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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Monday, Nov 13, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* WBEZ | Chicago’s model for providing mental health care is riddled with access barriers, a study shows: Those barriers include long wait times, health centers that are unreachable by public transit, a lack of availability during non-business hours, and inability to reach centers to schedule an appointment altogether. The assessment was conducted by the Collaborative for Community Wellness — a group of community organizations and licensed health care clinicians that has been advocating for the reopening of the city’s mental health clinics shuttered under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

* Illinois Public Media | Impacts of the climate crisis on communities of color: Illinois is one of 33 states with a climate action plan. It includes goals like taking most coal plants offline by 2030 and natural gas plants by 2045, environmental equity, and putting 1-million electric vehicles on the road by the end of the decade. But Akinsanola says Illinois cannot do alone.

* CNN | US Supreme Court rejects appeal of Illinois prisoner kept in solitary confinement for 3 years: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, joined by her liberal colleagues Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented from the court’s decision not to take up Johnson’s appeal, highlighting the dismal conditions. “For three years,” Jackson wrote, “Johnson had no opportunity at all to stretch his limbs or breathe fresh air.” She noted that without the ability to exercise, Johnson’s “mental state deteriorated rapidly.”

* Rockford Register Star | Reopening Belvidere plant could jolt economy across Rockford region and beyond: Belvidere native Ron Byers, now a Roscoe resident and 30-year veteran of the Belvidere Assembly Plant said three generations starting with his father and uncle worked at the plant. “This thing is life-changing for the community,” Byers said. “What this does is give another boost to this community. It puts the eyes of other manufacturing facilities that’s looking for places to go, right here in the Midwest.”

* Daily Herald | How students connecting with trusted adults on campus is raising high school graduation rates: An emphasis on building relationships between students and adults in school is among the approaches shared by the three schools. “These personal connections are what inspires students to make an effort to finish,” Palatine High School Principal Tony Medina said. “They’re making a strong connection, knowing that people are here going out of their way to support them.”

* Hyde Park Herald | State Sen. Robert Peters recaps year’s final legislative session, looks ahead: “I am not a fan of Invest in Kids,” Peters said. “I am a believer that public schools need to be fully publicly funded and that it is the public’s responsibility to do so.” […] “If donors or rich people really care about this, they can just give the kids the money to go to these schools. It doesn’t need to be a tax write-off for them,” Peters said.

* Crain’s | Johnson picks Chicago’s next public health chief: Dr. Olusimbo “Simbo” Ige, a public health expert with nearly two decades of experience, is Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pick for the next commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, a role that’s been vacant for three months. Ige, 44, comes to CDPH from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a New Jersey-based health care and equity-focused nonprofit, where she has been the managing director of programs since January. Prior to that, Ige was the assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene from 2020 to 2023, where she oversaw a team of 500 people and an annual budget that topped $1 billion in some years.

* Streetsblog | Study: 12 Ft. Lanes Are Deadlier Than 10 Ft. Ones — So Why Do Many DOTs Build Them Anyway?: Roomy roads are proven to encourage faster, deadlier driving regardless of the speed limit, but previous research based on more limited data found less correlation between gargantuan lanes and high crash rates — with some researchers and engineers even arguing that narrow roads are more dangerous because they increase the possibility of “side friction” between cars. Unlike the 129-page Hopkins paper, though, those studies didn’t go street-by-street on Google Maps and use advanced machine learning to identify and control for all the other traffic-calming features that might be cutting crashes besides paint, including the number of lanes, the curvature of the road, and the presence of bike lanes, street trees and generous sidewalks.

* The Pantagraph | Inside the Stonington facility that processes 38 billion soybean seeds a year: The Stonington processing plant is fed by about 2,400 trucks a year delivering 27 separate varieties of soybeans, grown by 72 seed growers on 550 fields, Rohrer said. About 75% of the beans processed are Asgrow, with the balance being Channel and other regional brands.

* Crain’s | In the balancing act between development and gentrification, Humboldt Park is at a tipping point: In the quest to bring new life to the neighborhood, local developers Tim Swanson and Bill Williams are acquiring city and county lots and adding modular homes. Their formula is designed to enable families to buy and own their homes affordably and build generational wealth. “We’re trying to kick-start and stabilize the neighborhood,” Williams says, “and get the market going with some moderately priced, well-built, energy-efficient homes.” It’s hoped that restaurants, supermarkets and other retailers will follow.

* Daily Herald | Former Lake in the Hills woman pleads guilty to Jan. 6 charges: Four charges were brought in September against Mai Le: entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. Mai Le, whom court documents now list as living in Montgomery, originally pleaded not guilty to all four charges, court documents show. She entered a plea agreement Oct. 20 with federal prosecutors, who dropped the other charges, according to court records filed Wednesday.

* Sun-Times | Chicago firefighter Andrew ‘Drew’ Price dies after battling Lincoln Park blaze: “He was a lovely man,” his battalion chief Michael McCormack said. “He was as sweet as can be. He took extremely good care of himself and his family. He was extremely healthy. He was a light of sunshine.” Price is the fourth Chicago Fire Department member to die in the line of duty this year.

* NYT | Vermont May Be the Face of a Long-Term U.S. Labor Shortage: Vermont offers an early look at where the rest of the country could be headed. The baby boom population is aging out of the work force, and subsequent generations aren’t large enough to fully replace it. Immigration slumped during the pandemic, and though it has since rebounded, it is unclear how long that will last, given a lack of broad political support for higher immigration. Birthrates are falling.

* Nieman Lab | “Arguments on a daily basis”: How couples who disagree politically navigate news: For one couple studied, that meant sharing control over what TV news channel was playing during the day: the conservative woman would decide in the morning, and her liberal boyfriend took charge in the afternoon. For others, that meant finding shared news rituals they could both agree on — like watching the evening news on ABC while preparing dinner each night — while allowing space for individual podcast or social media consumption that tailored to each other’s interests. And, for others, it meant a pulling away from news and politics altogether.

* Sun-Times | Pandas are leaving U.S. zoos. They made their American debut in Chicago.: The first live panda seen in the United States arrived at Brookfield Zoo in February 1937, according to the Chicago Zoological Society. The panda, named Su-Lin, quickly became a sensation. Su-Lin was brought to Chicago by Pennsylvania-born author and adventurer Ruth Harkness. Harkness had set out on a search for pandas after her husband left to hunt for them in the mountainous border region between China and Tibet and never returned.

* PJ Star | Beloved central Illinois potato chip reviving recipe ‘you know and love’: The Nov. 9 Facebook announcement has garnered over 1,500 reactions and more than 800 comments. Many expressed excitement for the updated recipe − with one comment even likening the change to “a Christmas miracle.” Multiple commenters noted that the previous recipe had departed from the original taste customers had come to love.

* Herald-Review | Serval captured and in custody of Macon County Animal Control: The Macon County Animal Control and Care Center posted on Facebook on Saturday that the serval, which had been running loose in Macon County since escaping his northside Decatur home in October, had been captured between Forsyth and Maroa. The post said the cat will remain in the custody of animal control while the legal issues surrounding ownership are sorted out, but that the cat will not be euthanized.


  1. - Jibba - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 3:35 pm:

    I hope “Belvidere native Ron” remembers who is working to make his life better when the next gubernatorial election comes along. Often it seems that folks look past the actual good stuff and end up deciding their vote on outrage issues generated by national news networks.

  2. - Dotnonymous x - Monday, Nov 13, 23 @ 7:19 pm:

    I’m glad they found the Serval…Animals are not toys or possessions.

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