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Afternoon roundup

Monday, Mar 20, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* CBS 2

The Illinois Department of Transportation said the Kennedy will be under construction for three years. […]

Lane closures begin at 10 p.m. Monday. From the Edens junction to Ohio Street, the two left local inbound lanes will be closed until mid-July. Then, from July through December, the remaining right local inbound lanes will be closed, with a rolling closure of the on and off ramps on the inbound Kennedy. During the entire first phase of the project, the reversible express lanes will be locked inbound to alleviate excess traffic buildup during construction. Crews also will be installing new signs and LED lighting.

The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Next, workers will close the reversible express lanes for repaving next year, while also rehabbing 36 bridges along the Kennedy. Some local inbound and outbound lanes will be closed during this phase to allow crews to install new LED lighting in both directions.

Then, in the final phase of the project, IDOT will resurface the outbound lanes of the Kennedy in the same process as the inbound side, starting with the two left local outbound lanes, before repaving the remaining local outbound lanes, while the reversible express lanes will be locked in outbound during work on the local outbound lanes in 2025.

I’d expect to see more working from home by people who don’t want to sit in traffic all day. And that’s just gonna exacerbate the Loop’s financial troubles

While the Illinois Department of Transportation has been telling drivers to seek alternate routes, there may not be many options for drivers.

“Look for alternate routes, take Metra, take CTA,” IDOT’s Bureau Chief of Construction Jon Schumacher told NBC 5. “We’ve also recommended that people look into maybe staggering their work times. So if they could start … a couple hours earlier, they might be able to avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. And then similarly, with coming off the pandemic, a lot of people were able to work remotely. So if some people that are able to work remotely, if that’s something that they’re able to do, that’s also going to help us minimize some of the traffic impacts that we’re gonna see.”

Metra announced this week that it was revising its schedule on the UP Northwest Line beginning April 3 to add 12 trains to its weekday service lineup.

* AG Raoul…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined Illinois workers and members of Raise the Floor Alliance this morning at a press conference to unveil legislation that would protect workers from retaliatory conduct by employers, which includes protections for workers who inform governmental authorities about unlawful behavior by their employers.

“Workers who want to assert their basic workplace rights risk losing their income, livelihood, liberty, and – for some immigrant workers – their ability to remain in the United States with their families,” Raoul said. “To encourage people to stand up, we need to ensure that they will not be punished for doing so. I look forward to working with Raise the Floor Alliance and members of the General Assembly to pass these critical worker protections.”

Raoul’s office is collaborating with Raise the Floor Alliance on the Work Without Fear Act – contained in House Bill 361 – that would fill existing voids in labor enforcement that leave workers unprotected from often-devastating employer retaliation when they seek to enforce their rights or blow the whistle on unlawful employer practices.

Specifically, the legislation would:

    • Prohibit employers from engaging in retaliatory conduct, including unfair immigration-related practices, against workers who exercise their rights.
    • Amend the Whistleblower Protection Act to increase protections against retaliation for all workers, particularly low-wage and immigrant workers, who inform government authorities about employers’ unlawful practices that harm Illinois workers and their communities.
    • Prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights by using E-Verify in ways not authorized by federal law, filing or threatening to file a false police report, or contacting or threatening to contact immigration authorities.
    • Protect the ability of workers to report issues of discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, without fear of immigration consequences or any other adverse employment actions.
    • Grant the Attorney General effective tools to protect witnesses from retaliation.

* Even the Republican floor leader mocked Scott Drury back in the day…

* Not messing around…

* Press release…

Last night Krissie Harris, candidate for Evanston’s 2nd ward council seat, issued a statement explaining that she was returning two $6000 donations she had received from a relative and an employee of Pat Ryan. The Ryans are behind the proposed $1 billion Ryan stadium expansion project at Northwestern University, for which the school is requesting rezoning to a commercial district, while insisting that it need not pay commercial property taxes. Ms Harris’ opponent, Darlene Cannon has spoken out strongly about her concerns over this project.

Lesley Williams, President of the Community Alliance for Better Government responded that “We are pleased that Ms Harris has done the right thing by returning the $12,000 in donations she received from the Ryan family and staff. However the question remains: why would two Ryan affiliates feel so strongly about her candidacy that they would make such a large contribution to sway the election results? Why are they so desperate to keep Harris in and keep Darlene Cannon out?

* Happy spring!…

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * News-Gazette | Behind-the-scenes state office helps judges decide bond amounts: “There’s been a law on the books that required pretrial services since the ’80s, but nothing was done with it because the Legislature never funded it,” said Champaign County Judge Brett Olmstead, whose primary assignment is to set bonds five days a week for people accused of crimes. […] The state Supreme Court realized that judges would need information quickly about defendants — as much and as accurate as possible — to make those decisions. Enter Cara LeFevour Smith, hired in fall 2021 to start the Office of Statewide Pretrial Services from scratch.

    * Herald & Review | Comprehensive Illinois gun violence data ‘unattainable,’ state police say: But in the four years since the law was signed, the state’s top law enforcement agency is still in the dark, telling lawmakers in the February report that the “lack of a centralized and uniform data collection tool for use by all Illinois law enforcement agencies has made the collection and reporting of all mandated information unattainable.”

    * Tribune | Political rift between Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton gets public airing at ‘ComEd Four’ trial: Madigan complained about a political ad critical of him and tied to Senate Democrats that Cullerton led in 2018, saying that the attacks should be aimed at President Donald Trump and other Republicans rather than the speaker, who doubled as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

    * Crain’s | Nursing home workers ask for stricter staffing rules amid industrywide worker shortage: SEIU is advocating for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to enforce a stricter staffing rule recommended in its own research, which found that a minimum of 4.1 nursing hours per resident a day are needed to prevent harm to residents. But in some Illinois facilities, nursing homes report as low as 2.16 required hours of care per day, SEIU officials say. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation in January requiring minimum staffing levels of 3.8 hours per resident per day, and 2.5 hours per day for residents who need intermediate care, but the rules won’t go into effect until 2025.

    * Tribune | Lake in the Hills bakery ‘likely forced to close’ due to financial struggles after threats, vandalism last summer over planned drag event: Lake in the Hills-based UpRising Bakery and Cafe announced “horrific attacks” on the establishment dating back to last summer, including threats and vandalism that led up to a planned drag show in July, have forced the bakery to close its doors as soon as the end of March.

    * Daily Herald | Election workers wanted in Cook, DuPage, McHenry counties: “Our election (workers) are a precious resource and they deserve this pay raise,” County Clerk Karen Yarbrough said in a news release. “They are the lifeblood of our election operations and we could not get the job done without their service.”

    * JG-TC | More female firefighter recruitment encouraged in Illinois: “It seems like we wait until we get into a war before we start recognizing the women on the other side that can very much contribute to the success of the fire service,” Swan said. “Without (women), we would be really struggling, and that’s happening all around Illinois and this country. Realizing that we need both sexes to be able to do our jobs out there, to protect lives and property.”

    * ABC 20 | GOP, Dems draw battle lines over few swing districts: Battle lines are being drawn for the 2024 election, with congressional Republicans going on offense and releasing a list of targeted Democrats in competitive districts. The NRCC listed 37 seats, two of which will be open, that it’s eyeing as “prime pick-up opportunities for Republicans.”

    * Crain’s | California firm buys Mag Mile retail property: A venture of Los Angeles-based Blatteis & Schnur last week bought the fully leased, 5,860-square-foot block of retail space at 909 N. Michigan Ave. on the ground floor of the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago, according to a source familiar with the deal. Bethesda, Md.-based Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which owns the hotel and sold the retail portion, announced today that it sold the retail property for $27.3 million but did not disclose the name of the buyer.

    * AP | World on ‘thin ice’ as UN climate report gives stark warning: Stepping up his pleas for action on fossil fuels, Guterres called for rich countries to accelerate their target for achieving net zero emissions to as early as 2040, and developing nations to aim for 2050 — about a decade earlier than most current targets. He also called for them to stop using coal by 2030 and 2040, respectively, and ensure carbon-free electricity generation in the developed world by 2035, meaning no gas-fired power plants either.

    * WCIA | Gov. Oglesby Mansion hosting its first open house of the year next weekend: The house, located on W. William Street, was built in 1876 in the Italianate style with a low-pitched roof and a widow’s walk. Officials said notable skyscraper architect William Jenney was commissioned by Oglesby to design the home in Decatur. The Macon County Conservation District purchased the home in 1972 and began restoration in 1976.


  1. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:49 pm:

    That’s good the Metra is adding 12 trains to the UP-Northwest but really we should be funding way more Metra service to the UP-North and UP-Northwest. At least 20 minute service with some express trains. This is an opportunity to earn back riders and with all the money we’re spending on construction, we should spend a percentage of that on increasing service. More riders will help us address the transit fiscal cliff in 2025/2026 (which is all based on fewer riders). The GA and Metra (and to a lesser extent the CTA for the Blue Line) has a chance to get nimbler and push out more service to win back more riders.

  2. - Blue Dog - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:59 pm:

    Illinois gun violence data unattainable. must be the reason ISP never answers the question if the FOID system does any good.

  3. - Amalis - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:05 pm:

    Is there really CTA L construction on weekends while there is also highway construction on the Kennedy? Maybe I’m confused, but I thought I heard about plans for buses and Cubs games. Whatever the day of the week, doing all this at once…if true…is a problem.

  4. - Chicago resident - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:05 pm:

    Kim Walz’s political career - if you can call it that, with her soon likely to not get her third attempt at some office - is centered around one person: herself. Nothing to do with public service, and I hope 46th Ward residents will vote for Angela Clay.

  5. - Big Dipper - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:10 pm:

    Two of the new trains being added to UP-NW are express trains to/from Arlington Heights.

  6. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:13 pm:

    Pat Ryan thought he could slip a couple of donations for six large into an Evanston aldermanic race, and no one would notice? Man, when people are desperate, they do dumb stuff.

  7. - Anon324 - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    ==Is there really CTA L construction on weekends while there is also highway construction on the Kennedy?==

    Several blue line stations in Logan Square and Avondale are closed on weekends through the end of May.

  8. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    “… he question if the FOID system does any good.”

    Actually, for Illinois data, it does. FOID would never have to offer this:

  9. - P. - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:45 pm:

    Let me adjust my schedule by two hours IDOT. Thanks for suggestion. I’m sure CPS will accommodate all the parents as well.

  10. - Gravitas - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:57 pm:

    Lines of voters at the public library in Chicago’s 2nd Ward (early voting location).

  11. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:29 pm:

    @Anon324 thanks. seems very strange to do this all at one time.

  12. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:40 pm:

    == lack of a centralized and uniform data collection ==

    I think the key word there is uniform. Every police department faces political pressure to paint the best picture possible when it comes to crime. So it’s likely that the data entered may reflect the least severe of multiple charges instead of the most severe. Or it reflects the final disposition, which is often plea bargained down to the less severe offenses.

  13. - Mr K - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 6:30 pm:

    That’s good the Metra is adding 12 trains to the UP-Northwest but really we should be funding way more Metra service to the UP-North and UP-Northwest

    Um, UP West, too — the villages straight west of the loop — Oak Park, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Winfield, etc.

    UP West trains I’ve taken in the past month — espoecially during rush hours (6-8a, 3-6p) are getting filled again — almost up to pre-pandemic levels.

    But I agree — Metra (as well as any Chi-area mass transit) is incredibly important.

    To Metra’s credit — they are trying to adjust their routes and timing based on increasing ridership.

    Essentially, anything to stay off the Kennedy and/or Eisenhower (is the Eisenhower construction finished?)

  14. - Jerry - Tuesday, Mar 21, 23 @ 9:17 am:

    The proposed stadium in Evanston is a commercial venture and should pay the appropriate taxes. It is NOT a “not-for-profit” venture. The wealthy always looking for Free Government Handouts!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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