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Isabel’s morning briefing

Monday, Nov 13, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: A family seeking asylum leaves Chicago, heading back to the country they once fled. Tribune

    -The family went from sleeping on the floor of a police station, to a crowded shelter, to a house on the Far South Side, and then back to the floor of the police station after her stepfather Michael Castejon couldn’t afford the rent. He could not find a job that paid enough without a work permit.

    - Migrants said they’re realizing the city is at a breaking point. Not only is there no more space in shelters, they also acknowledge that some residents in Chicago oppose the opening of more shelters for them.

    - Castejon said that despite the dangerous trek to get here — often begging for money and sleeping in the streets to cross several borders — the journey had not been worth it.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Tribune | Midwest pollution spiked dramatically this summer because of Canadian wildfires. Now officials may erase those days from the books.: Dozens of states and the EPA are so concerned they may exclude the smokiest days from the legally binding score cards that determine whether they’re doing enough to fight pollution, according to a joint collaboration between the Tribune and the nonprofit news site MuckRock. They could do so by invoking the so-called exceptional events exclusion for pollution humans don’t cause and can’t control. If they do, it could lead to the largest such exclusion in the history of the federal Clean Air Act.

    * Chicago Mag | Pro-life or Pro-lie?: It’s warranted, argues Brigid Leahy, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, who collaborated on the bill with Raoul. She has seen what she views as deceptive tactics employed by such centers and their supporters. In Flossmoor, Aid for Women opened a crisis pregnancy center across the street from a Planned Parenthood site. Activists set up a “Check in Here” sign outside Planned Parenthood’s door, then directed women to the Aid for Women center, Leahy says. In another instance she cites, a woman received an ultrasound at a pregnancy center, but was told to come back in a week, when a doctor could give her the results. By the time she learned how far along the fetus was, it was too late to get an abortion.

    * Daily Herald | Why Wheeling is banning unlicensed sale of synthetic pot: “A lot is unknown about the chemicals that go into these synthetically derived THC products,” Village Attorney James Ferolo said during Monday’s board meeting. “It’s kind of the Wild West, quite frankly.” Trustee Ray Lang called the products “unlicensed garbage.” Wheeling’s new ordinance outlaws the unlicensed sale, advertisement, display or delivery of such products. Fines will start at $500, and business licenses could be revoked.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * WBEZ | Illinois could see more nuclear reactors by 2026: The idea is the smaller reactors will be produced at factory scale, which will lower costs over time and bring them online faster than previous generations of reactors. Currently, there are no SMRs in operation or even production anywhere in the U.S.

    * Tribune | Families lament, public school advocates celebrate end of controversial scholarship tax credit: During the 2022-23 school year, no Black students received the scholarships at more than half of the schools participating in the program, and there were no Latino recipients at about a third of the schools, according to data compiled by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Only about a quarter of the money in the program went to low-income students, and roughly the same percentage went to students from areas with at least one low-performing public school, according to the Department of Revenue data.

    * The Telegraph | Madison County Democrats outline plans at annual JFK Dinner: So far the Democrats have been relatively quiet. Locally, the only declared candidate is Nick Raftopoulos, who is running for the 111th Illinois House seat now held by Amy Elik. He has already received the Democratic Party’s endorsement. “We’re still recruiting candidates,” Harris said. “We’ve had a lot of interest, but we haven’t had anybody ready to take that leap.”

    * CBS Chicago | “They tortured him”; police used Taser on special needs teen for breaking window before shooting him: As her son got away from the Taser, he started to sprint. At that point, his encounter with police became nearly fatal. The other officer, Sergeant Scott Langan, drew his gun from his holster, aimed it, and fired - shooting the teen just below his belt on his hip. Fearing he might get shot again, he hid in a nearby yard, bleeding.

    * Tribune | Illinois judge who reversed sexual assault ruling awaits fate after disciplinary hearing: The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates grievances against sitting judges, accused [Judge Robert Adrian] of circumventing the state’s mandatory sentencing law when he vacated his decision during Clinton’s Jan. 3, 2022, sentencing hearing. The board also accused Adrian of lying about his motives during sworn testimony last April as part of its investigation, and of ejecting from his courtroom a prosecutor who “liked” a social media post critical of Adrian.

    * Sun-Times | Peoples Gas rate hike would hurt Chicagoans struggling to pay utility bills, advocates say: Peoples Gas petitioned the commission in January for a record increase of $402 million. If approved, that would translate to customers seeing an average monthly increase of $11.83 — or $141.96 a year — in their bills. Glennon Dolan, an administrative law judge for the commission, recommended the hike total $350 million instead, which would mean customers would pay an additional $10 a month.

    * Tribune | Clout-heavy contractor linked to federal investigations at City Hall and in the suburbs: The businesses have garnered government contracts from across Cook County worth up to $250 million for demolition services, equipment rental and materials. At the same time, Bracken and the businesses themselves have contributed nearly $375,000 over the past two decades to a wide array of local elected officials, including a half-dozen who have been charged or come under federal investigation.

    * Daily Southtown | Orland Park pastor accused with Trump in Georgia election tampering says he will not ‘cooperate with evil’ and take plea deal: “I am not going to plead out to a lie,” he told a crowd of about 70 supporters. “I’m not going to cooperate with evil. This is bigger than me.” His legal team includes Chicago-area attorney David Shestokas, who spoke at the fundraiser and said that Lee’s expenses, not including legal fees, could be in the neighborhood of $150,000 if he has to spend several months in Georgia during the trial. That cost could be less if his case is severed.

    * Crain’s | Federal government putting Rush Street offices up for sale: It’s unclear whether the agency would continue to occupy the building after it is sold, though the GSA has sought to consolidate its office footprint in recent years. In one recent example, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is vacating its roughly 170,000-square-foot office at 233 N. Michigan Ave. and moving downtown employees into available space in federally owned buildings at 230 S. Dearborn St. and 77 W. Jackson Blvd.

    * SJ-R | Worth the wait: Springfield World War II veteran receives Congressional Gold medal: “We waited 77 years for recognition and now we have it,” said Kolis, who turns 99 next month. Kolis’ time in service included the delivery of materials onto the beach of Southern France, during the Invasion of Southern France also known as Little D-Day. There, his boat beached itself and was stuck for three days. He would later transport German prisoners of war to North Africa.

    * Illinois Times | The future of community journalism:Two foundations announced Nov. 6 that they are setting aside $2 million toward improving news coverage in Springfield and surrounding communities. “I don’t know if we’re what they call a news desert, but it’s gotten awfully dry,” said John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln during a grant announcement held at University of Illinois Springfield’s Student Union.

    * Daily Southtown | South suburban casino on pace for summer opening, interior work to begin in coming weeks: Wind Creek previously estimated the casino would be ready for customers by late summer or early fall of this year, but Kuehn said Friday construction is on track for an opening sometime from July to September 2024.

    * WJBC | Mercury opens in Springfield: A new consultancy/public relations/lobbying firm is open in downtown Springfield, and the people behind it know their way around politics and government. Springfield native and former U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and former State Sen. Toi Hutchinson are among the people at Mercury, whose local office is in the former cigar shop at Sixth and Monroe. The space was more recently the district office for Congressmen Darin LaHood and Aaron Schock.


  1. - Stormsw7706 - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 8:37 am:

    The journalism grants for the Springfield area are desperately needed. Illinois Times and updates from Capitol Fax are the only way to get any in depth information on what goes on in Sangamon County. Local TV and radio are not without significant bias. The SJR, which used to be an outstanding paper, has been whittled down to nothing. We are in the Sahara of news deserts.

  2. - Big Dipper - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 9:43 am:

    ==Only about a quarter of the money in the program went to low-income students==

    Is anyone surprised? Yet those students are all we heard about for weeks.

  3. - H-W - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 10:25 am:

    @ Big Dipper

    Nope. Unless you restrict access to poor people (about 25% of Americans), the working class (33%) and the middle class (33%) will easily consume most of these forms of relief for the poor. Not only do they represent larger portions of the population, but they also have greater accessibility to such programs.

    If this program comes back next year, I hope the Legislature will limit access to only those at or below the poverty threshold; not those 300% and 400% above the threshold.

  4. - JoanP - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    = We are in the Sahara of news deserts. =

    There are places that have to rely on 16-year-olds,246662

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