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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Friday, Mar 1, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sen. Emil Jones III’s jury trial has been reset for Dec. 9. Jason Meisner

* Illinois Community College Board…

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) today announced $3 million in state grants to community colleges to expand access to its Dual Credit Program that allows students the ability to earn college-level credits while still in high school.

The Dual Credit Program has become a progressively popular option for Illinois high school students with enrollment in the program increasing by 29% cumulatively over the last five years and 65% cumulatively over the last decade.

A new report released by the ICCB found that High school students who took dual credit courses have substantially higher community college graduation rates and advancement rates than those students who did not enroll in dual credit coursework. […]

Other Dual Credit report findings:

    · In fiscal year 2023, Illinois community colleges offered a total of 14,638 dual credit courses, which was an increase of 8.1 percent from the previous year.
    · In Illinois, during fiscal year 2023, a total of 82,602 individual (i.e., “unduplicated”) high school students enrolled in one or more community college dual credit courses.
    · One in five students (20.1 percent) taking one or more Illinois community college credit courses was a high school dual credit student.
    · Overall, in fiscal year 2023, dual credit duplicated (seat count) enrollment increased 11.5 percent compared to one year ago.

* Crain’s

Walgreens Boots Alliance will begin dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone at select pharmacies this month in a handful of states, including Illinois.

Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman told Crain’s on March 1 the company completed a certification process administered by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to dispense the medication in select pharmacies.

Aside from Illinois, Walgreens will sell the pill in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and California, he said.

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that it is adopting updated guidance from the CDC that streamline and simplify recommendations for dealing with the range of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, flu and RSV. The new guidance focuses on protecting those most at risk of serious illness.

The CDC guidance was issued as data indicate respiratory viruses are continuing to circulate around Illinois and the state’s overall respiratory virus level has moved up from Low to Moderate based on an uptick in flu reports. The state remained at Low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker as of February 24. The data showed that six counties are at Medium level for COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from eight the previous week. There are no counties at High level for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Also this week on Wednesday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued a recommendation for a second dose of the current 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines that were authorized last fall to be given to those over 65 years of age. Those who are immunosuppressed remain eligible to receive additional doses 2 months after their previous dose. A CDC presentation that was provided for the ACIP meeting included preliminary data that showed that COVID-19 hospital admissions remained much higher than flu during the summer months and that 96% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in the fall of 2023, had not received the updated Covid shot last fall. This implies that the current shot is highly protective against serious outcomes.

“IDPH appreciates the new guidance from the CDC that streamlines recommendations across respiratory viruses and provides simple, clear and easy to understand steps for those with COVID-19, flu and RSV,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These new guidelines put the emphasis correctly on protecting those who are most vulnerable to serious illness and hospitalizations. While Illinois is in a better position than we were two months ago, the State is currently experiencing an uptick in our overall respiratory illness level. Individuals 65 and over, those who are immunocompromised, and individuals with chronic medical conditions remain most vulnerable to severe outcomes, and they should continue to use all tools at their disposal to keep themselves protected.

“Flu season can last until May, and it is not too late to get your flu shot if you haven’t already,” Dr. Vohra added. “The CDC also released new recommendations this week that allow older adults to now receive an additional dose of this season’s COVID-19 vaccine. An additional dose for those at highest risk can add protection this spring and summer.”

* Here’s the rest…

    * Crain’s | City proposes major spending cuts to key O’Hare terminal project: In response, the Department of Aviation trimmed $718 million from a budget estimate in November that put the price tag at $6.65 billion, according to a presentation shared with airlines Feb. 15 that was obtained by Crain’s. (In late 2022, according to the document, the budget was $7.6 billion, including additional projects added to the plan. The city now says it can build all of it for $6.1 billion.)

    * WTTW | Illinois Paid at Least $640K to Review Controversial ‘Invest In Kids’ Tax Credit Program, But Results Are Deemed ‘Inconclusive’: “What we can learn from this report is limited and inconclusive due to the absence of demographic data for the scholarship recipients and the lack of apples-to-apples comparisons,” Illinois State Board of Education spokesperson Jackie Matthews said in a statement about the just-published analysis on Invest in Kids.

    * Center Square | Pressure mounts for daylight saving time reform: One of those calling for an end to this system, state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, stressed the consequences of sleep loss especially for children and senior citizens. “Any legislator with small children knows what it is like to have to move our clocks forward and hour and lose an hour of sleep and the damage it does to not just our sleep but to our children and how they’re feeling, their productivity, during the day,” Morgan told The Center Square.

    * Daily Herald | Is the autoworkers union endorsing Foster or Rashid in the 11th District? It depends who you ask: Even though laborers with UAW Local 1268 — including its president, Matt Frantzen — enthusiastically praised Foster in the ad and thanked him for working with President Joe Biden to save their jobs and reopen Stellantis’ idle Belvidere Assembly Plant, the UAW’s Region 4 office in downstate Ottawa is backing rival Qasim Rashid. In a statement issued Thursday by Rashid’s campaign, regional UAW representative John Gedney called Naperville’s Rashid “a proven advocate for working people” and proclaimed him to be the only person in the race “aligned with UAW’s principles.”

    * SJ-R | Fight against poverty: Illinoisans to rally outside the state capitol this weekend: The march is part of the Poor People’s Campaign of Illinois, which is joining 31 other states in an organized event to assemble outside the state capitol with demands for the upcoming primary election being held on March 19.

    * Daily Herald | 49th District GOP rivals debate their electability in November showdown with Hirschauer: Both candidates expressed distaste for politics itself, and the notion that government is the solution to all problems rather than the personal leadership they feel they possess.

    * Daily Herald | Pierog: Sanctuary status for Kane County already decided by state law: A tide of concern about recent migrant busing into Kane County reached its apex this week as residents packed a county board meeting to overflow status with calls to reject any move toward a formal sanctuary county proclamation. Sanctuary cities are viewed as being welcoming to migrants, including those who make unauthorized border crossings. After waiting two hours to speak, County Board Chair Corinne Pierog told them they were too late. Kane County already is a sanctuary county, Pierog said. She pointed to state legislation approved in 2017 and signed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. “The Trust Act made 102 counties in the state of Illinois what you would consider a sanctuary county,” Pierog told the raucous audience. “You are asking if I’m advocating Kane County be a sanctuary county? That was already done by a Republican governor. I cannot undo state law.”

    * Bolts | As Kim Foxx Exits, Chicago Is Choosing the Next “Gatekeeper” of Its Bail Reform: But Burke has also blamed Foxx for being too lenient in some cases, signaling she’d turn the page on the incumbent’s reform priorities. Harris has comparatively aligned himself with the outgoing state’s attorney, whose tenure has seen a considerable decline in the local jail population. Local progressive leaders and the county Democratic Party recently coalesced around Harris as the candidate more likely to continue criminal legal reforms in Chicago.

    * WBBM | Sorry, drivers: Kennedy Expressway construction closures returning soon: After a three month break, the major Kennedy Expressway construction project will resume on the night of March 11, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced. The first morning commute to be impacted will be Tuesday, March 12. This next phase of the three-year project will be conducted in the reversible express lanes and is not expected to be completed until late this fall. During this period, all Kennedy express lanes in both directions will be closed.

    * WCIA | Urbana families rally, voice concerns over elementary school redistricting plans: Some parents support the change, while others want to put the process on pause. But they all say this seems like a similar situation to the closure of Wiley Elementary school last year. What they don’t agree on is what the district’s next steps can be. “They’re trying to close more schools without a plan, and we just want to pause. We want to work with the district, we want to plan, and we want stability for our children,” said Mabruka Yazidi of the Urbana Schools Action Coalition.

    * WNIJ | Western Illinois University president stepping down: In his letter, Huang said, “After much reflection, I have decided to leave the University.” He added, “This was not an easy conclusion to come to, but I have decided it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life and be closer to my family.” He did not elaborate further on his reasons for leaving.

    * WCIA | UIS receives grant to help with teacher shortage: The University’s School of Education is putting the money towards developing a new program that will include another college and a school district in Springfield and Decatur. UIS will use the money for 15 forgivable loans of $25,000 each for students planning to teach in Springfield and Decatur for five years.

    * Daily Herald | Can working less lead to happier, healthier and better cops?: Can fewer hours on the job lead to better policing and healthier, happier law enforcement officers? A police department in the Denver suburbs is trying to answer that question with its switch last year to a 32-hour workweek for every member of the force. And the results so far have law enforcement leaders across the country taking notice.

    * Sun-Times | Coffee roaster’s partnership creates job opportunities for adults with disabilities: The Aspire CoffeeWorks program at Metropolis has offered part-time work to disabled adults through the Hillside-based nonprofit Aspire. The partnership isn’t just a great way to provide paid work to the program’s employees, managers say. It’s also a way to show businesses can succeed by employing people of all abilities, said Katie Filippini, director of Aspire CoffeeWorks.

    * Lauren Gustus | You should know what the Utah speaker said is wrong: [Utah] Gov. Spencer Cox has already signed legislation making elected officials and lawmakers’ work calendars a secret. Other bills, if signed, will pay for private companies to scrape lawmakers’ public information from the web and mean you won’t know how much water Utah wants to buy from other states and what it will cost taxpayers.


1 Comment
  1. - Blitz - Friday, Mar 1, 24 @ 2:55 pm:

    Thanks for the Salt Lake Tribune find, Isabel. Well, that and everything else you put together.

    I just last night replayed one of my favorite games of all time, small title called Orwell, and it’s the other side of the coin discussed in the opinion piece. The pattern being built is one where those in power are finding ways to hide their info from the public while the public at large continually finds information being collected on them from all sorts of avenues, new and old. Really disappointing to see.

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