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Isabel’s afternoon briefing

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Capitol News Illinois

In the basement of a Centralia funeral home in a dark hallway off the embalming room, tucked inside a nook behind two steel plates and a door, a visitor found three disembodied, neatly wrapped human legs, two of them marked with names and dated to the 1960s.

The discovery stunned property owner Cindy Hansen, who had been cleaning up at the site of the former Moran Queen-Boggs funeral home for weeks. After all, she’d seen her last tenant evicted, his funeral director license suspended for the home’s filthy conditions – which included a dead rat in a stairwell.

But as the shock dissipated on what first appeared to be a grisly find, a more mundane explanation materialized – the legs were likely the result of amputations, stored away decades ago until their owners died and they could be reunited and interred together, said Jay Boulanger, who has operated a funeral home in Highland for decades. […]

The discovery was made at the former funeral home operated by Hugh Moran in recent years, but he surrendered his license in March after state regulators found his facility in deplorable condition. But the hidden nature of the room and the fact that two of the legs were dated decades before Moran operated the facility indicate he was not involved in placing them there. […]

The conditions at Moran’s funeral home became public within months of a discovery that a Carlinville funeral home provided the wrong ashes to at least 80 families, spawning lawsuits and legislation.


By passing House Bill 4781 (the KIND Act), the Illinois House is making sure that our state’s family regulation system prioritizes the interests of youth in that system. For too long, Illinois policy has failed to recognize the valuable role played by relatives who step in to care for youth when DCFS removes these children from their parents. The KIND Act recognizes the positive role these relatives play in the lives of children – whose lives have been disrupted – and provides the same resources to care for the child made available to foster parents who may well be strangers.

Research shows that placing youth in the family regulation system with relatives, rather than strangers acting as foster parents, is good policy. Staying with a family member lessens trauma of family separation, reduces the number of times a child is moved, enhances permanency options if youth cannot be reunified, results in higher placement satisfaction for youth in care, and delivers better social, behavioral, mental health, and educational outcomes for youth than when they are placed in non-kin foster care.

We thank Representative Marcus Evans for his leadership in securing passage of the KIND Act in the House. We look forward to continuing this momentum in the Senate in the remaining weeks of the session.

*** Statehouse ***

* Guy A. Medaglia | Gov J.B. Pritzker goes after insurance companies. What about the state itself?: Our hospital in 2020 sued the state of Illinois. It wasn’t an easy decision. No one wants to bite the hand that feeds them. But the managed care system is breaking us. The state is fighting our lawsuit at every turn. Fortunately, the courts have stepped in to protect us. A federal appeals court recently ruled that our lawsuit has a right to proceed. The hospital “depends on full, timely Medicaid payments to keep its doors open and provide care to patients,” the ruling judges wrote.

*** Statewide ***

* WBEZ | Planned Parenthood offers abortion pills via app to expand access in Illinois: Patients who are up to 10 weeks pregnant can fill out screening questions on the Planned Parenthood Direct app any time of the day and provide an Illinois address where their medication abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol would be mailed if they qualify. That could be a house, or a hotel. Some Planned Parenthood affiliates already mail pills to patients, but require at least a virtual visit with a medical provider first.

* ProPublica | Even when a cop is killed with an illegally purchased weapon, the gun store’s name is kept secret: ProPublica has viewed federal filings in both the Northern District of Illinois and the Northern District of Indiana where retailers were named in conjunction with cases against individuals who lied to make gun purchases or later resold the guns illegally in so-called straw sales. One such gun was bought from an Indiana retailer and days later used in a shooting that left two Wisconsin police officers severely injured, ProPublica reported in March. The retailer involved was never charged yet still was named in court records.

* Tribune | State seeks to salvage high-profile conviction in Hadiya Pendleton slaying in arguments before Illinois Supreme Court: More than a decade after the killing of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton put a national spotlight on Chicago’s entrenched problem with gun violence, Illinois prosecutors worked to salvage a conviction against the alleged shooter before the state’s highest court in Springfield. […] Though Micheail Ward, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery following a lengthy jury trial in 2018, an Illinois appeals court last year overturned his convictions and ordered a new trial, finding that Chicago police detectives violated his rights by continuing to question him after he invoked his right to remain silent.

*** Chicago ***

* Crain’s | Advocates tell mayor: Fund transit, not stadiums: In a letter signed by eight Chicago transit groups including the Metropolitan Planning Council, Active Transportation Alliance and Commuters Take Action, the organizations blasted the proposal to use public money to help build a new domed stadium at a time when local transit agencies are facing a $730 million fiscal cliff. A response from the Bears was not returned by press time.

* Block Club | Will Bears Stadium Be ‘For Our Children’? Some Community Leaders Are Skeptical: Educator Andre Russell doubts the new stadium will be built. If it is, he’d like to see the professional sports team offer more programs to kids in the city, prioritizing students from the Near South Side and Bronzeville, he said. The CPS high school teacher said whoever assumes the community liaison role once the stadium is built will have to know the lay of the land to better create programs for the city’s young people.

* Chalkbeat | Organizers of Democratic National Convention in Chicago launch student art competition: Students and graduating seniors from public and private high schools across the Chicago area have until June 10 at 5 p.m. to submit their designs. Original artwork can include drawings, paintings, photography or other two-dimensional media, but must be created by hand and without the help of artificial intelligence.

* Block Club | What’s Inside The Bean? Photos Show Construction Of ‘Cloud Gate’: The stainless steel skin hides an internal skeleton with flexible connectors that allow it to expand and contract in Chicago’s extreme weather. Thirty-three feet high, 42 feet wide and 66 feet long, its cost was a reported $23 million.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* NBC Chicago | Local activist, Dolton trustee Andrew Holmes terminated by Chicago Survivors over assault allegations: Chicago Survivors issued the following statement to NBC Chicago: “Our mission is to provide crime victim services to family members of homicide victims, so our relationships with those families and our community is paramount. Without compromise, there needs to be strong mutual trust and an assumed high level of safety for the adults and children we serve. For those reasons, we terminated his employment in April upon learning of the serious allegations.”

* Naperville Sun | DuPage County state’s attorney’s office to sue county clerk over unpaid bills: The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office plans to file a civil lawsuit against DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek and her office over $224,000 in invoices submitted for purchases not properly approved or made without going through a bidding process. Kaczmarek threatened similar action in a May 7 memo to DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy in which she said she’d instruct the state’s attorney to file legal action against the county if invoices submitted by her office were not paid by the county treasurer.

* Daily Herald | ‘So much time and work and imagination’: Improvements at Lake County’s largest forest preserve taking shape: Located in the southwest part of the county, Lakewood spans 2,835 acres. A comprehensive master plan approved in early 2020 outlined changes to improve public access and reduce operating costs. […] Site preparation including building demolition has been underway for some time. Construction of the maintenance facility and other work began last June.

*** Downstate ***

* KFVS | How SIUC researchers transformed waste plastic into food: A team of researchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been working on new food technologies, including processing waste biomass and plastic to create a specialized yeast that can then be converted into proteins. Called µBites, which means “microbites,” the proteins can be 3D-printed into cookies or other foods.

* SJ-R | Mail delivery changes in Springfield halted until 2025: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a letter to Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters on May 9 confirmed that mail processing facility reviews and planned implemented changes will halt until next year, following a slew of senators sending letters to DeJoy. Until the changes are made however, DeJoy said the investments into current branches will be halted, as well.

* WGLT | ISU trustees to hold special meeting for vote on increasing student fees, housing and dining: At the time, then-interim president Aondover Tarhulesaid the need to increase fees came from rising costs for the university across the board that were outpacing revenue. He added that student financial aid is one of ISU’s fastest-growing expenses, increasing from $25 million a year to about $47 million for the current academic year. That figure had risen, he said then, “with no increase in enrollment or credit hour generation.”

*** National ***

* AP | Survey finds 8,000 women a month got abortion pills despite their states’ bans or restrictions : “People … are using the various mechanisms to get pills that are out there,” Drexel University law professor David Cohen said. This “is not surprising based on what we know throughout human history and across the world: People will find a way to terminate pregnancies they don’t want.” A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that Americans are substantially more likely to say that medication abortion should be legal, rather than illegal, in their state.

* NYT | 17% of Voters Blame Biden for the End of Roe: Many voters who held Mr. Biden responsible said they simply didn’t pay close attention to politics or government affairs. For some, the confusion came from the fact that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision happened while Mr. Biden was president. DeLana Marsh, 30, of Holly Springs, Ga., supports abortion rights and opposes a new Georgia law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy: “I don’t think a group of men should be able to decide that for us.”


  1. - CreatureOfTheState - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:46 pm:

    They missed an opportunity by not writing “the discovery stumped property owner Cindy Hansen…”

  2. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 2:56 pm:

    =ProPublica | Even when a cop is killed with an illegally purchased weapon, the gun store’s name is kept secret=

    “began in earnest in March 2021 at Deb’s, a small storefront off one of the main drags in Hammond, Indiana. Inside, Jamel Danzy picked out the Glock to purchase, then waited to pass his background check”

    The crime was committed by the individual who purchased the gun when he knowingly later re-sold it to a person not legally entitled to possess a firearm. Firearms retailers follow state and federal laws and regulations before selling - they cannot know a customer’s intent.

  3. - Former ILSIP - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 3:19 pm:


    *Charles Barkley voice on*
    “That’s turrible!”
    *Charles Barkley voice off*

    *golf clap*

  4. - supplied_demand - Wednesday, May 15, 24 @ 3:43 pm:

    ==Firearms retailers follow state and federal laws and regulations before selling - they cannot know a customer’s intent.==

    The article isn’t about that, it is about agencies being barred from releasing any information about investigations.

    “Two decades ago, federal and local law enforcement routinely identified the source of guns used in crimes to members of the media or anyone else who inquired.

    That changed in 2003 when Congress, bowing to pressure from the gun industry, approved legislation known as the Tiahrt amendment, named after a former Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., a gun rights champion. The amendment bars police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from disclosing any information they uncover during gun-tracing investigations, including the names of retailers.”

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