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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Illinois Answers

Last summer, as historic rain pelted down on Cook County, Buchanan was left standing in the basement of her childhood home with dirty water wading up to her knees. Every day since has presented a new problem: discovering black mold scattered throughout the basement, having to replace the water heater and then getting denied for federal emergency funds.

The July 2023 storm – one of the costliest weather events in Chicago’s history – hit hardest in the city’s West Side and nearby suburbs. The storm upended Chicagoans’ lives and exposed the city’s longstanding vulnerabilities to flooding. In the wake of the storm, FEMA inspected 63,000 homes, and distributed up to $375 million in federal aid to home and business owners.

It also provided a look into a concerning future: The grip of climate change unyielding, winter and spring are expected to be wetter in Illinois while summer becomes even hotter. The downpour of rain will likely continue to be more intense for shorter durations and the locations where these flash flooding storms hit are less predictable, said Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.

The Illinois Answers Project interviewed a range of experts on flooding, climate and infrastructure to examine how prepared Chicago and the state are to combat the growing environmental threats its residents face, particularly from the problem of severe flooding. In this series over the next several weeks, Illinois Answers will explore how Chicago is trying to improve drainage in neighborhoods, how a promising flood prevention project got mired in bureaucracy, and how a state buyout program is helping residents when they have nowhere else to turn.

* National Confectioners Association Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Christopher Gindlesperger on SB2637

“It’s time to stop pretending that Illinois state legislators have the scientific expertise to make these very important regulatory decisions. Usurping FDA’s authority does nothing but create a patchwork of inconsistent requirements that increase food costs, create confusion around food safety, and erode consumer confidence.”

Sen. Willie Preston’s held a press conference today on SB2637. The bill is on Third Reading and has a Friday deadline to leave the Senate.

* Lobby days are taking its toll

* Here’s the rest…

    * Post-Tribune | Organ donors’ families tell their stories at Northwest Health-Porter: For Stephanie Irving, of Palos Heights, Illinois, it was her first visit to the hospital since October, when her son died there. His driver’s license didn’t reflect a choice to become an organ donor but Irving made that decision on his behalf. “I feel my son is now a hero, being an organ donator,” she said. Irving is now raising her 5-year-old granddaughter, who insists on sleeping every night with a teddy bear that has a recording of her late father’s heartbeat.

    * WCIA | IDOT seeks council approval to make Champaign street safer: It’s a $10.6 million initiative to improve Neil Street over a three-mile stretch. It would be from Springfield Avenue to Windsor Road. The city would pay just short of $800,000 with IDOT paying the rest. Their goal is starting construction in August.

    * Crain’s | With baby formula lawsuits looming, Abbott CEO lays out game plan: Following an Illinois jury ordering Reckitt Benckiser Group to pay $60 million in damages over allegations that its infant formula led to the death of a premature baby, Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford defended his company’s products as similar cases loom against the company. The verdict, which came last month from a jury in a St. Clair County court, ruled that Reckitt owed damages to a plaintiff for failing to warn her about the risks of necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, in its cow-milk-based Enfamil formula. Reckitt has said it plans to appeal the verdict.

    * WTTW | Top Cop Says CPD Tracks Accusations Against Officers — But Took No Action After 36 Complaints Filed Against Officers Involved in Dexter Reed Shooting: However, Snelling’s promise of accountability is contradicted by the fact that the five officers who stopped Reed had been the subject of at least 36 complaints in 2023 and 2024 that alleged they were improperly stopping Chicagoans driving through the city’s West Side, according to records provided to WTTW News by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, known as COPA, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

    * Tribune | Johnson’s $1.25 billion bond plan advances, then gets delayed by a mayoral ally: The high-dollar investment effort was then set to face a council vote Wednesday afternoon. But it was ultimately delayed by Johnson’s handpicked Finance chair Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, a supporter of the plan. Her move prevented opponents of the bond deal from using the parliamentary move to block it themselves. The hold-up will likely be brief: the ordinance is expected to instead face an up-or-down vote at a council meeting Friday.

    * WTTW | Ethics Board Urges Chicago City Council to Tighten Rules That Would Allow Enforcement of a Ban on Lobbyists Giving Campaign Cash to Mayors: The recommendation followed the unanimous decision on Monday by the Chicago Board of Ethics to dismiss an enforcement action against a City Hall lobbyist who donated to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s campaign fund. Five months ago, the board unanimously found that a lobbyist violated a 2011 executive order issued by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel by contributing to Johnson’s campaign.

    * WBEZ | Chicago lobbyists escape serious punishment for improper donations to Mayor Johnson’s campaign: The Board of Ethics says it found probable cause that four lobbyists had violated the order when they contributed to Johnson’s political committee, but asked for a legal opinion about whether it could enforce Emanuel’s order. An outside law firm found the board can’t, saying the enforcement language isn’t codified in statute. Enforcing the order “exceeds the limits of the mayor’s, and the Board’s, authority,” read the opinion by Bethany Biesenthal with the Jones Day law firm.

    * Sun-Times | Petition drive launched to give Chicago voters power to recall mayor: To get a recall referendum on the November ballot, he needs at least 56,464 valid signatures by Aug. 5. If it gets on the ballot, and the question is approved in November, Chicagoans would be empowered to recall any present or future mayor. […] [Daniel Boland] also said he got pivotal help in “how to do this” from former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who led the drive to empower Illinois voters to recall their governor, a referendum that passed by a 2-to-1 margin.

    * Daily Egyptian | Southern Illinois University loses beloved professor: Southern Illinois University tenure professor Scott McClurg died Saturday after a long struggle with brain cancer. “Scott was a very good person. Very nice and considerate. Always positive and encouraging. His long fight with his illness was heroic. He will be dearly missed,” said Dong Han, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Advertising.

    * SJ-R | Owner of popular Springfield restaurant faces up to 3 years in prison: Omar Hernandez-Lopez, 39, the owner of El Tapatio de Jalisco Inc., a company doing business as La Fiesta Grande, 2830 Stevenson Drive, faces up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution as ordered by the court. The guilty plea is pending before U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough. Sentencing for Hernandez-Lopez is scheduled for August 29 at the Paul Findley Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse.

    * Sun-Times | Obama Center gets skin in the game with fancy new granite cladding on its tower: The tower — which is about the height of the historic 16-story Monadnock Building at Jackson and Dearborn streets — will be the most prominent building on the 19-acre campus. Even as it rises, the structure is visible from blocks away. And the swirl-patterned granite panels will contribute much to the visual identity of the tower — while perhaps adding color and life to a structure that appeared cold and mausoleum-like in renderings.

    * Chicago Mag | A Drinking Tour of Harbor Country: If a pub crawl grew up, settled down, and invested in a nice little lake retreat, it would look a lot like southwest Michigan. Name the spirit, it’s got it. Name the vibe, it’s there. All nestled among quiet, walkable streets and charming boutiques and vintage lakeside cabins that make you feel a million miles (though actually only about 70) from Chicago’s hustle.

    * Tribune | Times change, but City News Cafe stays the course as the place with thousands of magazines: Unlike some other areas of town, dotted with shuttered businesses and shadowed in uncertainty, this slice of the city has a palpable vitality, ripe with possibility. One constant remains. Though City Newsstand has changed its name to incorporate City News Cafe, it sits at 4018 N. Cicero Ave., where it has been for decades and where, early last Sunday afternoon, a crowd packed the coffee shop at the store’s front, listening to the polished folk singing of guitarist Carey Anne Farrell.

    * Crain’s | Why Deere is hiring a ‘chief tractor officer’ to launch a TikTok account: John Deere has accumulated over 90,000 TikTok followers without posting a single video on its account. But now, the tractor maker is gearing up to make TikTok a foundational part of a new strategy to reach Gen Z and young millennials—and it’s on the hunt for a “chief tractor officer” to help make its agricultural and construction equipment relevant to young consumers.

    * Chicago Mag | The Sox Are a Historically Bad Team: I went to the White Sox game on Sunday. Beforehand, I asked my church congregation to pray for “the worst team in baseball.” But on the train ride to the ballpark, I succumbed to worldly considerations, opening my FanDuel account to bet $10 on the Cincinnati Reds to win by at least 1½ runs. In the first two games of the series, the Reds had outscored the Sox 16-1, so it seemed like a sure thing.


  1. - Model T - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 3:32 pm:

    Imagine thinking the National Confectioners Association has our best interests in mind, lol.

  2. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 3:42 pm:

    After the conviction in Federal Court of the ComEd 4 criminals it is sad to see these “lobbyists” walk away with no penalty at all.
    Hoping that the General Assembly will pass the bill SOS Alexi is supporting regarding fee disclosures, but thinking the “lobbyists” will kill this bill.
    So tired of Illinois being consistently rated as one of the most corrupt states in the US.

  3. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 4:30 pm:

    I’m hoping La Fiesta stays open. It’s one of the better Mexican restaurants in town and a personal favorite.

  4. - Mr Ed - Wednesday, Apr 17, 24 @ 4:34 pm:

    The Sox are on pace to have a record of 19-143 for the 2024 season. Reinsdorf wants taxpayers to help pay for a new stadium? Laughable.

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