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Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* I nominate this as the most perfectly performed song ever

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Campaign notebook

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* GOP gubernatorial candidate…


Gee. Strategies for equity and diversity. In a diverse state, of all places.

Also, clever phrasing, but $5.1 billion would be more than half of Illinois’ K-12 budget.

* Sullivan’s tweet is based on this Fox News story

Blue states across the country are using billions of taxpayer dollars from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package to push core tenets of critical race theory (CRT) in public schools.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, which the Democrats passed in March 2021 without any Republican support, was billed by the Democratic Party as a necessity for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the law provided over $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), which helped multiple states implement “implicit bias” and “anti-racism” training, among other programs, according to research from One Nation shared with and verified by Fox News Digital.

* NRCC…

Hi there –

Fox News reports Illinois is using $5.1 billion in COVID relief money to teach students Critical Race Theory.

Illinois is one of a handful of states “that have used or plan to use billions of dollars in ARP funding for their state education departments to implement certain tenets of CRT.”

NRCC Comment: “Illinois children are being taught Critical Race Theory because Sean Casten, Marie Newman, Bill Foster, and Lauren Underwood voted for Democrats’ corrupt socialist stimulus.” – NRCC Spokeswoman Courtney Parella

* Emily Bittner at the governor’s office…

This story is a sensationalized lie about a manufactured far right boogeyman. Illinois is committed to teaching history accurately and has worked to make schools more equitable and inclusive for all students and staff – which is a strange and troubling thing to see Republicans criticize. They want to take schools back to the 1950s, and Governor Pritzker stands firm in his commitment to make sure schools are safe and welcoming centers of learning.

…Adding… DPI…

“Instead of focusing on cutting costs, supporting our education system, or safeguarding public health, Illinois Republicans seem to be more interested in banning books, defunding public schools, and inserting their extremist views into the classroom,” said Jake Lewis, Deputy Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois. “While the Illinois Republican Party moves even further to the right, Democrats have passed another balanced budget, led the state to its third credit upgrade, and fought to lower costs for all families. Illinois voters will not let the Republican Party roll back the clock on the progress our state has made.”

* Meanwhile, this looks like fun…


* Delia…

Today, Delia Ramirez’s campaign for Congress announced the endorsement of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) which represents 14,000 members in Illinois, many living in the 3rd Congressional District, working for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

“Representative Ramirez has a track record of fighting to improve the lives of workers and every resident of Illinois. Her legislative accomplishments on affordable housing, healthcare for seniors and education are without a doubt exemplary of her unwavering commitment to working families. We are proud to support her campaign and look forward to continuing to partner with Leader Ramirez to fight for workers and infrastructure funding at the federal level,” said Deborah Cosey- Lane, Illinois State Conference Board President.

In addition, Representative Ramirez was also endorsed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 294 and Peace Action, a political organization focusing on reducing the deployment of nuclear weapons and maintaining peace resolution at the center of U.S Foreign Policy.

* WGN’s Ben Bradley and Andrew Schroedter

The harassment occurs via text messages, blasted out to voters across the south suburb. Three officials are in the crosshairs: Clerk Nyota Figgs, Alderman James Patton and Alderman Monet Wilson

The scope extends far beyond politics.

One message falsely stated Patton’s family participated in racially motivated attacks.

Another mocked the physical appearance of Wilson and her children, while another listed names of 17 men that Figgs allegedly slept with. […]

The three officials routinely clash with Thaddeus Jones, the mayor of Calumet City who doubles as a Democratic state representative.

In Wilson’s case, she says she wasn’t targeted by the texter until announcing she would run against Jones in the upcoming Democratic primary, for the 29th District state representative seat.

However, she and Patton and Figgs acknowledge they have no evidence tying Jones or his allies to the messages. And he denies any involvement.

* But of course…


* State Senate…

Rachel Ventura earned three new endorsements from Illinois-based organizations. Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC, Equality Illinois, and Vote Mama were three state organizations who saw Ventura as the strongest candidate to win the 43rd State Senate seat.

* Russ Stewart

The noisy emergence of police officer Erin Jones as an opponent of state Senator Rob Martwick (D-10) is interesting. Martwick has $348,515 on-hand, raised $119,089, and will be given another $100,00 by senate President Don Harmon’s (D) campaign committee. Jones has $4,584 on-hand, giving Martwick a 76-1 money advantage. Jones touts FOP’s endorsement, but needs more from the FOP, which has indicated that her candidacy is her top priority. Having survived a petition challenge from the Martwick camp, can or will FOP president John Catanzara deliver for her? […]

Tina Wallace got noticed when she reported $83,719 on-hand in her D-2s, compared to state Representative opponent Lindsey LaPointe’s (D-19) on-hand of $155,888. But $80,000 of that was a personal loan from Wallace, and she raised $20,000 from others but has only a few thousand left on-hand, She’s in trouble. Keith Thornton has withdrawn.

An interesting race is developing in the 15th District, vacated in 2021 by John D’Amico (D) to take a job with the Plumbers Union. D’Amico still has $316,047 on-hand, a bundle more than appointee Mike Kelly’s (D) on-hand of $22,222. D’Amico told me he would spend some of his money to nominate and elect Kelly, a Mayfair firefighter, who is facing a challenge from the Left in Michael Rabbitt, who has $25,115 on-hand.

The big question is what the campaign cash-rich charter schools will do in those Martwick and LaPointe races. And as long as Wallace is willing to spend the money she loaned her campaign, she has decent bucks on hand. Rep. Kelly will get the cash he needs, and he will also have plenty of help in the field. The Northwest Side is buzzing with political activity again, and we haven’t even mentioned Rep. Kathleen Willis’ Democratic primary in this post.

…Adding… The first round of Personal PAC endorsements is out. Click here. Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback isn’t on the list, but that could change. Also, no nod yet in the 16th Senate District primary between Lamont Williams and Willie Preston.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* From the comptroller’s office…


The rainy day fund was at $22 million a day earlier.

* The Question: What is your one-word reaction to the comptroller’s chart? One word only, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


As cases and hospitalizations rise, IDPH says state is “strongly positioned to respond in the event of a new COVID-19 surge”

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Cases are up 26 percent compared to last Friday. Hospitalizations, a lagging indicator, are up 19 percent. The last time we were in the low 700s on hospitalizations while cases were rising was July 25, 2021, and admissions were up by 20 percent from the previous week. The resulting increase eventually led to a late summer surge, topping out at about 3,000 hospitalizations by early September. However, we now have widespread availability of medicine to counter-act the virus. Let’s just hope the supplies hold out. IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 24,646 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 46 deaths since April 22, 2022.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,138,682 cases, including 33,614 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of last night, 732 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 75 patients were in the ICU and 32 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 193 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.

IDPH officials noted that the case rate has been slowly rising in the state and five Illinois counties are now rated by the CDC as having a Medium Community Level of COVID-19. These counties are DuPage, Lake, Champaign, Logan and McLean. At the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. In addition, they should make sure to get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines or get their 2nd booster, if eligible.

IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars said the State of Illinois remains strongly positioned to respond in the event of a new COVID-19 surge. The department has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatment. There are over 2,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies - and that over 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.

“The most important point we want to stress about COVID-19 treatments is that timing is essential, and the public should know that it is critically important to consult a healthcare provider and seek treatment immediately if you test positive,” Tokars said. “The treatments are widely available with a prescription, and they are much more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths when they are taken early in the course of the illness.”

A total of 21,871,464 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 15,913 doses. Since April 22, 2022, 111,391 doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, more than 76% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 68% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and more than 51% of the vaccinated population is boosted according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations.

All data are provisional and are subject to change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.

Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to www.vaccines.gov.

The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/.

Did you get your second booster?

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Despite some progress, Illinois is still a long way from having decent infrastructure

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Clare Spaulding at the Tribune

The number of Illinois bridges in poor condition has increased over the last four years and a quarter of the state’s water lines are tainted by lead, according to the latest infrastructure report card from the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

But despite the state’s third consecutive below-average overall grade of C-minus in the quadrennial report, massive investments from the state and federal governments led the authors to conclude that “fortunately, the future is bright.” […]

Across 11 infrastructure categories, the state maintained or improved its ranking in all but one category, its drinking water score, which fell to a poor rating.

* More from Greg Hinz

But the state’s overall rating remained at C- because the group added a new category on which Illinois fared very low—handling of stormwater, rated D.

“Prioritizing additional funding for aging stormwater infrastructure is needed to keep up with increasing rainfall trends from climate change,” Walton said.

Related drinking water infrastructure also is aging faster than it’s being fixed, the group said, a reason why the state’s grade for drinking water slipped from C- to D+.

The report noted that Illinois has one of the largest shares of lead pipes in the country. “While efforts from Congress and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are addressing those service lines to protect residents, grant programs must be accelerated to improve conditions at a faster pace.”

The report card is here. The full study is here.

* From the press release…

The state has continued to prioritize critical investments for the sectors that move goods and services; Aviation (C+), Inland Waterways (D), Ports (C-) and Rail (C+). The results of this could not be clearer as all these categories were able to maintain and, in some cases, improve their grades since 2018.

Illinois’ communities and water agencies are making progress, but the state continues to have one of the largest shares of lead service pipelines in the nation, impacting residents who rely on these systems for clean drinking water. Out of 4 million total service lines, over 675,000 have been identified as lead and almost 380,000 as copper with lead solder services. While efforts from Congress and the Illinois EPA are addressing these service lines to protect residents, grant programs must be accelerated to improve conditions at a faster pace. Illinois’ aging drinking water infrastructure is leading to leaking pipelines, costing taxpayers money and critical resources. In 2017, a total of 106 million gallons per day (MGD) were lost amongst Lake Michigan allocation permittees, or 13% of total water supplied. Additional funding is also needed for aging stormwater infrastructure that must keep up with increasing rainfall trends from climate change.

Transit and roads both receiving a “D+” were able to show notable increases. These systems have stabilized and begun to improve thanks in large part to Rebuild Illinois, despite most of the funding not taking effect yet. The percentage of state-maintained highways in excellent condition grew 5.2% in 2020 when compared to 2019. In 2021, the state raised its gas tax to 39.2 cents per gallon and its diesel tax to 46.7 cents per gallon, which will contribute to future growth. Through the federal bill and Rebuild Illinois, operating budgets for transit systems are also expanding. For example, in 2022, Metra (commuter trains) is budgeting operating expenses of $900 million, which is $100 million or 12.5% higher than in 2021. 101 out of Illinois’ 102 counties offer transit service, and 57 public transit operators and providers supported an estimated 600 million trips in 2019, the second largest public transportation system in the U.S.

The report card says the state needs to spend $2 billion to repair and modernize the transit system.

* Meanwhile

Governor JB Pritzker today joined leaders from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) at an event announcing a $33.5 million investment at four universities, bringing the total investment in deferred maintenance projects for higher education institutions across the state to $434 million. These new projects will take place at UIC, Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

* And

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is announcing the issuance of $182,222,203 in water infrastructure loans to local governments and sanitary districts for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2022 (January - March 2022). The Illinois EPA State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program provides low-interest loans, which fund wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water projects. Twenty (20) of the thirty-three (33) loans qualified for a total of $8,571,149.62 in Disadvantaged Community Principal Forgiveness, providing additional benefits to those recipients meeting the loan rules for either the Small Community Rate or Hardship Rate. These projects are in addition to more than $9.6 million of funding and principal forgiveness already announced for lead service line replacement projects issued by Illinois EPA in the third quarter.

* Not strictly infrastructure-related, but worth including

Higher education leaders across the state are celebrating the comprehensive FY 2023 state budget recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Governor JB Pritzker on April 19, which includes a historic higher education budget of $2.24 billion - representing a $248.5 million increase from last year and the largest increase in over 20 years.

*** UPDATE *** CBS 2

Chicago has the most lead service pipes of any city in the country — which means this freshwater isn’t always “fresh” by the time it gets to your house.

The Metropolitan Planning Council says Illinois isn’t getting its fair share of federal funds to fix it. […]

Justin Williams with the Metropolitan Planning Council explained that Illinois is set to receive $565 million out of the $15 billion worth of federal funding allocated to lead service line replacement.

But based on the percentage of the lead pipes in the nation, Illinois’ share should be more like $1.8 billion. […]

He says that’s because the U.S. EPA is going by old data.

In 2022, the federal government is updating the formula by which they determine each state’s allotment to include lead pipe replacement costs.

And he says that survey can’t come soon enough.

Ugh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Police chiefs complain about 911 fund sweep

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Center Square

The budget package lawmakers approved in the early morning hours on the final day of session earlier this month creates the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund. The Department of Human Services will use the fund to establish and maintain a suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

To fund the new 9-8-8 program, the budget transfers $5 million from the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund.

The latest numbers from the Illinois Comptroller’s website shows the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund has $81.6 million and is administered by Illinois State Police.

“The sweep of $5 million was done without the knowledge of law enforcement,” the ILACP said in a statement this week. “We are in close communication with the Illinois State Police and others about this to determine what our next best steps will be to protect our 911 centers and to make sure Illinois does not suffer any consequences from the feds by sweeping 911 funds.”

Pritzker was asked about the fund sweep this week. Despite signing the budget, he wasn’t aware of the exact details.

“I can’t speak to it specifically, because I haven’t looked at that, but the 988 number that we’re establishing and we’re launching does take an enormous burden off our police, these are for mental health calls,” Pritzker said.

The police chiefs are asking the state to postpone the sweep and for lawmakers to amend that provision of the budget when they return to the state capitol after the November election.

The Statewide 9-1-1 Fund is derived from surcharges on phone bills consumers pay. The ILACP said they intended to ask the governor to line-item veto that portion of the budget, but it’s too late. Reducing the fund could make the state ineligible for federal grants at a time when next generation 9-1-1 operations ramp up, the chiefs said.

* I asked the comptroller’s office for the fund’s spending history…

State Police spending out of the Statewide 9-1-1 Fund (0612) (no other agency has spent out of this fund)

FY18 $138.7M
FY19 $205.3M
FY20 $194.4M
FY21 $192.4M
FY22 YTD $126.3M

Looks like the fund has plenty of money to handle this sweep, with more coming in.

But, everyone who has a stake in any of these special state funds will always get upset when they’re swept for any reason, even good ones.

…Adding… From the ISP…

Projected revenue amount FY 22- $197M. Projected expenditure FY 22 - $191M

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


LIG weaponized in Senate campaign

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* This “complaint” is based on numerous false assumptions and gigantic leaps of faith. But, of course, the media outlet didn’t bother to run anything down before spreading this goofiness

DIRTY LAUNDRY? A complaint was filed yesterday with the Legislative Inspector General, claiming state Sen. Melinda Bush has filed false documents, and engaged in pay-to-play and money laundering schemes with her political accounts and private business.

The complaint also claims Bush held an illegal fundraiser during the legislative session, and it accuses former state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen of laundering money from a campaign account to a personal account.

The allegations are going to shake up an already heated primary to replace Bush, who isn’t running for reelection. The Lake County Democrat is backing Edly-Allen, a former state rep, who’s facing current state Rep. Sam Yingling in the Democratic primary.

The LIG complaint was filed by good government advocate Jan Czarnik, the former executive director of the League of Women Voters in Illinois. “I believe that corruption must be called out and that those of us familiar with how Springfield operates have a responsibility to do so,” Czarnik said in a statement to Playbook.

Bush did not immediately respond to our late request for comment.

That “illegal fundraiser” was actually a meet and greet. I was there. No tickets were sold. Also, the whole money laundering allegation is beyond a stretch. And the Legislative Inspector General is limited to investigating public office-related items, not private life or campaign-related things, which even the spokesperson who distributed the press release admitted knowing about. But, hey, they got their campaign advertising fodder, so mission accomplished.

* Response from Sen. Bush…

“While it shouldn’t surprise anyone when flailing, floundering campaigns resort to dirty political attacks, weaponizing the Office of the LIG to lob false, frivolous complaints is an extraordinary new low. In today’s environment, we should hold every member of the General Assembly to the highest of standards and that not only applies to our actions in the chamber, but also our activities in political campaigns. When I led the passage of groundbreaking ethics reform in the Senate, it certainly wasn’t designed to allow members of this chamber to abuse it as a tool to forward their political agenda. Sadly, that’s exactly what is happening today and shame on them for doing so as these attacks are based in political fiction, not reality.”

BACKGROUND:

“Pay to Play”

    • This complaint falsely alleges that there is a pay to play scheme happening, but no one at For the People has taken a salary.

    • The Lake County Democratic Women gave Judge Rochford its award before Rochford’s campaign had ever paid For the People.

“Money Laundering”

    • Mary Edly-Allen has made numerous contributions to the Lake County Democratic Women over the years, and she was hired by the board to serve as the Executive Director for a period of time. When she first ran for office, Edly-Allen stepped down from the Lake County Democratic Women. When she opened her campaign account, she said that if she ever disbanded the account, she would send the money to the Lake County Democratic Women.

    • The Lake County Democratic Women is a grassroots organization dedicated to helping the women of Lake County build connections in their community, get involved, and work toward reaching the goal of women making up 51% of those in office.

“Illegal Fundraiser”

    • The alleged fundraiser mentioned in the complaint was not a fundraiser. It was a “meet and greet” opportunity for candidates to get together at the Sangamon Club. There was no payment or donations made for admittance as it was a free event.

“For The People”

    • For the People, LLC incorporated using a digital service called ZenBusiness. While we correctly listed our identities and personal information with the service, ZenBusiness acknowledged an automation error that led to my name being changed from ‘Melinda Bush’ to ‘Melinda Meyer’ when our paperwork was filed with the State of Illinois.” The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office acknowledged the error by Zen Business, and is taking steps to rectify the records retroactively.

    • When Senator Bush filed her 2021 statement of economic interest, the LLC had yet to take in any money. By the end of 2021, it had taken in $6,000, far below the $10,000 threshold for requiring to file an updated statement of economic interest.

Bush provided me documentation showing that ZenBusiness had accidentally used the last name of the other person on the incorporation filing, Nickolas Meyer, as her last name. So, she appears on the filing as Melinda Meyer.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Get it together, already

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* NBC 5

NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago are partnering with the Chicago Urban League, The Latino Policy Forum and the Union League Club of Chicago to host a televised forum for Republican candidates vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Gov. J.B. Pritzker in the 2022 election.

The one-hour forum will take place on Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m., and will be hosted at NBC Tower.

NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern will moderate the forum, and Telemundo Chicago anchor Anabel Monge will take questions from a live-studio audience for the roundtable-format event.

“We are pleased to host the Republican candidates for Illinois governor in this forum,” NBC 5 Station Manager and Vice President of News Frank Whittaker said in a statement. “We’re committed to providing our community with unmatched political coverage.”

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin has announced that he will participate in the forum.

* Trouble is, Darren Bailey and Jesse Sullivan both committed to doing a WGN-hosted debate the same evening. And Irvin may only do one debate. Bailey’s campaign spokesperson sent me this exchange with NBC 5’s political reporter…

* Team Bailey is not happy and they unfairly took it out on MAA…


Either way, one or both of these TV stations needs to change their debate dates to avoid being used as pawns by the campaigns. Also, one Chicago debate is ridic.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      


Illinois’ strict online privacy laws haven’t stopped Facebook’s investments here

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Chicago Sun-Times editorial

For another session, the Illinois Legislature has wisely neither repealed nor weakened a pioneering law that protects the biometric information of each of the state’s residents, the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The Legislature stood firm even though many big tech companies would like to boot the law into cyberspace.

Individuals’ thumbprints, retinas, irises and faces become biometric information once they are stored digitally. Companies can profit when they use or sell the data. But if the data falls into the hands of criminals who scoop it up on the dark web or through data breaches, it could make ordinary identity theft look like a parking ticket. Unlike getting a new credit card number, biometric data can’t be changed.

BIPA requires entities that collect biometric information to notify people they are collecting it, say how it will be used and obtain their approval. It was the country’s first such law and remains the most stringent. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled it doesn’t exclude photo-derived facial recognition.

But as reasonable as the law is — companies can collect the information, but they have to be open about it — it keeps popping up in lawsuits.

On Thursday, Google settled a $100 million class-action privacy lawsuit that alleged Google didn’t get users’ consent for a tool that sorts faces in its Google Photos app by similarity.

Last month, the U.S. Ninth Court of Appeals allowed a settlement to go forward in a lawsuit that claimed Facebook violated BIPA by collecting and storing users’ biometrics as part of its “tag suggestions” and other features involving facial recognition technology.

* The state law hasn’t scared Facebook away from Illinois. From a couple of days ago…

Today, Meta announced that they are expanding the Meta DeKalb Data Center by three new buildings. Once completed, the nearly 2.4 million-square-foot data center will represent an investment of over $1 billion and will support more than 200 operational jobs.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our presence in Illinois. The city of DeKalb and the State of Illinois have been great partners from the beginning, and we look forward to a continued strong and fruitful partnership for years to come,” said Darcy Nothnagle, Director of Community and Economic Development, Meta.

“The impact Meta has made within the City of DeKalb goes beyond just an economic one,” said Mayor Cohen Barnes, City of DeKalb, IL. “Since day one, they have made a concerted effort to make a larger impact on DeKalb, and I look forward, with this announcement, to seeing that partnership continue to grow over the years to come.”

“With more than 1,200 construction workers on site every day at the Meta DeKalb Data Center and plans to support hundreds of permanent employees when fully operational, all of Illinois can agree the data center project has been a boon to Illinois and a great benefit to the City of DeKalb and DeKalb County,” said Paul Borek, Executive Director, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation. “The expansion proves Illinois, and specifically DeKalb County, can meet the needs of large global companies which require a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and a strong and competitive business environment.”

Additionally, Meta is announcing the application window for the company’s Community Action Grants program will launch in DeKalb County in the fall of 2022. Meta’s Community Action Grants are available to schools and registered 501c3 non-profit organizations in locations where Meta has an online data center. For more information, you can visit: https://datacenters.fb.com/grants/. To further enhance the local impact of this announcement, Meta also provided a $50,000 grant to support STEM materials and opportunities in 2022 for elementary and secondary students in DeKalb Community School District 428.

“At Meta, we are committed to playing a positive role and investing in the long-term vitality of the communities in which we operate. One of the ways we do this is by funding projects that meet community needs through our Community Action Grants program,” said Nothnagle.

“District 428 is very excited about the opportunities the STEM grant and Community Action Grants will afford DeKalb students,” said Dr. Minerva Garcia-Sanchez, Superintendent of Schools, DeKalb CUSD 428 School District. “Meta continues to be a great partner to the District. We look forward to the future as we transform from being known as an agricultural community to one of the leading technological centers in the nation and we look forward to our future endeavors.”

“From the moment Meta announced its intention to develop its facility in DeKalb County, company representatives began engaging with the community in meaningful ways: as a thought partner on local issues, a generous supporter of community events and a progressive employer,” said Dr. Lisa Freeman, President, Northern Illinois University. “We look forward to expanding our excellent partnership with Meta to advance our mutual goals for advancing equitable economic development, innovation and educational attainment for the region.”

Meta is also announcing an exciting Illinois partnership that is helping the company - and has the potential to eventually help others - lower the carbon footprint of our construction. Meta is collaborating with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a pilot with the goal of developing a more sustainable concrete mix. The process uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help experts generate the possible formulas for the concrete mixes. This work helps Meta move toward further reduction of our carbon footprint to reach net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030. Through collaboration with Meta’s concrete trade partner, Ozinga, the formula was refined and test applications were poured in non-critical areas of the DeKalb Data Center. These test applications confirm early signs that Meta has been able to successfully design and use concrete that meets our long-term strength requirements and has a 40 percent lower carbon impact than the regional benchmark. While Meta is encouraged by the success of this pilot, further developments and tests are needed to scale the impact of this innovation.

In Illinois, Meta has invested in two new wind energy projects in Morgan and DeWitt counties, adding a total of 295 MW of renewable energy to the local grid. Meta data centers are on average 80% more water efficient than the industry standard, and the company’s global operations, including the DeKalb Data Center, are supported by 100% renewable energy. These renewable energy projects represent over $140 million in local investment and will support nearly 700 construction jobs. Project operations will support 30 jobs annually across the state.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Bailey claims he talked with Trump, promises more details “in the coming days”

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Darren Bailey to his Facebook followers this morning

As you know, we’ll talk more about this in the coming days, Cindy and I were blessed with many others to be able to go to Mar-a-Lago two days ago to support Mary Miller for Congress and we had a pretty amazing conversation with President Trump. So we’ll be sharing some more details of that in the coming days.

That’s the very first time he’s publicly mentioned the Trump conversation since he was in Florida. Odd.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Open thread

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* I wasn’t feeling great when I woke up early this morning, but I quickly rallied and started writing the subscriber edition, but then wrote myself into a corner and eventually decided my main story needed more time and thought. Needless to say, this has most definitely not been an optimal morning for yours truly. How’s your morning so far?

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* A veritable cornucopia of new state laws
* Question of the day
* Campaign notebook
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Do we finally have the answer about whether Richard Irvin voted for Donald Trump?
* Because... Madigan!
* Reporting that got results
* Hopefully, the Thompson Center remodeling project will get rid of that "kind of creepy" vibe
* Local 150 endorses both Irvin and Pritzker in their primaries
* Let's be a bit more cautious out there
* Another look at the WGN poll
* Celebrate Illinois Statesmanship
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* * LIVE COVERAGE *
* * Comments now open * Late Friday news: Bailey gets $2.5 million from Uihlein; DGA blasts Irvin in second ad; ILGOP's Tracy on election fraud; Pritzker signs several bills
* Yesterday's stories

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