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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, Apr 11, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune

Illinois enacted a sweeping law in 2019 to allow casinos at horse racing tracks, known as racinos. Nearly five years later, Hawthorne Race Course, a main beneficiary of the legislation, still hasn’t opened a racino. In the meantime, the industry is dying for lack of money. […]

Out of desperation, the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association is now calling for the state to end Hawthorne’s veto power. The horsemen say the favoritism for Hawthorne has led to a dead end, and it’s time to let the free market finally build a racino.

“Our industry is being held hostage by Tim Carey’s family, who owns Hawthorne,” association President Jeff Davis said. “We have to have a dedicated harness track.”

Carey proposed a $400 million racino to open at Hawthorne in 2021. In 2022, he again promised construction would begin that year. Last fall, Carey told the Illinois Racing Board it would open by the end of 2024, but in February, he said he was still working on getting financing.

Press release…

Horsemen Call For End of Racetrack Veto Power in IL
Legislation would allow for other developers to build new a new racetrack

WHERE: The Blue Room at the Illinois State Capitol. Also available on Blue Room Stream

WHEN: TODAY 2:30PM Thursday, April 11, 2024

WHO: Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association President Jeff Davis, Senator Patrick Joyce, Senator Bill Cunningham.

WHAT: New Legislation introduced in the Illinois General Assembly would eliminate the current 35 mile veto power that Hawthorne Racecourse has over any entity that wants to build a new racetrack and casino in Illinois.

Legislation passed in 2019 authorized a new racetrack to be built in Chicago’s South Suburbs but any organization that wishes to build a racetrack must seek approval from Hawthorne to receive licensing.

WHY: States like Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have seen horse racing explode in their states since introducing casino gaming at racetracks. Illinois passed legislation to do the same in 2019 but not one slot machine has been installed in Hawthorne’s sprawling grandstands.

* Illinois Review

On Saturday, a national grassroots movement, #DontMessWithOurKids is urging parents and families in every state to gather at their state capitols and pray for America’s children who are being indoctrinated by a progressive liberal agenda that’s causing more harm than good.

The historic gathering takes place this Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (CDT) in front of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. And as the invite states, attendees will “gather to pray, take communion, and stand for truth in every state capital and Washington, D.C.!”

During the April 4, 2023 election cycle in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Democratic Party of Illinois spent $800,000 to support their extremist, liberal school board candidates, while at the same time, using that funding to viciously attack conservative school board candidates – every day moms and dads, who just wanted to serve their community; reverse falling test scores; and remove inappropriate sexual education curriculum and divisive concepts that only further deepen racial divides from the classrooms.

* [From Rich] The Butternut Hut is closing at its current location in a couple of days, so you might want to head over there after session for “Thirsty Thursday.”

* Here’s the rest…

    * Daily Journal | Report analyzes Illinois’ oversight of pandemic aid spending by schools: More than half of the 801 local educational agencies (LEAs) in Illinois that received pandemic-related aid between March 24, 2021, and March 31, 2023, did not submit their spending plans within a reasonable timeframe, according to the March 27 report from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General.

    * NPR | Why many Illinois speech therapists say it’s hard to see a future in the field they love: “Insurance is really strict on the number of times we can go, especially for speech therapy,” [ Audrey Meyers] explained. “I’ll get a new patient; it says one visit is allowed. I can do an evaluation, sure, but they’re probably going to need therapy if they wanted me to come there in the first place.”

    * WBEZ | A U.S. Supreme Court case could affect homeless people in Chicago and Illinois: City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson will determine if municipalities can use local ordinances to ban homeless people from sleeping outside with a blanket or other bedding materials. Illinois advocates say if the high court sides with Grants Pass, it could make it easier for municipalities to criminalize homelessness in the state and throughout the U.S. Oral arguments begin April 22.

    * Journal Courier | Grants to fund electric vehicle charging ports: Some 20 applicants have been awarded $25.1 million in Driving a Cleaner Illinois grants to fund 643 new direct-current fast-charging ports at 141 sites statewide, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

    * Illinois Times | Making downtown Springfield more marketable: Doubling the Bank of Springfield Center’s size would result in a similar increase in conventions coming to the capital city, and construction of a new 300-bed hotel adjacent to the center would maximize the expanded facility’s potential. Those were two of the major conclusions from a recently completed feasibility study of the potential impact of a newly formed tourism improvement district on downtown Springfield. The district was formed in December by the Sangamon County Board and covers the entire county.

    * Daily Journal | Bradley pressing the brakes on nepotism ordinance: At Monday’s Bradley Village Board meeting, the administration had proposed the repeal of the law adopted in April 2016 which sharply restricted hiring those who had some type of family relationship with an elected official. The administration sought to have the ordinance removed because of how it hampers the village as it seeks to fill job vacancies. However, the village board, led by Trustee Ryan LeBran, wanted to further explore the matter before voting on its removal.

    * Beacon-News | With help from its communities, Kane County aims to reduce impact of natural hazards like floods and tornadoes: The draft Kane County 2024 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan found that floods, windstorms and winter storms were the three biggest natural threats to the county. To protect the county against these and six other natural hazards, the 580-page plan brings together mitigation projects from 27 cities, villages and other communities within Kane County. These projects will now be eligible for federal funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

    * Daily Herald | ‘Almost have no reason not to vote for it’: Elk Grove mayor defends field light vote — and still supports pickleball: The village board’s vote this week to formally grant the Elk Grove Park District a special use permit for soccer field lighting at Marshall Park was perfunctory, following a much lengthier meeting two weeks before when the mayor and trustees first endorsed the project. But the tally Tuesday night was still followed by a back-and-forth between board members and local real estate agent Lori Christensen, who has led opposition to the park district’s $4 million transformation of the park at 711 Chelmsford Lane.

    * Bloomberg | Amtrak Station Accessibility Improvements Sought in Senate Bill: Amtrak would need to report to Congress annually on the status of their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act at the 385 transit stations it serves and include an action plan on bringing rail cars and stations into compliance, according to the bill, sent to Bloomberg Government. The legislation, which is being announced Thursday, is led by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

    * Daily Herald | Will your train station get a makeover? Here’s what Metra is fixing in 2024: Thirty-five stations are slated for improvements with seven on the Metra Electric Line to be completely rebuilt. Platform modernizations are scheduled for Wood Dale on the Milwaukee West, and Cary and Crystal Lake on the UP Northwest lines. Less eye-catching but still significant are thousands of rail tie replacements. Workers will install 40,000 new ties on the UP North between Chicago and Highland Park, and 37,000 on the UP Northwest between Chicago and Des Plaines, among other locations.

    * Ald. Daniel La Spata | A street redesign that skips bike and bus lanes says a lot about the whole city: Unfortunately, the design CDOT is considering for this intersection fails to live up to the values and the vision of Complete Streets. The current iteration offers no bus lanes on Halsted and no bike lanes on Chicago, while new developments propose to open new curb cuts on both streets, further impeding bus, bike and pedestrian safety. The only clear imperatives for these streets seem to be two lanes for car traffic in each direction.

    * Daily Herald | $127 million transportation construction program announced in Lake County: Fifteen miles of new or widened pavement, 58 miles of resurfacing, eight big intersection improvements, 13 bridge deck repairs and two roundabouts are among the projects in Lake County’s $127 million 2024 construction program.

    * Tribune | Chicago Bears — amid lakefront infatuation — appeal property taxes on Arlington Heights site: The team filed the request with the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, or PTAB, for the site where the Bears had proposed building a $2 billion enclosed stadium. The Cook County Board of Review set its valuation of the property at $125 million. […] But the team still owns the site in Arlington Heights, which it bought last year for $197 million. To reduce the tax bill, the organization razed the grandstand and other buildings, and is continuing to fight over how much taxes it has to pay.

    * Sun-Times | The Museum of Science and Industry closed for mysterious reasons last week. Here’s why: “The 434th Civil Engineer Squadron from Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base, IN, responded to a call from the museum last Wednesday,” wrote Maj. Sara Greco, public affairs officer at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. “The items they were asked to assess were free of explosive material and remained at the museum.” A sad day when it’s easier to dig information out of the Pentagon than from a Chicago museum.

    * AP | Shohei Ohtani’s ex-interpreter charged with stealing $16M from baseball star in sports betting case: Estrada says Mizuhara helped Ohtani set up a bank account for Ohtani’s baseball salary. Estrada says Mizuhara stole more than $16 million from Ohtani’s bank accounts to pay for his own sports betting and lied to the bank to access the account.

    * NBC Chicago | Farmers’ Almanac predicts hot, muggy summer for Midwest, with all-time record warmth possible: Nearly all of the contiguous U.S. is predicted to have a hot summer, with most areas east of the Mississippi River expected to see wetter than normal summers as well. The Great Lakes region in particular is predicted to see “muggy and stormy” conditions this summer, while much of the Southeast is described as “steamy and thundery” for the upcoming season.

    * NPR | Why anti-abortion advocates are reviving a 19th century sexual purity law: That is not the stance conservative legal experts take. Josh Craddock, an affiliated scholar at the conservative James Wilson Institute, refers to Comstock as a “national abortion pill trafficking ban.” “A straightforward interpretation of the statute is that it prohibits all interstate shipment or sale of abortion drugs and devices, regardless of whether state law allows abortion,” Craddock says. (There was dispute among legal experts NPR consulted as to whether Comstock’s prohibitions would apply to in-state shipping of abortion pills.)

    * Rick Kogan | There once was a time when our city was the country music capital: Two relatively young men were sitting in a radio studio a few days ago talking about a radio show that started 100 years ago and one of them was saying, “This part of the city’s history should be better known, the part the city, this radio show, played in popularizing country music. Without Chicago, there would have been no Nashville, no Grand Ole Opry. … This is where the country music genre was born.”

    * USA Today | Aerosmith to resume farewell tour, including January show in Chicago: The veteran rockers, who postponed their Peace Out farewell tour after only a few shows in September, will return for a 40-date run starting Sept. 20 in Pittsburgh. The tour includes a rescheduled Chicago date on Jan. 19 at the United Center. All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new dates, while new tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday via For those who previously purchased tickets and cannot attend the rescheduled concerts, refunds will be available at point of purchase.


  1. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 2:57 pm:

    I would love to be part of the Don’t Mess With Our Kids event. I’d stand up there and shout loud and clear to let them know that I don’t appreciate them messing with my kids ability to read whatever I deem appropriate for them to read and that they can take their book banning and shove it.

  2. - Jake - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:02 pm:

    Someone needs to remind #Dontmesswithourkids that kids are more at risk of indoctrination at Sunday school than they are their public school.

  3. - TNR - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:04 pm:

    Hawthorne’s sheer inability to open a casino is one of the great head-scratchers of our time.

  4. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    Illinois Times | Making downtown Springfield more marketable:…

    They need new facilities for sure - Went to conferences at BOS Center last fall - and stayed at Wyndham Springfield City Centre. BOS is a dump - the concrete stairs down to the lower-level are reminiscent of a train station the lighting is bad and the wi-fi is non-functional. Walking to Celtic Mist Pub I had to dodge homeless sleeping in storefronts. Not a great overall experience.

  5. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:06 pm:

    Or all the children being subjected to the Prager U garbage? No? Didn’t think so either.

  6. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:29 pm:

    The article by Rick Kogan is worth a read.
    Mr. Kogan is really a Chicago treasure.

  7. - Matty - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:51 pm:

    = I had to dodge homeless sleeping in storefronts =

    Oh the horror!

    If they were a) sleeping, and b) in storefronts, you didn’t have to “dodge” anything. You simply didn’t like their presence.

  8. - Lurker - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 3:52 pm:

    @Donnie, you are correct. Downtown Springfield is lost without dramatic change but one thing that needs to change more drastically and immediately is to stop housing state employees in the buildings that should be condemned.

  9. - The Truth - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 4:11 pm:

    “Don’t indoctrinate our kids!”

    (proceeds to take communion in front of a government building at 2:30pm on a Saturday)

  10. - H-W - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 4:11 pm:

    Re: Illinois Review

    === #DontMessWithOurKids , America’s children are being indoctrinated by a progressive liberal agenda , take communion, and stand for truth ===

    As a Christian, I am offended by this message. When I take communion, I am inviting the Holy Spirit to change me, to guide me. I would never take communion so as to separate others from God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, etc.

    This seems as if some Christians would invite God to separate themselves from the fold - “it is either me or them, God.”

    When Christians assert ourselves as being more worthy of God’s attention than others, we do not truly understand the foundation of Christianity. Demanding that God choose among his children on the basis of politics is just plain evil, and possibly blasphemous.

    If you want to create your own church-based schools and curriculum, there are already fine examples for doing so. If you want the state to teach your religious beliefs to all children, you are freaking wrong to ask such. Heal thyself first. Learn the Love messages you pretend to espouse.

  11. - H-W - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 4:20 pm:

    Re: The Comstock Act in the NPR story

    What is the difference between an abortion pill and birth control pills? Both involve the prevention of a fertilized egg from embedding in the uterus wall. IUD devices do the same thing, albeit mechanically rather than chemically.

    The idea that we should not allow pharmaceutical companies to transport birth control pills and devices across state lines to doctors and pharmacies is ludicrous. It’s just plain insane.

  12. - Club J - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 4:25 pm:

    WOW the Butternut Hut is closing at their current location. Spent many nights after work there.

  13. - JoanP - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 5:09 pm:

    = Both involve the prevention of a fertilized egg from embedding in the uterus wall. =

    Not so. Oral contraception prevents ovulation.

  14. - Brady Hall - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 5:12 pm:

    Maybe the Butternut Hut can reopen inside a newly built racino in Springfield or Decatur (both of which would be far beyond Hawthorne’s 35 mile veto)?

  15. - Leslie K - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 5:59 pm:

    Isn’t the Butternut Hut just moving a block or two away from its current location?

  16. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 11, 24 @ 7:08 pm:

    =Don’t Mess With Our Kids=
    =Stop Indoctrinating Our Kids=

    As with all of these dishonest groups, every accusation is a confession. Schools are not indoctrinating kids around here. Period. But the people that want to ram there religious views down everyone’s throat sure are trying. I am just tired of this crap.

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