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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Dec 8, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

Some stories of interest

    * Capitol News Illinois | Chicago utility pushes back against state oversight, asks for further rate increase: In November, the Illinois Commerce Commission forced a yearlong pause on the company’s controversial pipeline replacement program while it investigates whether the program adequately prioritizes replacing high-risk natural gas pipes throughout Chicago, where the utility serves about 875,000 customers. The company alleged in a filing with the ICC last week that a “misunderstanding” in last month’s ruling will prevent the company from conducting emergency repairs and other “critical” work.

    * Sun-Times | Chicago police Sgt. John Poulos, whose fatal shootings of 2 men led to about $2 million in City Hall payouts, now running for judge: Sgt. John Poulos — whose career as a Chicago cop has been marked by two controversial fatal shootings and a push by the police superintendent to fire him in a misconduct case — is now running for judge in Cook County with the help of a Democratic Party insider and $500,000 in loans from his wife. … Poulos’ campaign committee is chaired by Tim Egan, the chief executive officer of Roseland Community Hospital, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the Chicago City Council from the 43rd Ward and now is the 2nd Ward Democratic committeeperson.

    * Shaw Local | McHenry County sheriff addresses deaths of 4 jail inmates this year: In acknowledging the inmate deaths, the statement said the office “has been fully transparent in providing information in conjunction with McHenry County Sheriff’s Office General Orders, policy and procedures, state laws and the consideration of affected families.” […] Despite its assertions of transparency, the office, led by Sheriff Robb Tadelman, did not proactively release any information about Sabo’s death or his identity at the time it occurred and confirmed it months later only after multiple inquiries by the Northwest Herald. It also remains unclear which agency is heading up that investigation. The McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team, or MIAT, is the agency the sheriff’s office cited in its Thursday release as handling the probes into the recent inmate deaths.

* IDHS press release

The Illinois Department of Human Services’ (IDHS) State-Operated Developmental Centers (SODCs) are amplifying COVID-19 testing and infection-prevention policies as a response to increased cases among residents and staff.

SODCs provide residential programs to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities who have severe medical and/or behavioral needs. IDHS operates seven developmental centers in the state.

Across the state, COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases and COVID-19 related hospitalizations have increased by nearly 50% since early November, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  

As of December 6, there were 58 residents, out of approximately 1,650 total, and 35 staff, out of approximately 3,500 total, who have tested positive for COVID-19 since November 20, with nearly all presenting mild symptoms.

SODC staff have provided positive residents and patients with treatment, including antiviral medication as appropriate. Only one resident is hospitalized, and they are in stable condition.

According to the release, 30 residents and 10 staff were infected at Waukegan’s Kiley Developmental Center. Another 15 residents and 10 staff were infected at Park Forest’s Ludeman Developmental Center. And 12 residents and 12 staff were infect at Kankakee’s Shapiro Developmental Center. More at the link.

* Meanwhile…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that with the holidays approaching, data indicate that the impact of respiratory viruses is being felt across the state with 44 counties now at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the CDC’s national COVID Data Tracker, as of the week ending November 25. COVID-19 hospitalization data indicate that 39 counties are at medium level and five are at high level, while statewide, there were 1,039 new hospitalizations reported, an increase of 20% over the previous week.

Data also show that broad acute respiratory hospitalizations are increasing across Illinois including COVID-19, flu and RSV. IDPH officials are especially concerned about pediatric ICU (PICU) capacity which is limited in many areas of the state. [Emphasis added.]

What’s going on in the Windy City?

City Council shared its new seating policy for public meetings which include neededing an ID and a reservation to sit in the main chamber. WBEZ reporter Mariah Woelfel has the story.

The city is adding impoundment to the list of penalties on bus companies bringing in asylum seekers. Crain’s reports that this applies to bus operators that don’t obey rules on where and when to drop off migrants they’re bringing to Chicago.

Rest of the roundup

    * NBC Chicago | Hourly minimum wage in Illinois set to increase on Jan. 1: For Illinois residents, the new year will once again bring an increase in the state’s hourly minimum wage as part of a three-year gradual increase to a statewide $15 minimum wage for non-tipped workers.

    * Press release | Illinois Collaboration on Youth Partners with Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children-All Families Initiative: With 1 in every 3 youth in foster and adoption care identifying as LGBTQ+, it has never been more dire for all foster care and adoption agencies to tend to the specific needs of LGBTQ+ youth. Apart from working closely with ICOY, our ACAF program works with over 135 agencies across the country to help them better implement LGBTQ+ inclusive practices and policies. Collectively, these agencies serve more than 1 million clients annually in 36 states and employ more than 26,000 employees.

    * WGEM | Quincy housing problems described as ‘not good’: The Great Plains Action Society’s itinerary concluded Thursday by attending Quincy’s Human Rights Commission meeting. That’s where they heard about the status of affordable housing in Quincy. Commissioners received updates from both the YWCA and Safe and Livable Housing committee. Representatives from both organizations described the status of affordable, livable and available housing as “not good.”

    * Daily Herald | Election season is here: Races to watch in Kane and DuPage counties: A three-way race will decide who becomes the Democratic nominee for the recorder position in DuPage. Meanwhile, Democrats in Kane will determine which of the two candidates for recorder moves on to the general election.

    * Sun-Times | Why youth homelessness is a big problem in Cook County: Young Black men are disproportionately affected by housing instability, and youth in foster care or who have experienced the death of a parent or caregiver are also at high risk, a recent Chapin Hall study found.

    * Chalkbeat | New data shows hundreds of Chicago Public Schools bus routes with fewer than 10 students: However, the data does not include students who have 504 plans — another type of legal document for students with disabilities — or homeless students, who are also entitled to transportation. District officials said the routes may include those students. One week before the data was captured, the district said it had routed a total of 8,105 students. […] Chalkbeat’s analysis of the route data for 7,350 students with IEPs found: There are an average 6.9 students with IEPs per route. 785 of the more than 1,000 routes have. 10 or fewer children with IEPs. 59 routes — or 5.4% — transport one child with an IEP.

    * WAND | 240 volunteers needed urgently for Sangamon County Toys for Tots program: Over 200 volunteers are urgently needed for Sangamon County Toys for Tots program. The Toys for Tots warehouse at White Oaks Mall is set up as a store for one day (Dec 15). There are ten tables, five for boys and five for girls, ages 0-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8-10, 11-18. Families who apply and are approved show up at an assigned time slot and get to pick out what toys they want for their children.

    * Crain’s | Wrigleyville’s oldest dive bar to Malört: Quit stealing our mixology ideas: Nisei’s Malört infusions date back to 2016 when a few employees stumbled upon an old box of candy canes behind the bar and decided it best not to let them go to waste. As any bartender would do, they dropped the peppermints into their favorite bottles of liquor — and so candy cane Malört was born. “It became a bar sensation for us,” Capone said.

    * Tribune | University of Chicago buys Hyde Park mansion once owned by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for $3.4M: Built around 1900, the 5,112-square-foot brick house, at 5725 S. Woodlawn Ave., was designed by the Rapp & Rapp architectural firm, which was widely known for designing movie palaces. The mansion was built for Cora Howland, who was the daughter of onetime Chicago Mayor John A. Roche, and her husband, lawyer and professor George C. Howland, who was part of U. of C.’s original teaching staff and who also wrote editorials for a time for the Tribune, according to Susan O’Connor Davis’ book “Chicago’s Historic Hyde Park.”

    * NYT | Amazon Is Cracking Down on Union Organizing, Workers Say: In disciplining the employees, Amazon has raised questions about the extent to which they are free to approach co-workers to persuade them to join a union, a federally protected right. The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has said Amazon is breaking the law through a policy governing the access that off-duty workers have to its facilities, which Amazon invoked in the recent firing. The board is seeking to overturn the policy at an upcoming trial.

    * NYT | How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change? A Sensor in Space Has Answers: Now, high in orbit, a new way of seeing forests is making it clear that, even when under assault, protected areas can still be a crucial buffer against climate change. Scientists are using laser technology to gauge the biomass of forests all around the world, which lets them calculate how much planet-warming carbon the trees are keeping out of Earth’s atmosphere.

    * AP | FDA approves 2 gene editing therapies that may cure sickle cell disease: In the U.S., an estimated 100,000 people have the disease and about a fifth of them have the severe form. Sickle cell is most common among Black people and 1 in 365 Black babies are born with the disease nationally. Scientists believe being a carrier of the sickle cell trait helps protect against severe malaria, so the disease occurs more often in mosquito-prone regions such as Africa or in people whose ancestors lived in those places.


  1. - Big Dipper - Friday, Dec 8, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    ==Poulos . . . is assigned to the police department’s records inquiry section, with a salary of nearly $130,000 a year.==

    Because he can’t be trusted on the street?

  2. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Dec 8, 23 @ 2:49 pm:

    Sgt. Poulos was a central figure in the below story. The big brains at the CST must have forgotten:

  3. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Dec 8, 23 @ 3:10 pm:

    I would bet that that police officer is on Kim Foxx’s do not call as a witness list so it is sort of ironic that he wants to be a judge.

  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 8, 23 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===I would bet that that police officer is on Kim Foxx’s do not call as a witness list ===

    Nope. Try using the Google before you make “bets” like that. C’mon. It’s free, for crying out loud.

  5. - Blitz - Friday, Dec 8, 23 @ 3:44 pm:

    I think way too many people skipped the updated vaccines this year and it could be a potentially rough winter (again) on that front.

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