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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Feb 8, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Day in court postponed for former lawmaker who checked into hospital on eve of corruption trial. Hannah Meisel

    - U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless postponed the trial until next week, opting to forgo more incremental status hearings like the five that had already taken place since McCann failed to show up for his trial on Monday morning.
    -Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass said by delaying the trial further, it would “reward” McCann.
    - Lawless said she understood Bass’ position that a delay in the trial was the outcome McCann wanted but said she didn’t believe it was “in the interest of justice” to force McCann to show up to trial beginning Thursday after having been in the hospital.

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Capitol News Illinois | In crisis, she went to an Illinois facility. Two years later, she still isn’t able to leave: With few viable options for intervention, she moved into Kiley Developmental Center in Waukegan, a much larger facility. There, she says she has fewer freedoms and almost nothing to do, and was placed in a unit with six other residents, all of whom are unable to speak. Although the stay was meant to be short term, she’s been there for two years. The predicament facing Rogers and others like her is proof, advocates say, that the state is failing to live up to the promise it made in a 13-year-old federal consent decree to serve people in the community.

    * SJ-R | Illinois lawmakers call for statewide child tax credit to help thousands of families: State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., D-Chicago, filed the most recent proposal Wednesday. House Bill 4917 sets a lower threshold at $300 per child starting in 2025 and then have an inflation-adjusted amount in subsequent years. Illinois would become the 14th state to pass a statewide child tax credit, which its supporters say will assist thousands of low-income families particularly those of color. The price tag, however, is estimated to run the state $300 million.

    * WBEZ | The Cook County Jail population has shrunk dramatically, but costs have not. Why?: Jail detainee numbers last month averaged 4,675, a 58% drop since the population peaked at 11,248 in September 2013. But inflation-adjusted operating expenditures for the jail and the sheriff’s electronic monitoring program fell just 18% from 2013 to 2023. The funds spent last fiscal year, which ended Nov. 30, totaled more than $412 million.

* Here’s the rest of your morning roundup…

    * WCIA | Pritzker announces $3 million investment in Route 66 preservation, modernization projects: Pritzker and DCEO officials said the grants will help bolster tourism, education and promotion of Route 66 while prioritizing the needs of future travelers. This comes as Route 66 approaches the 100th anniversary of its creation.

    * SJ-R | Running as a political outsider, Virden Republican seeks Congressional District 13 seat: His story, he asserts, is different from incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski, who he hopes to face in November. Loyd points out that Budzinski, then working as chief of staff of the federal Office of Management and Budget, had to move to Springfield to run for Congress in 2022. While true, Loyd also listed Carbondale — a town in the 12th Congressional District — as his home on his federal statement of candidacy last March. His November filing with the Illinois State Board of Elections now notes Virden as home. Congressional candidates only have to live in the state, not the district, to be eligible to hold office.

    * WTAX | Allege funding disparities: Black legislators and advocates celebrated Black HIV / AIDS Awareness Day Wednesday by ripping into the Illinois Department of Public Health, accusing the state of inequitable funding, even when Blacks have a disproportionate share of the cases. […] The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a response: The Illinois Department of Public Health appreciates the advocacy and commitment of its community-based partners who serve historically underserved communities. IDPH has worked diligently to ensure that HIV/AIDS grant funding goes to where it is needed the most, especially to address the disparities in HIV rates and access to testing and care in communities of color.

    * Tribune | Judge rejects request for hold on challenge to Donald Trump’s place on Illinois primary ballot: Judge Tracie Porter also rejected a request made by those objecting to Trump’s place on the Illinois ballot for an expedited court schedule, and set a Feb. 16 hearing for an appeal of the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Jan. 30 decision that kept Trump’s name on the ballot.

    * Sun-Times | Oops? County property tax bills misstated Chicago’s pension debt by more than $37 billion: ‘S— happens’: First-installment tax bills mailed last week listed Chicago’s unfunded health care and pension debt as $37,271,645 — billions of dollars less than the city actually owes. The actual unfunded pension liability of the city is $37,271,645,937. That’s some $37,234,374,292 higher than the erroneous figure on the tax bills.

    * Northwest Herald | 88 apartments proposed for downtown McHenry; developer seeks millions of dollars in city incentives: To make it work, company President David Patzelt said, Shodeen needs $6 million in public assistance from Tax Increment Financing, and an additional $2 million. […] But it wouldn’t be the TIF district the building is currently in. To make the project work, the company is asking McHenry to pull the property – the former city hall site – out of the existing TIF district and create a new one. That would restart the clock, giving the site 23 years of benefit from a new district.

    * Chalkbeat | The Illinois State Board of Education finalized a literacy plan. What’s next?: Advocates are pushing lawmakers to increase the state’s education budget and an increase of $550 million for the state’s evidence-based funding formula that supports public schools. Literacy advocates hope that the state board will set aside money to implement the literacy plan. The state board has recommended $3 million for fiscal year 2025 to implement the literacy plan, but advocates hope for $45 million.

    * VF Press | Westchester Hires Law Firm To Spur Economic Development: The village of Westchester has tapped Ancel Glink, a Chicago law firm that specializes in municipal law, to represent the suburb in negotiations with JD Realty, a firm that’s trying to redevelop several acres of village-owned land at the northeast corner of Mannheim and Roosevelt roads. But the agreement didn’t happen without some board members questioning the law firm’s ties to Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

    * Shaw Local | State asks to end Chester Weger’s exoneration bid in Starved Rock murder case: Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow filed a 78-page pleading Tuesday in La Salle County Circuit Court. In it, Glasgow argued that Weger, who is soon to be 85 years old, was in fact guilty of killing Lillian Oetting, one of three women found bludgeoned to death at the state park. “[Weger’s] repeated insistence that the ‘false confession’ was the only evidence against him is simply not true,” Glasgow assistant Colleen Griffin wrote.

    * Tribune | Bally’s Chicago bucks trend with casino revenue gains in January, while new hotel plan remains under review: In January, revenue at the temporary Medinah Temple casino grew 9.1% to $9.3 million in adjusted gross receipts, according to monthly data released Wednesday by the Illinois Gaming Board. Bally’s Chicago passed Harrah’s Joliet to rank third in revenue among the state’s 15 casinos. Admissions at Bally’s Chicago declined 11.5% to 88,313 in January, but the casino nonetheless held its ranking as the second busiest in the state.

    * Tribune | Amid controversy, Cook County prosecutors drop charges against students accused of distributing fake Daily Northwestern page: Cook County prosecutors on Wednesday dropped charges against two Northwestern University students amid controversy over the decision to pursue a criminal case against them for allegedly circulating a fake page of the student newspaper to protest the school stance on the crisis in Gaza and Israel.

    * Crain’s | Barnes & Noble opening store at Walgreens’ former Wicker Park flagship: “We generally want a bookstore everywhere. Every community, we think, needs a bookstore,” Barnes & Noble senior director of store planning and design Janine Flanigan told Crain’s, adding that “we were really missing the Chicago market” with no stores within city limits for several years.

    * STL PR | Missouri legalized recreational marijuana a year ago. What’s that mean for the Metro East?: Despite the February dip, Illinois broke records last year, totaling $1.6 billion in recreational sales. Missouri, in its first 11 months, sold just over $1 billion, despite Illinois having more than double Missouri’s population.

    * Tribune | Brittany Howard opens her national tour with spirited concert at Thalia Hall: Occupying her own private universe, Howard anchored an emotional outpouring that stretched sonic borders and asked as many questions as it answered. Songs avoided direct routes. Frustration, hesitancy and cautious hopefulness manifested in the forms of syncopated beats and off-kilter rhythms. Tempos halted and fluctuated. Vintage fusion, hip-hop, disco and club elements cross-pollinated with contemporary soul and dance grooves in ways that encouraged both introspection and movement.

    * Lake County News-Sun | Experience Johnny Cash in unique show at Waukegan’s Genesee: Thanks to state-of-the-art projection, audiences will see clips of Cash performing on his TV show, which from 1969 to 1971, with his vocals extracted. […] The show progresses through Cash’s life, he said, with the six-piece band performing along with his image.

    * NBC Chicago | Need an Illinois driver’s license or REAL ID? You can get one without an appointment here: There are plenty of reasons to head to the 2024 Chicago Auto Show, which begins this weekend — but one of them may be something you hadn’t considered. According to an announcement from Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, the Secretary of State’s Office will be on-hand at the two-week event beginning Friday, providing variety of services — from Illinois driver’s license renewals to applying for a REAL ID.

    * ABC Chicago | Renderings of possible new Chicago White Sox stadium in South Loop released: The renderings show an open-aired, half translucent ballpark, which would add to Chicago’s historic skyline. This new ballpark would move the Sox from their longtime Bridgeport home to a more than 60-acre plot of land in Chicago’s newest neighborhood known as “The 78.” The developer’s images imagined riverfront baseball nestled between Roosevelt Road and 18th Street.

    * Sun-Times | Pritzker Military Museum & Library closing Chicago location, retreats to Wisconsin: The Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced Wednesday it is closing its downtown location and moving to an archives center in Wisconsin later this year. The museum’s Monroe Building, at Monroe Street and Michigan Avenue, will shut its doors July 27 when the current exhibit, “War of 1812: Countering Peril on the High Seas and at Home,” closes.

       

4 Comments
  1. - 48th Ward Heel - Thursday, Feb 8, 24 @ 10:29 am:

    TIL there are 27,000 people in McHenry


  2. - cermak_rda - Thursday, Feb 8, 24 @ 12:59 pm:

    US Attorney Bass seems like a jerk. The guy was just in the hospital. And it’s only a week it’s not like he’s getting a month free. What’s his hurry anyway? He gets paid either way.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 8, 24 @ 1:06 pm:

    ===And it’s only a week===

    Yeah, but you gotta figure he has another move up his sleeve.


  4. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Feb 8, 24 @ 1:28 pm:

    Sun Times “Opps” article was a good read.
    Not sure how this could happen with all the different government agency folks working in this area.


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