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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Jun 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…

    * Capitol News Illinois | State board of education looking for new providers in preschool ‘deserts’: ISBE is looking for new providers to offer preschool programs in areas of the state designated as “preschool deserts,” with the goal of creating 5,000 new preschool slots in the upcoming school year. The $75 million in new funding available for new preschool slots this year is part of Pritzker’s $250 million “Smart Start Illinois” initiative, a four-year effort that seeks to make early childhood day care and preschool available and affordable to every family in the state who needs it.

    * Center Square | Pritzker tours state discussing increased taxpayer-funded education in the state’s budget: “It has been the mission of my governorship to not only reverse the harm that has been done but to shape an Illinois that truly uplifts our residents from cradle to career,” Pritzker said.

    * Capitol News Illinois | Lawmakers approve measure giving utilities control over new downstate transmission lines: The measure applies to companies that already own or operate electric transmission lines under the purview of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, the grid operator for a wide swath of the Midwest, including much of downstate and parts of northwestern Illinois.

    * Bonus | Illinois Passes Bill Allowing Casinos to Hire People with Felony Convictions:The bill also gives the gaming board the power to review each licensee and refuse a permit to anyone deemed a threat to the state’s public interests or gaming integrity. IGB will consider the time since conviction, the number and severity of the charges, and more when deciding.

    * Tribune |Indiana now ranked first among inland ports, second in Great Lakes ports by feds: The state was previously counted as having multiple small port districts but now has just two. The southern district includes facilities run by the Ports of Indiana in Mount Vernon and Jeffersonville, along with private terminals along the Ohio River from Posey County to Dearborn County. The northern district includes the Ports of Indiana’s Burns Harbor terminal in addition to private terminals and steel mills along Indiana’s Lake Michigan coastline.

    * Daily Herald | Why the DuPage Water Commission wants to spend billions for own pipeline from Lake Michigan: “The question becomes can we build a new system and have it cost less than $120 million a year,” said Paul May, water commission executive director. “As concluded by that report, the answer is yes.”

    * Sun-Times | Judge silences, scolds attorney for Berrios relative who faces trial Monday for bribing state lawmaker:James T. Weiss’ attorney wound up having to raise his hand to speak in court, including when he said he had to use the bathroom. He claimed he’d been unlawfully restrained and had thrown up in a cup. He told the judge, “look at the cup!”

    * Chicago Law Bulletin | Jesse Reyes announces 2nd run for Illinois Supreme Court:Appellate Justice Jesse G. Reyes announced his candidacy for the Illinois Supreme Court at a press conference Wednesday in Chicago, saying the court should reflect the community it serves. — Grace Barbic/Chicago Daily Law BulletinFirst District Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes announced Wednesday his candidacy for the Illinois Supreme Court next year. He will be running for the seat held by Justice Joy V. Cunningham, who was appointed when former Chief Justice Anne M. Burke retired Nov. 30.

    * Erickson Institute | Erikson Institute Receives $8 Million from MacKenzie Scott to Advance Equity in Early Childhood:Erikson Institute has announced an $8 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. In keeping with MacKenzie Scott’s charitable vision of advancing opportunities for people in underinvested and underserved communities, the funds associated with this transformational gift will fuel Erikson’s mission of building equitable and just futures for young children, their families, and communities. The gift is a testament to the vision and work of Erikson Institute, under the leadership of President Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D.

    * Tribune | Watchdog group seeks to cut more than $110 million from record Peoples Gas rate hike request: Targeting everything from the “mismanaged” pipeline project to high residential heating costs, the consumer watchdog group recommended slashing $63 million from the proposal, with the Illinois attorney general’s office expected to seek $49 million in additional reductions.

    * Tribune | Civic Committee announces initiative to tackle public safety as ‘the No. 1 issue’ in Chicago: “The issue of public safety is the No. 1 issue for pretty much everyone in the city of Chicago,” said Derek Douglas, who became the first Black president of the Civic Committee in August. “And the business community is no different.”

    * WBEZ | There’s a surge in calls for shelter. Chicago’s 311 help line can’t keep up: Data analysis by WBEZ also shows a declining percentage of calls appear to result in a placement. But it’s hard to measure how well the system is working because of several major flaws in the 311 data system the city uses to track shelter requests. “The demand for resources, be it through 311 to get people into a shelter or any other piece of the shelter system, is so much greater than what the system can handle,” said Douglas Schenkelberg, the director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

    * WTTW | Edgewater Residents Call for Answers as City Eyes Broadway Armory as Possible Migrant Center:“We couldn’t believe it,” said Linda White, an Edgewater resident. “There’s so many wonderful programs here — dance, fitness and wellness for all the kids and the seniors. They said this will all be shut down and it will become a shelter.” White said in May a group of city officials looked at the property along with Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th Ward). It’s a move that makes White believe the plan to convert this facility into housing for migrants is highly possible.

    * Sun-Times | Inside the political survival of Chicago City Council dean: “I’m the type of guy that, when I’m in with you, I’m in 100%,” Burnett said. “I went that extra mile working on his campaign for county commissioner, and he won. You could say … we’re part of his success because, if he wouldn’t have been county commissioner, he wouldn’t have run for mayor, and he wouldn’t be where he is today.”

    * Center Square | Illinois General Assembly fails to address the state’s biometric privacy law: Business groups have been pleading with lawmakers to address the law, which has spawned hundreds of lawsuits, none of which have proven harm to anyone. “No data breaches, no lost information, but billions of dollars have already been paid out with more on the way, and it’s already having a significant impact on our economy,” said Mark Denzler, CEO and president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.

    * AP | Peregrine falcons protecting chicks and dive-bombing Chicago pedestrians:Just ask Chuck Valauskas, who was struck by one of the falcons. The patent attorney was leaving work one day last week, walking below the nest situated on a seventh-floor ledge when he felt a thud on his head.

    * Crain’s | New figures show tourists flocked back to Chicago in 2022: Officials from Choose Chicago announced today that visitation to the city during 2022 was up 60% from 2021 as public health restrictions faded and a surge of leisure travelers poured in during peak tourism months. The total, reported by the city’s official destination marketing group using data from travel research firm DK Shifflet, was roughly 80% of the 2019 figure, when the city boasted a record 60.8 million visitors.

    * Crain’s | State chamber chief Todd Maisch has died: “Todd was a fierce champion for the business community and an integral part of major policy wins for our economy, namely the Blue Collar Jobs Act and the historic Rebuild Illinois capital bill,” Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said in a statement. “Though Todd and I often found ourselves at opposite ends of policy debates, I knew he was driven by an adoration for our state and a sincere commitment to doing what he believed was right.”


  1. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 8:16 am:

    The Facon story is quite interesting. It’s good to see them in the Urban ecosystem. I wonder if the building has considered putting up a temporary construction canopy for a few days/weeks. If the falcons don’t see the pedestrians everyone stays happy.

  2. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 8:55 am:

    “Tax payer funded”

    That is one tired, lazy bunch.

  3. - JoanP - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 8:59 am:

    @ Flyin’ Elvis’-Utah Chapter -

    Seriously. I’ve never seen “tax payer funded” used so many times in one short article.

  4. - Benniefly2 - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 9:17 am:

    My boondoggle senses are tingling at this statement:

    “The question becomes can we build a new system and have it cost less than $120 million a year,”

    At a proposed cost of up to 7 billion dollars to build, even if the subsequent water was free to DuPage County consumers, (Narrator: It won’t be free.), it would be over 58 years to get your investment back. If it cuts the cost of water to consumers in half, it wouldn’t pay itself off until the latter half of the 22nd century.

  5. - H-W - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 9:35 am:

    Re: Bonus Article on Felons

    =Said Peterson: The amount of financially realistic employment opportunities for individuals impacted by the justice system are few and far between.===

    This statement is so very true. As a professor, I have met dozens and dozens of students who have been convicted of felony offenses. Once convicted, these students lose their eligibility for Pell Grants and Federal loans, etc. Several years out, I know young adults who are fully mature and grown up, but are denied almost every job they seek, except the standard “fast food restaurant quality” jobs that cannot sustain anyone.

    I often wonder why we don’t fix this problem. Currently, we have a legal system that uses a checklist as people enter court. The prosecutors and the judges routinely check almost all boxes that prohibit felons from reclaiming their life chances.

    We could do so much better as a state.

    We could assume that most first time offenders are actually just doing really stupid things, like sharing drugs at high school and college parties, acting hypermasculine in front of police, etc.

    We currently have a “second chance” law that allows people to petition for having their records cleared after five years or so. That is a good first step, but it doesn’t solve the problem the Bonus Story addresses.

    We could create an amendment that requires courts services to actually contact former felons on the anniversary date of their conviction, and required courts services to offer expungement of those records if the former felon has had no subsequent convictions.

    Assuming a young person matures sufficiently, and is prepared to live properly, I personally believe formalizing the legal forgiveness process serves all of us better. Placing that burden on the felons just isn’t working, and I believe it is often the case that many have reformed, but do not have the resources or do not know how to go about expunging their records.

  6. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 9:42 am:

    =We couldn’t believe it,” said Linda White, an Edgewater resident. “There’s so many wonderful programs here — dance, fitness and wellness for all the kids and the seniors. They said this will all be shut down and it will become a shelter.”=

    I mean where will all the Linda’s and Judy’s go if they can go yoga at the Armory before they go to Whole Foods to shop.

  7. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 11:55 am:

    Falcons and Orcas know what time it is…

  8. - Valerie F. Leonard - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:10 pm:

    I’m glad Mr. Crown and the Civic Committee are literally putting their money and intellectual capital where their mouths are on the issue of crime and public safety. Crime is an entrenched problem that impacts us all. If we don’t come up with real solutions, it’s “game over” for Chicago.

  9. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 2, 23 @ 2:25 pm:

    ===This “right of first refusal” would empower those companies to choose whether they want to build the new lines, replacing the current system of competitive bidding for such construction.===

    This “competitive bidding for such construction” usually results in a lowball bid with long delays,
    the low-bid contractor cutting corners resulting in poor quality control, projects sometimes left partially completed when the low-bid contractor goes bankrupt and walks away. Meanwhile, low cost, abundant wind power is being developed west of Illinois, but will be unavailable to us until more transmission lines are built to bring it in to Illinois.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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