select new one
Aldermen in the central Illinois city of Lincoln are expected to meet this week to choose an acting mayor after the incumbent resigned last week, city officials said Monday.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Read Illinois: Prominent Illinoisans each recommend 5 books about Illinois
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s Renewing Illinois program encourages Illinois university students to discuss and debate creative solutions to revitalize the Prairie State. While preparing background materials for the students who will participate in our annual summit, we recognized the need to provide additional sources to allow them to delve more deeply into the history, politics, and literature of Illinois.
Monday, June 8, 2020

Some Illinois offices open, while others remain closed
Some Illinois employees have returned to work, but many state offices have not reopened since they closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Secretary of State Jesse White is the first elected official to reopen offices in the state. He opened driver services offices this week allowing people to obtain or renew licenses in person, The State Journal-Register reported.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Elderly suburban Chicago woman fatally mauled by dog
An elderly suburban Chicago woman has been fatally mauled by a dog, authorities said.

Kati Amos, 70, was attacked by a dog about 10:35 a.m. Wednesday in south suburban Country Club Hills, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Nation cannot afford sloppy election count
This essay is not about who should be elected president in November, but about something arguably as important: How to avoid a sloppy election count, which could throw the nation into chaos.

Election counts have been politicized throughout American history. As we are both native to Illinois, we have beaucoup homegrown examples. Over the early history of Chicago, for example, honest elections were considered quaint. In an 1883 election in the Windy City, the second precinct of the Ninth Ward recorded 1,183 votes — from the total of 351 persons found to be living in the precinct. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and other distinguished Americans were among those who signed in as voters. Need we go on?

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Illinois reports 59 more virus deaths; cat tests positive
Illinois on Friday reported 59 new deaths related to COVID-19, raising the total to nearly 5,800.

The state also said a cat recently tested positive for COVID-19 while in a house with people who had also tested positive.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Illinois among top states for ag coronavirus assistance
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, 2020 and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this relief program.

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers.”

Friday, June 5, 2020

Surge of new unemployment claims starting to slow as businesses reopen
While new unemployment claims remained historically high in the final week of May, the surge of new claims since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be starting to slow as a number of businesses begin to reopen after two months of forced closure.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 46,522 workers in Illinois filed first-time claims during the week that ended Saturday, May 30.  While that number would be considered shockingly high in normal times, it was actually 20 percent lower than the week before when 58,263 new claims were filed.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Raoul asks for power to investigate police misconduct
Illinois’ attorney general asked Congress in a letter Thursday to grant his office the power to investigate “practices of unconstitutional policing.”

After Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police officers in 1991, federal lawmakers established the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. It allowed the Department of Justice to investigate alleged police wrongdoings.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and 17 other attorneys general who signed on to the letter requested that authority as well due to the federal government’s “refusal to confront the problem of police misconduct.”

Friday, June 5, 2020

COVID-19: State allows summer school openings
Summer schools can open with safety guidelines in place and state-run COVID-19 testing sites are now open to everyone.

The state made the latest two announcements as it encouraged anyone who has recently attended a mass protest to get tested for novel coronavirus disease.

“As we move forward, COVID-19 testing must be widely available and this is a step in that direction,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a news release. “The state-operated community-based testing sites currently have the capacity to test more than 6,000 people per day, and now there will be no restrictions to who can be tested for this potentially deadly virus.”

Friday, June 5, 2020

COVID-19 positivity continues to decline as testing sites reopen
Ten of Illinois’ 11 community based COVID-19 testing sites reopened Wednesday after temporary closures amid statewide unrest and protests.

The state made the announcement on the same day the Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 982 new cases of the virus among 24,471 tests processed in the last 24 hours. That made the positivity rate for the day 4 percent as the number of cases per person tested continues to decline.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from May 27 through June 2 is 6 percent, according to IDPH.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Chicago police under investigation
Several Chicago police officers are under investigation after a video surfaced showing them yanking two women out of a car and throwing them to the ground, and one of the women alleges one of the officers put his knee on her neck while restraining her.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has launched an investigation into the encounter Sunday at Brickyard Mall on the city’s West Side in which police said in a statement that Mia Wright was charged with disorderly conduct.

During the encounter, Wright, 25, said “they threw me to the ground, and he (the officer) proceeded to put his knee on my neck.”

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Still time to submit ag photos for the state contest
As the June 24th deadline quickly approaches, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today encouraged young photographers to get out, explore, and snap a few photos (while social distancing) to submit for the 2020 Cream of the Crop Photo Contest.  

The 8th annual contest encourages young photographers to share their vision of agriculture in our state.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lawmakers seek emeregency meeting of Legislature
Three members of the Illinois Legislature want lawmakers to return to Springfield for an emergency legislative session to address criminal justice reform and rebuilding communities in the wake of “protests and subsequent civil unrest” in recent days.
Thursday, June 4, 2020

Gun violence surges in Chicago: 20 shot in 12 hours
A surge of gun violence over the past two weekends in Chicago is continuing with more than 20 people shot in a 12-hour period.

The spate of shootings has left the city with more homicides than either of the last two years during the same period and puts the city on a similar pace as in 2016 and 2017 — two of the most violent years in Chicago since the 1990s.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Gov: 'Change will come from peaceful protests'
The “structural change” demanded by protestors around Illinois will come from nonviolent demonstrations coupled with policy reforms, Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday.

Speaking at a blended-income housing development in Chicago called KLEO Art Residences, the governor said “community activism and peaceful organizing and faith” are the keys to “real” transformations demanded after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died May 25 in Minneapolis after being pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes with a white police officer’s knee on his neck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

It's official: Restaurants and bars can serve cocktails to go
Illinois restaurants and bars can serve cocktails to go Tuesday after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an initiative designed by lawmakers to provide establishments with financial relief in the wake of COVID-19 challenges.

Those businesses are “some of the hardest hit” by the public health emergency, the governor said in a press release after signing the bill into law.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Chicago's Loop reopens today in wake of protests
The general public was allowed to enter Chicago’s central business district and its commercial areas today, several days after roads were closed to limit access after violence erupted in the wake of marches protesting the death of George Floyd, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was announced Tuesday.

The resumption of access to the downtown area comes as the city begins to reopen after weeks of being shutdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Illinois Black Caucus says there's 'Far too much to accomplish' to let looting take away from message
Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus detailed their ongoing fight for racial equality and made calls for the end of looting at a news conference held at a recently-looted strip mall Tuesday on the south side of Chicago.

“What we are seeing is pent up anger and frustration and neglect manifest itself in a very ugly way, but pain is ugly, and when people have had enough, it comes out in all forms,” state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said at the event. “But don't get me wrong, I do not condone destruction of property, especially in our own communities, where you lay your own head.

“But I understand the sense of hopelessness that people are feeling. And I'm tired of people telling me, and us in the Black Caucus, what to do instead of simply providing opportunities for us and our people.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pritzker mobilizes more Guard
One day after calling up 375 members of the Illinois National Guard in Chicago, Gov. JB Pritzker announced another 250 guardsmen will be activated as he issued disaster proclamations for nine counties amid ongoing protests and riots across the state.

“Since that deployment, we have received additional reports of escalating situations and requests for assistance from communities around the state,” Pritzker said at a news conference in Chicago Monday. “We have now called up an additional 250 members of the Illinois National Guard, to be ready to assist other cities across the state that have faced a surge of destructive action, notably looting, over the last 24 hours.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Trump admonishes governors for being weak; Pritzker concerned about rhetoric
A conference call between U.S. governors and Republican President Donald Trump led to the latest in a series of spats between Illinois’ governor and the president Monday.

"You have to dominate, if you don't dominate you're wasting your time. They're going to run over you. You're going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate," Trump told the governors, according to CBS news, which obtained audio recordings of the call.

Trump reportedly admonished the governors for what he deemed a weak response to protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Minneapolis man who died Monday, May 25, after being pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes with a white police officer’s knee on his neck.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

4 killed in truck-auto crash in Decatur
Four people were killed in a collision in Decatur between a car and a semi-trailer truck early Monday, according to authorities there.

Six people were riding in the auto when it collided with the truck at an intersection. Macon County coroner Michael E. Day identified the victims as Shonez Harper, 23, Keithsah C.S. Bowman, 20, Brittany King, 19, and Armani Cooper, 23, all of Decatur. All died from injuries ranging from “traumatic arrest” to internal and head trauma, Day said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Illinois man who went to Minneapolis to 'riot' faces charges
An Illinois man who allegedly traveled to Minneapolis to participate in riots after the death of George Floyd has been arrested and charged with federal counts, after prosecutors say videos posted to his Facebook page showed him handing out explosives and damaging property.

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesville, Illinois, was arrested in Chicago and charged Monday by criminal complaint with three counts, including civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Two killed during demonstrations in Chicago suberb of Cicero
Two people were killed Monday during unrest in the Chicago suburb of Cicero as protests continued over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, according a town official.

Spokesman Ray Hanania said in addition to the deaths, 60 people were arrested during the unrest in the town of about 84,000 located west of Chicago, where the Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff’s Office were called in to help local police as people broke into a liquor store and other businesses and stole items. Hanania didn’t provide additional information about those killed or the circumstances of their deaths.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

More than 1,000 gather, mostly peaceful protest organized by teens in Springfield
A peaceful protest organized largely by teenagers drew several hundred people to the Illinois Statehouse on Monday to demonstrate against the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota and countless other African Americans who have died at the hands of law enforcement throughout the U.S. in recent years.

Monday’s protest came the day after an estimated 3,000 vehicles took part in a parade through the state capital’s downtown area while more violent protests gripped Chicago and other major cities throughout the U.S.

Protests were also reported in Champaign, Aurora and Rockford, according to the Illinois State Police.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Charity offers diapers, school supplies to families in need
Every Tuesday afternoon, families find a lifeline at the Addison Children’s Center.

Angelina Perez receives a care package for her three children while schools and prekindergarten programs are shut down. With her hours reduced at work in the restaurant industry, the supplies provided by Metropolitan Family Services DuPage help ease some of the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’re always checking on us, asking if we need help with anything,” the Addison mom, 29, said. “It’s just a good program.”

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pritzker deploys 375 National Guard soldiers to Chicago
In the wake of violence, looting and arson that gripped the city of Chicago over the weekend, Gov. JB Pritzker said Sunday he has deployed 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers to aid the city’s police department and other first responders in maintaining law and order.

The violence broke out Saturday night in Chicago and many other cities across the United States in response to the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died Monday, May 25, after being pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes with a white police officer’s knee on his neck.

Monday, June 1, 2020

19 killed, 63 wounded in Chicago weekend gun violence
Nineteen people were killed and at least 63 others were wounded by gun violence in Chicago’s most violent weekend of the year so far, the Chicago-Sun-Times  reported.
Monday, June 1, 2020

Illinois to offer free meals to youth during summer break
Illinois will offer free meals to school-aged children at hundreds of sites this summer, using options such as home delivery and drive-through distribution to ensure families that need help can get it during the pandemic.
Monday, June 1, 2020

IDPH: 1,622 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 86 virus-related deaths
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday, the first day Illinois’ economy operated under more relaxed restrictions, his stay-at-home order is replaced by one reflective of “our new, more open reality.”
Saturday, May 30, 2020

Memorial expands telehealth with online platform
SPRINGFIELD — Memorial Health System has launched a major expansion of telehealth to provide safe and convenient outpatient services when an in-person visit isn’t required.
Saturday, May 30, 2020

HSHS issues advice on recognizing signs of stroke
SPRINGFIELD — For patients experiencing a stroke, immediate treatment can be a matter of life and death. Yet, for some stroke victims, fear of exposure to the coronavirus may cause them to hesitate.
Saturday, May 30, 2020

LLCC hosting discussion on pandemic's impact on area restaurants
SPRINGFIELD — Lincoln Land Community College’s Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) has quickly adapted to virtual programming, embracing learning, exercise and interaction while also supporting local businesses. ALL is kicking off June programming with a focus on local restaurants.
Saturday, May 30, 2020

And now: 28 days until Phase Four
CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced an end to his 10-week-old stay-at-home order, declaring that every region of the state has met conditions necessary to allow more social interaction amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Friday, May 29, 2020

Governor lifts ban on worship services
SPRINGFIELD — People in Illinois will be allowed to attend worship services starting this weekend without fear of prosecution as the state enters Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” reopening plan.
Friday, May 29, 2020

State files emergency rules for long-term care facilities
CHICAGO — The state health department filed emergency rules Thursday mandating long-term care facilities to develop testing plans to better protect residents and ensure they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic appropriately.
Friday, May 29, 2020

Another effort to free professor accused of murder
CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for a former Northwestern University professor charged in the murder of his boyfriend argued Thursday he should be released on $1.5 million bail before trial.
Friday, May 29, 2020

Legislators can't agree on whether they've given themselves a raise or not
SPRINGFIELD – The complexities of Illinois’ legislator pay laws were on display again this week as the state’s comptroller insisted in a video message that there will be no raises for lawmakers this year.
Friday, May 29, 2020

Pritzker lifts ban on worship services starting Friday
SPRINGFIELD — People in Illinois will be allowed to attend worship services starting this weekend without fear of prosecution as the state enters Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” reopening plan.
Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID-19 death toll in Illinois surpasses 5,000
Illinois passed a grim milestone in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor JB Pritzker announced Wednesday that 160 additional virus-related deaths had been reported over the previous 24 hours, bring the statewide total so far to 5,083.

“These are real people whose lives came to an end because of this pandemic,” he said. “They are grandparents and uncles and aunts and parents, cousins, children, friends. They had whole lives that were cut short because COVID-19 knows no boundaries and only seeks to destroy.”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

At last: Illinois enters Recovery
Illinois will advance to the “Recovery” phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to incrementally reopen the state’s economy on Friday after almost 70 days of residents living under a stay-at-home restriction.

It comes as Illinois is one of only two states to meet federal COVID-19 guidelines to reopening, according to a ProPublica analysis. New York is the other.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Legislators won't get pay raise after all
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza made known in a video she released Wednesday that state legislators will not be getting raises in the next budget year, which begins July 1.

The issue of a pay raise for legislators came up as they debated budget details in the early-morning hours Sunday. Republican legislators balked at the idea of a raise being included in the state’s approximately $40 billion, coronavirus-challenged spending plan for the next fiscal year.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Two counties in Illinois have yet to report a single virus case
In the early weeks and months of COVID-19’s presence in Illinois, state health leaders have cautioned people, especially those downstate, that the novel coronavirus is likely in their community even if their rural county had yet to report a case.

But now that testing has surpassed 800,000 – more than 6 percent of the state’s population – it remains a mystery why two counties, which have run hundreds of tests between the two of them, have yet to report a single COVID-19 case.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Pritzker: Illinois is past its peak
For the first time since Illinois had its first reported case of COVID-19 in January, the state saw fewer deaths in a week than in the previous week.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that 780 people died from the virus this past week. There were 790 deaths the previous week.

And although that number “represents 780 individuals who lost their lives and families and loved ones and communities who are mourning those deaths,” Ezike said it makes her “hopeful that this fact is the beginning of a downward trend.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lawmaker begins attempt to remove gov from office
An Illinois lawmaker dissatisfied with Gov. JB Pritzker’s handling of the large number of COVID-19-related unemployment claims is calling on his colleagues to support an effort to remove the governor from office.

Republican Rep. Allen Skillicorn, of Crystal Lake, said lack of staffing at the Illinois Department of Employment Security and its website’s disclosure of sensitive information is evidence of Pritzker’s “continued inaction.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Only half of Americans say they would get vaccine
Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Illinois prepares to begin to reopen
Barbers and their customers will have to wear face masks. Restaurants will be able to serve diners outdoors only, with parties no larger than six people, spaced apart. And youth sports may hold practices and drills for 10 or fewer people, as long as the water fountains are shut off and other rules followed.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Grants will help expand broadband access
A new state grant program will provide communities with money and expertise to expand broadband capacity and improve digital access as more people work, shop and go to school online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The $150,000 Illinois Connected Communities grant program will provide grants of up to $15,000, on a competitive basis.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Judge: Illinois federal courts will look 'quite different'
The chief judge of federal courts in Northern Illinois says things will look “quite different” as some operations resume at courthouses in Chicago and Rockford.

Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said in a video message released Monday that a task force has been planning for how courts can proceed safely during the coronavirus pandemic. She said the court will issue an order Tuesday outlining details.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Board okays O'Hare airport access to Interstate 490
The Illinois Tollway board has approved agreements with two major railroads that help clear the way for a western highway access into O’Hare International Airport that tollway officials have long argued is crucial to the airport’s expansion.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Chicago sees deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015
Ten people were killed and another 39 were wounded in weekend shootings in Chicago in what despite a statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order was the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in the city since 2015.

Chicago police increased patrols in anticipation of a spike in violence, as typically occurs over the Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day weekends. But when it was over, according to data maintained by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, there were three more homicides than recorded in either of the holiday weekends of 2018 and 2019. And the the total came within two of the 12 who did over the same weekend in 2015.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Driver's facilities reopening on June 1 with targeted service
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced today his office’s reopening plan, beginning June 1, with the first two months focused on serving ONLY new drivers, customers with expired driver’s licenses/ID cards and vehicle transactions. Currently there are more than 700,000 expired driver’s licenses/ID cards and 1.9 million expired vehicle registrations.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Illinois Medal of Honor recipient: Award belongs to those who didn't make it home
It was February 23, 1945, when Corporal Hershel “Woody” Williams of the 3rd Marine Division earned an honored place in Marine Corps history. His unit was fighting its way north on a tiny patch of land known as Iwo Jima. After only three days of combat, his company of 275 Marines now had only 17 effectives. Of the seven flamethrower operators in the unit, Woody was the only one still in the fight.
Monday, May 25, 2020

Restore Illinois commission bill passes after delays
A broad-ranging bill creating a limited oversight panel of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan among other measures passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on Saturday night after its two most controversial provisions were removed in the House.

The removed measures would have temporarily delayed Freedom of Information Act law requirements and allowed the General Assembly to meet remotely during a pandemic.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Churches holding services say they're careful
Illinois churches holding services Sunday despite warnings about health risks during the coronavirus pandemic said they’re taking precautions to protect congregants, from scrapping communion to requiring masks.

While President Donald Trump’s Friday order declaring houses of worship essential prompted some to expand, others said it was simply time to reopen as more people suffer in the pandemic.

Monday, May 25, 2020

COVID-19 deaths near 5,000 state wide, but positivity rate stays below 10%
With the state now just five days away from the potential Phase 3 of reopening under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, the percentage of COVID-19 test results that are positive is important.

With a reported 25,674 tests reported during the past 24 hours, the rate of positive results was 9.77 percent, the second consecutive day below 10 percent. The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate is now 12 percent, the IDPH reported

Monday, May 25, 2020

Illinois lawmakers pass $40B budget
Lawmakers approved a state operating budget shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, but despite the passage of the document, nothing about the next fiscal year is black and white.

The state is depending on a broad package providing federal monetary aid to states passing through the U.S. Congress, or, failing that, borrowing up to $5 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve at an interest rate of approximately 3.8 percent.

Monday, May 25, 2020

US intervenes in case challenging Pritzker
The U.S. Justice Department intervened Friday in a lawsuit challenging Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The federal government filed a statement of interest in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis supporting the lawsuit filed by Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey challenging some of Pritzker's actions in response to the pandemic. The department is also challenging the moving of Bailey's lawsuit to federal court and asserts Pritzker is acting in violation of Illinois law.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Chicago Police plan more holiday, summer weekend patrols
Chicago Police are increasing patrols and other agencies will help staff a new operations center beginning this weekend as the Memorial Day holiday marks a traditional summer kickoff.
Saturday, May 23, 2020

Chicago mayor estimates city can begin reopening in June
Chicago cannot begin to loosen restrictions designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus before early June, officials in the nation’s third-largest city said Friday.

Chicago, like the rest of Illinois, has been under a stay-at-home order since March 21. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said all parts of the state are on track for restrictions to begin loosening on May 29. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, though, said she could not provide residents with a specific date when the city can loosen restrictions but that she hopes it can move forward in early June.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

House puts final stamp on graduated tax language
The language of the graduated income tax ballot measure is finalized after the House joined the Senate in approving it Friday.

It will read: “The proposed amendment grants the State authority to impose higher income tax rates on higher income levels, which is how the federal government and a majority of other states do it. The amendment would remove the portion of the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution that is sometimes referred to as the "flat tax," that requires all taxes on income to be at the same rate. The amendment does not itself change tax rates. It gives the State the ability to impose higher tax rates on those with higher income levels and lower income tax rates on those with middle or lower income levels. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become a part of the Illinois Constitution.”

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Illinois changes way it reports nursing home virus cases
The state of Illinois is no longer providing the total numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths at long-term care facilities, choosing instead to disclose information about recent outbreaks.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the state’s Department of Public Health on Friday began to provide information only on nursing homes and other facilities that have at least one new coronavirus case in the last four weeks. The department as of Friday stopped publishing information about those facilities that had cases earlier in the pandemic but have not had any cases in the past 28 days.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Senate OKs graduated tax language for ballot, voter pamphlet
The Illinois Senate took the chamber’s last step in putting language for a graduated income tax constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot and publishing arguments for and against the measure in pamphlet form.

The Illinois Constitution Amendment Act requires the General Assembly to prepare a brief explanation of the proposed amendment, a brief argument in favor, a brief argument against, and the form in which the amendment will appear on the ballot in a pamphlet that will be distributed to voters.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pritzker administration working on guidance for reopening next week
Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday his administration is developing guidelines for local governments and businesses to follow as the state prepares to enter the next phase of reopening the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He reiterated that all four regions of the state are on track to enter Phase 3 of the reopening plan on May 29, when offices, barber shops, beauty salons and most retail businesses will be allowed to reopen under capacity limits and social distancing guidelines. People will also be allowed to gather in groups of 10 or fewer people.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Chicago mayor: City won't be ready for outdoor dining in May
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s restaurants won’t be ready for outdoor dining this month after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker eased restrictions for restaurants starting May 29.

Lightfoot said June is more likely and she’s open to the possibility of closing streets to allow restaurants the space to operate. She said there are many considerations about safety, in addition to making sure restaurants of all sizes have similar opportunities.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Illinois House Republicans call for - but don't expect - vote on reopening plan
House Republicans are calling for — but not expecting — a vote to be taken on Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan this week while lawmakers are in Springfield for an abbreviated legislative session.

Before the legislative session began Wednesday for the first time since March, four downstate members of the House GOP caucus hosted a video news conference arguing for more input from the General Assembly — a coequal branch of state government to executive authority. They also argued for a more regionalized approach.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Bourne: Increasing taxes on our small businesses is last thing we should do now
With Illinois small businesses reeling from the loss of revenue tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor's response, State Representative Avery Bourne  is co-sponsoring legislation that would remove the graduated income tax question from the November ballot.
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lawmaker refuses to wear mask, is ousted
The Illinois House voted Wednesday afternoon to remove Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey, of Xenia, from session at the Bank of Springfield Center after he refused to comply with a facial-covering requirement in newly-adopted House rules.

In a bipartisan vote, the Illinois House adopted rules Wednesday that include a requirement for members, staff members and visitors to the special session to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, if they are medically able to do so.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

IDPH withdraws rule calling for criminal charges
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that it plans to withdraw a controversial emergency rule that would have allowed for criminal charges against businesses that open in violation of Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

Instead, Pritzker announced Wednesday that he will pursue legislation while the General Assembly meets in special session this week. He said that bill will call for civil penalties for violations rather than criminal sanctions.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

State lawmakers, 6-feet apart, catch up on delayed work
Illinois legislators approved extraordinary safety rules Wednesday as they convened for the first time in 10 weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting the highly unusual step of removing a Republican from the House floor when he refused to wear a face mask.

The Legislature has canceled all its scheduled meetings since early March because of health guidelines to keep at least 6 feet of space between two people, which is nearly impossible in the close quarters of the Capitol.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Illinois Supreme Court allows circuits to design their own reopening plans
Illinois’ 24 chief judges can decide when to reopen courthouses across the state to in-person proceedings, the state Supreme Court ordered Wednesday.

Each circuit is encouraged to continue holding remote hearings as frequently as possible, an extension of the highest court’s previous guidance. But beginning June 1 and in consultation with local health departments, courthouses may hold jury trials, lawsuit arguments and other actions in a courtroom.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Chicago teachers union sues DeVos over special ed
The Chicago Teachers Union on Wednesday announced it is suing U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the city’s public school district, saying its policies interfere with the education of students with special needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

DeVos and Chicago Public Schools have failed “to provide resources and guidance for special education students“ during the public health crisis, the union said in a news release announcing the federal lawsuit.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Outdoor dining added to next phase
As the entire state remains on pace to enter the next phase of reopening in just nine days, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a major addition to the allowed activities under the phase: outdoor dining at restaurants.

Pritzker on Wednesday said restaurants will be able to open outdoor seating to customers when the businesses’ region moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois reopening plan, which all four regions are on pace to do on May 29.

“With the right restrictions, tables six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff and other precautions, the experts believe that these services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 briefing in his office at the Capitol, the first time he’s held a briefing in Springfield since March 16.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Third-party candidates now have until only July 20 to get needed signatures
Third-party candidates will have a little less extra time to get petition signatures this election cycle after a federal judge amended her earlier order last week.

Rebecca Pallmeyer, chief judge of the Northern District Federal Court, in April had extended the deadline for third-party candidates to get the required signatures to be on the Nov. 3 ballot from June 22 to Aug. 7. She also cut the number of signatures required by 90 percent.

But two weeks later, the Illinois State Board of Elections asked Pallmeyer to make the deadline earlier to give election officials enough time to have ballots ready.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Members violating precautions could be removed
The state’s COVID-19 response and operating budget will unsurprisingly be on the top of the agenda for lawmakers when they return for a socially distanced session this week, according to an email distributed to Illinois House members Tuesday.

The House will meet today through Friday at the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield, while the Senate will convene at the Capitol in its regular chamber.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Republicans hope to block rules making some business openings a crime
Republicans in the Illinois House said Tuesday they will attempt to block an emergency rule from the Illinois Department of Public Health that makes it a crime for any business to violate Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

IDPH submitted the rule to the secretary of state’s office Friday. It essentially codifies portions of Pritzker’s stay-at-home order into an administrative rule. Under existing state law, known as the Department of Public Health Act, violation of an IDPH order is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

We'll enter 'Recovery' in 10 days
All of Illinois is “on track” to progress into the next phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state safely, he said Tuesday during his daily update teleconference in Chicago.

The current phase of the plan allows residents to visit golf courses and state parks, retail shops to deliver orders placed remotely and medical centers to allow elective surgeries to resume.

By moving into the “Recovery” phase in 10 days, offices, salons, barbershops and manufacturers will begin to return with some capacity restrictions. Pritzker said the progress in various metrics — including the rate of positive COVID-19 tests, hospital admissions and ventilator availability — is “terrific news.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Special Consensus hosts a barn dance
Chicago blues is a sound and a brand. Chicago bluegrass has a more obscure history, and the band Special Consensus honors that past on "Chicago Barn Dance."
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

GOP seeks to removed graduated tax from ballot
State Republican leadership is pushing for a vote in the upcoming legislative session to remove a graduated income tax amendment question from the November general election ballot.

“Times have changed dramatically since this initiative was first put forward,” Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said Monday in a video news conference. “But never more has our state's economy been challenged than it will be, and is today.”

But Gov. JB Pritzker has said the revenues anticipated from the graduated income tax – estimated at more than $3.5 billion in its first full fiscal year before the COVID-19 pandemic – are now more important than ever amid uncertainty created by the spread of the virus.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Virus outbreak helps to sack Ditka's restaurant
The coronavirus outbreak has contributed to the closing of Ditka’s restaurant on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Ditka’s Restaurant Group announced Monday that it will permanently close the downtown location because of her ongoing economic impact of the outbreak and the impending end of its lease

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

DuPage County honors fallen heroes online this Memorial Day
A suburban Chicago county has found a way to honor its fallen heroes this Memorial Day, even as the coronavirus pandemic has forced communities to cancel their celebrations.

DuPage County has created an interactive, online site for people to share stories, photos and memories to honor loved ones or friends. The website also features poems, quotes and videos, including one in which “Taps” is performed at Arlington National Cemetery and another that explains the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Pilot rescued at state park after plane crashed into tree
The pilot of a small plane has been rescued after the plane he was flying crashed and got stuck in a tree in Argyle Lake State Park, authorities said.

The McDonough County Sheriff’s Office said the plane crashed Friday, trapping the 75-year-old pilot in a tree about 50 feet in the area.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Fear of the future: Class of 2020 enters a world in crisis
Tyler Lyson watched his parents’ financial collapse in the Great Recession, a decade ago. He vowed he’d find the security they never had: He would get a college degree.

The 27-year-old won a full scholarship to the University of California-Berkeley and, on Monday, will become the first in his family to graduate from college. “I’m supposed to be doing great,” he said.

Monday, May 18, 2020

New unemployment portal's 'glitch' made private data public
State officials blamed a “glitch” in Illinois’ new online system for processing unemployment benefits for briefly making the private information of some applicants public.

An Illinois Department of Employment Security website showed claimants’ Social Security numbers and other details, according to WBEZ.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh characterized it as a “glitch.” The information belonged to independent contractors, who became eligible for jobless aid this year.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Gov.: Testing is key to reopening
SPRINGFIELD – As the COVID-19-related death toll surpassed 4,000 Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is focusing on expanding the number of tests performed each day – an effort he said is critical to reopening the state’s economy.
Saturday, May 16, 2020

State agencies unsure about reopening pools
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois park districts are uncertain whether public pools can safely open this season due to the coronavirus outbreak,  which has disrupted schedules for summer programming.
Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pandemic claims 118-yr-old J.C. Penney
NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the storied but troubled department store chain J.C. Penney into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is the fourth major retailer to meet that fate.
Saturday, May 16, 2020









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