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Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Pritzker pitches grants to open new stores in food deserts. Sun-Times

    - Pritzker’s Illinois Grocery Initiative, enacted last year, initially offered up $3.5 million in grant funding for local grocers.
    - While the first phase supported equipment upgrades for existing independently owned grocers, the second phase of the program will offer grants to open new grocery stores in food deserts.
    - The awards, which can range between $160,000 and $2.4 million, require the recipient to put up matching funds equal to one-third of the grant.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Tribune | Local School Council elections are this week. Why that matters to your community.: Local School Councils exist at each of the more than 600 public schools spanning all 77 neighborhoods of Chicago, and operate independently of the district administration, the school board and other schools. They were created in part to give Chicago parents more control over what happens at their children’s schools. […] In recent months, the autonomy of LSCs came up when the Board of Education voted to remove student resource officers from all district schools — a controversial measure that effectively removed local school decision-makers from the process.

    * ABC Chicago | Blue Island Police Department to swear in its 1st officer who is a DACA recipient: On Tuesday night, she will become a police officer for the south suburb, and she wants to encourage others to follow their dreams, regardless of their citizenship status. Mitchell Soto-Rodriguez has deep roots in Blue Island. “Some officers, when I’m riding with them, they are like, ‘you say hi to everyone.’ Well, I know the community, so they know me. They know who I am,” Soto-Rodriguez said.

Governor Pritzker will be in Springfield to give remarks at the Illinois Makers Madness Luncheon. Click here to watch at 12:30 pm.
* Here’s the rest…

    * Daily Herald | Lake County staffer leaving for state post as adviser on homelessness: In May, Community Development Administrator Brenda O’Connell will join the Illinois Housing Development Authority as a senior policy adviser responsible for coordinating the agency’s work in the statewide homeless response. In announcing her departure, O’Connell lauded the partnership of others for ensuring the success of various programs.

    * WAND | Champaign County Auditor under investigation: Serious allegations have been made against the Champaign County Auditor after months of complaints by his staff and a forensic audit of his computer. WAND obtained documents of filed HR complaints from staff accusing auditor George Danos of having inappropriate images on his work computer, undressing in front of staff and berating and cursing at staff members.

    * Daily Herald | Kane County Board delays vote on sales tax referendum: But board member Chris Kious said the resolution should be sent to the finance committee for discussion first. While the committee previously discussed the idea of instituting a sales tax, Kious said the panel never considered a formal resolution. The board agreed unanimously.

    * Daily Herald | Should DuPage County elected officials get a pay raise?: Members of the county board’s finance committee Tuesday seemed to settle on a proposal that would offer those board members and countywide officials also on the November ballot no raises in the first two years of their terms. They would receive a 2% and 3% increase in the final two years of their terms if board members sign off on the proposal later this month. Currently, county board members are paid $52,102 a year. Under the proposed increases, board members would see a $1,042 bump in the third year of their term and a $1,594 increase in their fourth year.

    * BND | Madison County Board will consider putting secession question to voters in November: The Government Relations Committee of the Madison County Board on April 2 approved a nonbinding advisory referendum 6-1 that asks voters if they should communicate with other counties outside Chicago about secession. The full board still needs to approve the referendum for it to be on the November ballot. The committee’s actions possibly negated a requirement that supporters gather roughly 7,800 signatures — about 8% of the county’s turnout during the last gubernatorial election — to get the referendum in front of the county’s voters.

    * Tribune | Evanston to continue exploring options for migrant shelter: Discussions at the April 8 City Council meeting moved away from hosting a potential shelter at 1020 Church Street, a vacant two-story office space with the ability to house anywhere from 60 to 65 people, or the Morton Civic Center, where city operations are being temporarily moved from starting in July.

    * QC Times | Moline-Coal Valley school board votes to censure member Farrell over dating app allegations: As previously reported, Matthew Harris — the ex-husband of Farrell’s wife — claims Farrell has been “pretending to be (him),” including pretending to be a veteran, on Tinder. He detailed the accusations in a YouTube video titled, “Moline Coal Valley School Board Member Pretends to be Military Veteran on Tinder.”

    * Daily Beast | The Catfish Scandal Rocking an Illinois School Board: “We are not a court or jury, but the alleged conduct is just so deeply disturbing, and it has resulted in the district being cast in a terrible light,” board President Andrew Waeyaert said at the meeting. “The board and administration have been inundated with inquiries, complaints, and FOIA requests about this matter, and it has monopolized all of our time,” he added. “This situation and its impact have taken away countless hours from our mission, which is to serve kids and families.”

    * Sun-Times | Lori Lightfoot hired to investigate embattled Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard: Lightfoot was greeted by a round of applause and cheering at Monday’s meeting, telling the crowd their large turnout was an indication that “people in this village want something different, they want to go in a different direction.”

    * Crain’s | On O’Hare expansion, the city gives the airlines what they want: In a letter sent to the airlines last week and obtained by Crain’s, the Johnson administration offers the airlines what they have been pushing for: a new sequence of construction for the long-stalled airport revamp as well as a signal that some of the fancier design elements included in the original blueprint could be dropped. “The city plans to prioritize construction of Satellite 1 and O’Hare global terminal before construction of Satellite 2, while continuing work on aspects of Satellite 2 and other (Terminal Area Project) elements that are necessary,” the letter states.

    * Sun-Times | Watchdog chief questions whether Chicago cops lied about why they stopped Dexter Reed before killing him in exchange of gunfire: COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten raised “grave concerns” about the officers in a letter to police Supt. Larry Snelling last week, days before her agency released video it said showed the officers firing roughly 96 shots in just 41 seconds after Reed shot one of them during a traffic stop.

    * PJ Star | Illinois issues warning on cosmetic procedures after 2 hospitalized with botulism symptoms: Both patients had received injections of Botox, or a similar counterfeit product, from a licensed nurse in LaSalle County who was performing work outside of her authority, according to a news release from IDPH.

    * Tribune | Federal court delivers another victory to Obama Foundation in park group fight: Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood — joined by Judges Ilana Rovner and David Hamilton — ruled against the parks advocacy group, which argued in October that the city’s agreement to lease a slice of Jackson Park to former President Barack Obama’s foundation to build a museum and complex violated the public trust.

    * Bloomberg | How the U.S. Steel takeover became about Biden and swing states: Unions don’t typically hold much sway in the world of takeover battles. But Nippon Steel’s bid to buy US Steel is now caught in an election year maelstrom as President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, in the wake of the union’s objections, have both publicly opposed the deal as they vie for blue-collar votes. The turmoil threatens to strain American relations with one of its top allies while underscoring how the politics of winning swing-state voters is dramatically influencing the corporate landscape.

    * WCIA | UI study examines social media usage during disaster: Tweets from Puerto Rico and places in the U.S. with large Puerto Rican populations — like Florida, California, New York and Texas — were considered in the sampling. Pérez Figueroa said that despite the collapse of the island’s power grid, users in Puerto Rico were still able to access Twitter during the hurricane. He believes this is because Twitter does not require a strong signal to use, making it more reliable under extreme conditions.

    * Tribune | Proposed master plan for former McDonald’s campus in Oak Brook recommends mixed-use district: The proposed master plan for a project to be developed on the former McDonald’s campus site in Oak Brook includes a mixed-use district of restaurants and retail, along with both owner-occupied condominiums and townhomes. The plan was to be submitted Tuesday, April 9 for preliminary review by the Oak Brook Village Board and still needs approval before work may begin. Village Manager Greg Summers said the preliminary board review is the very first step in the process for a proposed Planned Development.

    * SJ-R | African American History Museum in Springfield searching for new executive director: The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum is starting the search for their next executive director, following first director Nalo Mitchell’s resignation from the museum on March 30. Mitchell announced her leaving of the museum in a statement days before a Women’s History Month panel which took place on March 30. In the statement, Mitchell said she has served her one-year contract with the museum successfully, as she moves forward in her career.

    * The Nation | Elon Musk Wants to Gut the National Labor Relations Act: In late November, at a New York Times DealBook Summit where the aspiring-to-be-rich gather to get pointers from the actually rich, the Tesla CEO explained that “I disagree with the idea of unions…. I just don’t like anything which creates a lords-and-peasants sort of thing.” In the same interview, Musk—a mega­-billionaire who famously threatened, in 2018, to take away the stock options of Tesla workers if they organized to exercise their collective-bargaining rights—griped, “I think the unions naturally try to create negativity in a company.”

    * Sun-Sentinel | Judge blocks teacher pronoun restriction, saying Florida once again has a ‘First Amendment problem’: A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Florida education officials from enforcing a law requiring a transgender teacher to use pronouns that align with her sex assigned at birth, saying the law violated her First Amendment rights. The 2023 law restricts educators’ use of personal pronouns and titles in schools.

    * NYT | The U.S. Urgently Needs a Bigger Grid. Here’s a Fast Solution: Replacing existing power lines with cables made from state-of-the-art materials could roughly double the capacity of the electric grid in many parts of the country, making room for much more wind and solar power. This technique, known as “advanced reconductoring,” is widely used in other countries. But many U.S. utilities have been slow to embrace it because of their unfamiliarity with the technology as well as regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles, researchers found.

    * Sports Handle | Illinois Sports Betting Handle Totals $1.07 Billion For February: The state collected more than $12.5 million in tax receipts, lifting its two-month total for 2024 to $32.8 million. Cook County, which is home to Chicago and has a 2% levy on revenue generated within its limits, saw an inflow of $921,855 into its coffers for the month.

    * Sun-Times | Amid slow start, injuries, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol faces uphill climb: Pedro Grifol, in the second year of a three-year contract, has his hands full with a roster that not only wasn’t built to win but was projected to lose 100 games. And that was before the Sox traded Cy Young candidate Dylan Cease. And before their only star, center fielder Luis Robert Jr., went down for weeks with a torn hip flexor a week into the season.

    * The Southern | Despite heavy eclipse traffic, no major emergencies in region: Paul Wappel, public information officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said the lack of major emergencies resulted from preparations from state and local agencies. Wappel said IDOT met with more than 36 counties and municipalities months ago to plan and prepare for Monday.

    * WSIL | Eight Babies Born at One Hospital in the Path of Totality on the Day of the Total Solar Eclipse: These eight total solar eclipse babies were announced on the SSM Health Illinois Facebook page on Tuesday. Five boys and three girls were born at the SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital on April 8, 2024. The hospital is located in Mt. Vernon which was in the path of totality.


  1. - H-W - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 8:04 am:

    Re: BND article on Madison County secession

    Stupid is as stupid does, I suppose.

    Taking a “non-binding” vote to express hatred toward fellow citizens is one way to do it. Yes, Madison - that will show the rest of us.

    Why not make it a binding vote? Perhaps cowardice prevents these “leaders to the trough of Trump” folks from actually refusing to accept anymore funding from “Chicago and Cook County” (Illinois).

  2. - Blitz - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 8:52 am:

    =However, the vote would be purely symbolic and carry no true power. Proponents say it does send a signal, reflecting voters wishes’ like a poll or survey.=

    Does it? How can it? As far as I can tell an even stronger signal is that the candidates and policies they seem to support don’t win along the rest of the populace of the state, so why haven’t they received that signal? I’ll wait, but not hold my breath, for them to offer a trial balloon of an idea first, such as refuse to accept tax dollars generated outside of their communities.

  3. - Edwardsville Guy - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 9:37 am:

    The tin-hat Republicans in Madison county are making our county a laughingstock throughout the state.

    What a bunch of idiots.

  4. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 10:56 am:

    “I disagree with the idea of unions…. I just don’t like anything which creates a lords-and-peasants sort of thing.” - Elon Musk

    The lords and peasants concept is simply based on who has more power and control. It’s ironic that Musk states he dislikes unions for that reason. Unions seek to give the workers more power and control over their workplace, not less, and that’s actually what Musk dislikes about unions.

  5. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 11:04 am:

    Elon Musk disagrees with the idea of unions because he wants to be able to treat his employees however crappy he wants with no consequences or danger of being taken to task by individuals forming a union to fight back against his oppressive demands regarding work and his desire to make billions more dollars off of the back of his workers without having to reward them in any manner.

  6. - Pundent - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 11:11 am:

    Musk’s track record on labor issues be they working conditions, safety, or morale is really, really, bad. Unions are the only effective counter-balance to that. It’s no wonder that he doesn’t like them. But he should recognize that the decision to unionize is a direct reflection of his leadership style.

  7. - Dupage - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 11:42 am:

    Mr. Reed should have known better. It is never a good idea to respond to a traffic stop by pulling out a gun and shooting a cop.

  8. - H-W - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 12:48 pm:

    @ DuPage

    It also does not require a fully armed, ready to assault, tactical response unit to give a driver a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.

    I do not know the circumstances of what led to this incident, but I am hard pressed to believe it was simply about giving a citation for not wearing a seat belt, and a tactical unit of five officers just happened to witness the seat belt violation. There is more to this story than just the tragic outcome.

    I can guess if I were stopped in a roadway, and not wearing a seatbelt, and a swat unit attacked my car, I would be scared to death. I also know that if I were an ethnic minority I would view these same circumstances differently than I do as a white Anglo.

    I think there is more to this story than a tactical unit issuing a citation for not wearing a seatbelt. I think this incident could have been handled differently by the police as well as the deceased.

    It seems odd. I am led to believe by what limited information I have, that the police were involved in the escalation of this incident. Five officers, multiple clips, and 100 rounds seems like excessive force for one target not wearing a seat belt, possessing a pistol, especially multiple additional shots into the body of the deceased after away from the weapon, out of the vehicle, and on the ground dead.

    Again, I am not asserting innocence (or guilt) on the part of Mr. Reed since I only have limited information. But I also do not want to automatically assume innocence (or guilt) on the part of the police for their response to a seat belt violation turned into tragedy.

    I have questions. I am glad the COAP exists, and investigates such matters.

  9. - H-W - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 12:51 pm:

    Re: Madison County and the other 23 counties who are considering secession

    What do these elected leaders intend to about community members who want to remain Illinoisans and vote against secession? Will those who hate Illinois remove Illinoisans from their new Independent Nation?

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===Will those who hate Illinois remove Illinoisans from their new Independent Nation? ===

    It’s all a goofy fantasy

  11. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 1:25 pm:

    Every public corruption investigation needs a corporate interloper pretending to the be the US Attorney for their selfish political gain.

  12. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 1:40 pm:

    H-W, I really don’t have a massive problem with the massive shooting rally in response to seeing a colleague injured (if that’s what happened), I am wondering about the 5 tactical officers to respond to a seatbelt violation, though. That seems weird and a huge waste of resources, if that’s what they were assigned to do. There has to be more to the story.

  13. - Da big bad wolf - Wednesday, Apr 10, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    === Mr. Reed should have known better. It is never a good idea to respond to a traffic stop by pulling out a gun and shooting a cop.===

    Well yes. That’s what a rational person would think. However there are many irrational people out there. They either overreact to consequences or under react to consequences. That’s why focusing on consequences can’t by itself solve the problem of law enforcement. As long as there are irrational people it’s the hardest part of the puzzle to solve.

  14. - Mayo Sandwich - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 6:36 am:

    It’s not irrational if he didn’t know they were police. The officer who was shot was wearing an Adidas hoodie. Reed might have thought it was a carjacking.

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