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Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County responds to continued complaints about the Gotion EV battery plant

Kankakee County was presented with a rare opportunity this September when Gotion, Inc. announced its plans to invest $2 billion to convert a formerly closed facility in Manteno into an electric vehicle battery production facility. The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County fully supports this development because of the positive economic impact it will make in the region. Further, the Economic Alliance is committed to creating the conditions which ensure Kankakee County’s citizens, business, and organizations benefit from Gotion’s success. […]

According to economic modeling indicators created by Lightcast using data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Gotion’s investment in the county will result in well over 1,000 additional jobs in health care, hospitality, engineering, construction, and so many other areas of our local economy. New businesses will flourish, and our local entrepreneurs will be ready for the challenge.

We believe that concerns related to the tax incentives which were one factor in Gotion’s choice to invest in Kankakee County are short-sighted. Lightcast predicts that Gotion’s presence in the county will increase local tax revenue by several million dollars each year which will be, in turn, reinvested in the communities and organizations relying upon these revenues. These incentives also require investments made locally in a training program to ensure that Kankakee County residents have priority access to these great jobs in a thriving high-tech industry of the future.

Kankakee County was ranked the third best small manufacturing hub in the nation in 2023 in Business Facilities magazines’ annual metro rankings report. This ranking demonstrates the strength of manufacturing in this region, and it’s a diversified manufacturing base. Products made in Kankakee County range from food to biopharmaceuticals to steel. Now, we have an opportunity to further diversify industry in our community, and this can only strengthen our economy and position our communities for prosperity.

But only a single community member showed up to complain

At last week’s bi-monthly Economic Alliance of Kankakee County board of directors meeting, it adopted a five-paragraph resolution supporting the $2-billion Gotion development set for the long-vacant, 1.5-million-square-foot, former Kmart distribution property in Manteno. […]

At the conclusion of the meeting when audience members are asked to bring up items they would like to share, one audience member took the event in an entirely different direction.

Bob Forsythe, who said he is a 30-plus-year Manteno resident, blasted the alliance for its Gotion support.

* Thinking big at UIUC

The big ticket in the University of Illinois’ fiscal year 2025 budget request? The School of Art and Design’s proposal for an expansion to its building, clocking in at $111 million.

Leading reasons for the proposed Thinking and Learning addition include facility consolidation, as visual-arts students, faculty and staff are currently spread among 13 buildings.

Kevin Hamilton, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, said the expansion would support continuing growth of the school and create space for community members to practice art. […]

The $111 million request — which makes up 35 percent of the UI’s portion of the capital budget request — would cover both this addition and renovations to the original Art and Design building on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Peabody Drive, which has not seen a major overhaul since its construction in the late ’50s

* Politico

State Rep. Mary Flowers is facing another primary opponent — making her reelection bid a little easier. Democrat Mike Crawford has filed paperwork to run against Flowers, according to the State Board of Elections. Crawford is dean at The Chicago School, a private university in the city.

Getting crowded: Flowers, a veteran state rep, also faces competition from fellow Democrat Mark Hamberlin. The competition from fellow Democrats comes as Flowers has faced headwinds in the Democratic caucus. House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch banned her from meetings earlier this year claiming she was too disruptive. Welch also bumped her from his leadership team.

* Common sense finally arrives after way too much disruption was allowed (some of it contrived and maybe even paid for)

The Chicago City Council’s sergeant-at-arms is laying down the law in a belated attempt to stop raucous, profane and threatening behavior by members of the public that has left alderpersons fearing for their safety during meetings. […]

The rules would ban:

    • Profane, vulgar, threatening, abusive or disruptive language.
    • Demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech directed towards others.
    • Banners, fliers or signage. […]

Those in the gallery must remain seated, standing only when delivering public comment. They must silence their cellphones, use small handheld devices only when seated and avoid interfering with the “view or hearing” of others in attendance.

* Already?…

* From Isabel…

    * VOX | No Quiet in the Library: When she offered a toast at April’s Time 100 Gala in New York City, Tracie D. Hall, selected for Time magazine’s list of influential people, drew attention to librarians who have faced bomb threats, firings, and even jail time for resisting a growing effort to ban books. Hall, the first Black woman to head the Chicago-based American Library Association, received a standing ovation for her passionate declaration: “Free people read freely.”

    * WICS | Central Illinois organizations spearhead campaign that relived $3.5 million in medical debt: MBCR partnered with First Baptist Church of Bloomington and created a campaign to relieve medical debt, it was through their collaboration with a national non-profit that made this possible. “We reach out to the provider, and then anyone that is 400% of poverty or below or if the debt is a large burden onto them so that means 5% or more of someone’s income, we will relieve that debt,” said Allison Sesso, CEO of RIP Medical Debt.

    * WGLT | Laborers call for drivers to slow down after fatal crash near Bloomington I-74 construction zone: In a Facebook post, Laborers Local 362 called the crash “totally preventable” if the semitrailer truck involved had been “going the speed limit and paying attention in the construction zone.” “He wasn’t. So he slammed into the Crash Truck sending the Teamster in the cab to the hospital. He will live, but the semi driver was not as fortunate. Thank Goodness there were Crash Trucks protecting Laborers who were in the middle of the interstate doing the final touches to open a stretch of interstate that has been shut down all summer. Without the Crash Truck, the Laborers would have been exposed to the semi barreling through a construction zone. We are Thankful this wasn’t worse!” the Laborers said on Facebook.

    * WBBM | Local coalition calls on CPD to ban pretextual traffic stops: Members of the Free2Move coalition are calling on Chicago Police to ban pretextual traffic stops. Members of the coalition spoke at a City Council committee hearing. A member who did not identify herself stated that “Pre-textual stops are the legal loophole that allows police to stop people for minor reasons to fish for other signs of criminal activity, even when they have no suspicion in the first place.”

    * Crain’s | Zion fears loss of cancer hospital’s tax revenue will devastate city finances: McKinney said after the Zion Nuclear Power Station ceased operation in 1998, the cost to the city in lost property taxes resulted in a 135% increase in the city’s tax rate. He said the city’s been trying to dig out of that hole ever since. And while it was finally able to balance its budget recently after several years, if City of Hope gets a tax break, the city will be “back to square one.”

    * WGN | The push to protect nursing home residents: Delores Brown died nearly three years ago, after suffering a fall in a nursing home. The Illinois Department of Public Health later determined the facility was fault. But holding anyone accountable has been a challenge, WGN Investigates has found. “I’m very angry,” said Delores’ daughter, Chereese Brown. “Because you trust the facility to take care of your mom.”

    * ABC Chicago | Libertyville parents sue Volkswagen over tracking of carjacked vehicle with child inside: Last February, Taylor Shepherd was outside her home in Libertyville, about to get her son from the car, when police said two men pulled up, knocked her to the ground, and stole her car with her two-year-old son inside. That toddler was later found in a Waukegan parking lot unharmed. But Volkswagen allegedly refused to give law enforcement the GPS tracking location data from the car because the free trial period had expired.

    * Sun-Times | Howard Brown health care workers kick off two-day strike, seek better pay and benefits: The union’s demands include a raise of the minimum hourly wage of $21 from $16.07, affordable health insurance, layoff protections and notices, overtime pay for shifts longer than eight hours, remote work options and negotiations before the changes of job duties.

    * WCIA | ISBE clerical workers picket outside board meeting: Many clerical workers picketed outside of the Springfield ISBE building Monday evening. The group, which is represented by the AFSCME Local 2811, is demanding a higher wage increase in their collective bargaining. Shelley Hamlin, the president of Local 2811, said their salaries have been behind the market average for decades.

    * SJ-R | Man accused of shooting ISP trooper pleads not guilty to attempted murder: Santana is accused of shooting Chapman-Green more than 10 times, striking him twice in the leg, then hitting the trooper with his firearm, causing a brain bleed and skull and facial fractures. He then fled with law enforcement beginning a nearly three-hour search for him. He was arrested shortly before 2 a.m.

    * Daily Herald | McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge dead after falling ill at courthouse Monday: McHenry County Associate Judge Micheal Coppedge, described by colleagues as courteous, brilliant and honorable, died Monday morning after falling ill in his chambers at the courthouse in Woodstock.

    * AP | Wisconsin Senate approves plan for more than half a billion dollars of public funds to help Milwaukee Brewers repair stadium: The Brewers say 22-year-old American Family Field needs extensive repairs. The stadium’s glass outfield doors, seats and concourses need replacing, the stadium’s luxury suites and video scoreboard need upgrades and the stadium’s signature retractable roof, fire suppression systems, parking lots, elevators and escalators need work, according to the team. Brewers officials initially said the team might leave Milwaukee if they didn’t get public dollars for repairs. Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ president of business operations, softened the team’s stance last month, saying the Brewers want to remain in the city “for the next generation.” But the prospect of the team leaving looms.

    * AP | The Biden administration is slow to act as millions are booted off Medicaid, advocates say: Up to 30 million of the poorest Americans could be purged from the Medicaid program, many the result of error-ridden state reviews that poverty experts say the Biden administration is not doing enough to stop. The projections from the health consulting firm Avalere come as states undertake a sweeping reevaluation of the 94 million people enrolled in Medicaid, government’s health insurance for the neediest Americans. A host of problems have surfaced across the country, including hourslong phone wait times in Florida, confusing government forms in Arkansas, and children wrongly dropped from coverage in Texas.


  1. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    =State Rep. Mary Flowers=

    Still the worst member of the ILGA. Considering The freedom caucus exists (or whatever it’s name is) that is saying something.

  2. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 4:39 pm:

    ====Much ire seems to start from the fact Gotion is a China-based company. Opponents have linked the company, although without specifics, to being directed by the Chinese Communist Party.

    Is is much ire though? Really seems more like a small amount of ire including one in live person and some keyboardists on the Facebook.

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Nov 14, 23 @ 5:28 pm:

    It is comical that the Sargent at Arms, as opposed to the electeds, had to step in and show some leadership to stop the craziness.

  4. - Stix Hix - Wednesday, Nov 15, 23 @ 7:11 am:

    Re: The School of Art and Design proposal

    Full disclosure: I struggle to draw stick people.

    I would encourage all to visit a design exhibition at Krannert Art Museum. I have learned so much about the process and education of design and what goes into it.

    It’s not only making a model, but there will be a lengthly book on how to do it, including:

    What the environmental impact
    The sourcing and transportation of materials
    And, how it will eventually be recycled or disposed of.

    Like they say. It’s complicated, and requires considerable training.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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