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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Monday, May 20, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Pantagraph

At Logan Correctional Center, some problems can be seen clearly from either side of the bars.

There is consensus among employees and inmates on the need to rebuild the deteriorating Central Illinois facility, described in a state report last year as “inefficient, ineffective, and unsuitable for any population.”

But the Illinois Department of Corrections faces fierce local pushback against its proposed solution, which involves moving the women’s prison from Lincoln to the grounds of Stateville Correctional Center in suburban Chicago.

Dozens of people, mostly prison employees and Lincoln residents, wrote this month to a state legislative commission tasked with making a recommendation about the plan. In written testimony to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, they said the move would disrupt the lives and families of more than 450 workers while upending the larger social fabric and economic fate of the community, population roughly 13,000.

“Its closure would not only result in the loss of jobs but also the loss of a sense of belonging and identity for many members of our community,” said Blake Utterback, a food service supervisor at the prison. “The social bonds that have been forged within its walls would be severed, leaving a void that cannot easily be filled.”

* Planned Parenthood of Illinois…

Today, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) welcomes patients to the newly renovated Peoria Health Center, 2709 N. Knoxville Ave. In early 2023, the health center suffered $1 million in smoke and fire damage from a firebombing and took over a year to rebuild. The 4,289-square-foot Peoria Health Center’s layout has been repurposed to optimize patient care.

“I am proud to announce that we are back and stronger than ever,” said President and CEO of PPIL, Jennifer Welch. “The firebombing destroyed our health center and robbed the community from accessing needed health care such as family planning, STI testing and treatment, gender-affirming care and cancer screenings, but it didn’t break our spirit. The Peoria Health Center plays a vital role in the Central Illinois community and surrounding states. Thanks to the ongoing support from Peoria leaders, residents, and donors we have the pleasure to be part of this amazing community once again.”

The Peoria Health Center attack is part of an ongoing trend of violence and arson against abortion providers since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. According to the National Abortion Federation, arson attacks have increased by 100%. In January, 2023, Tyler Massengill was arrested and pleaded guilty to the attack. He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $1,450,000 for malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage the Peoria Health Center.

The Peoria Health Center features new state-of-the-art equipment, 1 education room, 3 exam rooms, 3 ultrasound rooms, as well as administrative spaces. The Peoria Health Center offers gender-affirming care, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, HIV testing, birth control, and medication abortion care.

* Jake Sheridan

* Politico

State Rep. La Shawn Ford has filed a resolution that calls for city and state officials to work to reach an agreement with the Bears and Chicago White Sox, which are also looking to build a new stadium, to work together so all the teams stay in the city. And that includes women’s teams, too, according to Ford’s resolution.

What it says: Ford’s resolution “urges the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to report on how much of the outstanding debt could be paid off by selling its existing assets to a private developer.” Read the resolution here

“I think this can reset the conversation,” Ford told Playbook. “We want to keep our teams in Chicago but the goal is to look at government property and its highest and best use.”

Ford’s pitch: Consolidate the teams onto one giant sports complex. “We could combine space and redevelop areas where the ballparks are and find a landlord that’s possibly not the government so we can get them on the tax rolls,” Ford suggested.

* First it’s two batches of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus, now IDPH reports two cases of rabid bats…

th the weather warming up, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is warning the public to beware of wild animals that may carry rabies, especially bats, as they become more active this time of year. The warning follows the discovery since May 10 of the first two rabid bats of 2024 in the state in Cook and Will counties, IDPH said. The bats were recovered inside two homes in those counties and subsequently tested positive for rabies.

“Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “It is important that Illinois residents know how to prevent rabies exposure to protect themselves and their loved ones. Bats are the most common carriers of the rabies virus in Illinois but not the only carrier. Illinois residents should stay away from bats and any wild, unfamiliar, or stray animal, as well as any animal that appears to be sick. Groups of bats can move into people’s homes and that underscores the importance of knowing the ways of keeping bats out of your home.”

Public health officials stress that if a bat is found inside a home, it is important to try and cover it with a container and contact animal control so it can be tested for rabies. (See below for tips on how to capture a bat.)

IDPH is also reminding the public to make sure that rabies vaccinations are up to date for pets and any valuable livestock and horses for which a rabies vaccine is available. If a pet is exposed to a high-risk wild animal - such as a bat, skunk, raccoons, fox or coyote - pet owners should immediately contact a veterinarian for advice.

*** Statewide ***

* IPM | Coal ash is polluting Illinois rivers. Environmentalists want the state to move faster to stop it: Dynegy’s coal ash ponds have been leaking into the river and groundwater. Environmentalists fear the three million cubic yards of coal ash will flood into the Middle Fork if the banks erode. […] Andrew Rehn, climate policy director at Prairie Rivers Network, said one way to prevent groundwater contamination is to relocate the coal ash waste into a pond that’s properly lined to seal it off. But most of the coal ash ponds are not lined this way.

* LA Times | Editorial: California blew it on bail reform. Now Illinois is showing it works: Bail reform opponents predicted mayhem. Too many criminals would be caught, ticketed and turned loose to commit more crimes, they said. They were wrong. Nearly a year later, data show Illinois’ no-money-bail program is working out quite well. Arrests for new crimes by people released pending trial are coming in so far at about 4% in Cook County, which includes Chicago and much of the state’s crime. That’s about on par with or slightly better than the pre-reform rearrest rate over the last several years. Defendants who promise to show up for their hearings do, for the most part. Warrants are issued for the approximately 10% who don’t — again, about the same as the proportion previously released before trial with or without having posted bail.

*** Chicago ***

* WTTW | ShotSpotter Showdown Set Amid Fierce Debate Over Value of Gunshot Detection System: Ald. David Moore (17th Ward) told WTTW News Friday he will force a vote on an order that accuses Mayor Brandon Johnson of having “usurped the will of the City Council and their ability to represent constituents” by canceling the city’s contract with SoundThinking, which operates the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system. During the 2023 campaign for mayor, Johnson vowed to terminate the city’s use of the system, saying there was “clear evidence (ShotSpotter) is unreliable and overly susceptible to human error.” He blamed the system for the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer responding to an alert from the system in March 2021.

* Chalkbeat | Chicago Public Schools Pitches Safety Plan Calling For Restorative Justice, No Police In Schools: The proposed plan, which is on the agenda for next week’s board meeting, comes three months after the Chicago Board of Education passed a resolution to remove school resource officers, or SROs, by the start of next school year. At the time, the board directed CPS CEO Pedro Martinez to create a new safety plan by June 27 that focuses on restorative practices. Thirty-nine high schools still have on-campus police officers staffed by the Chicago Police Department. At 57 other schools, Local School Councils, or LSCs, voted to remove SROs.

* Crain’s | Facing budget deficit, Howard Brown Health to close two clinics: Howard Brown, which serves nearly 40,000 patients a year, said the closures are intended to help address an ongoing financial shortfall as well as the departure of doctors from each location. Commercial lease agreements are also ending for each clinic. “These closures mark a business decision that will ensure our ability to serve patients with quality care for the next 50 years,” Robin Gay, who was named Howard Brown’s interim president and CEO in February, said in a statement. “As we continue to work to achieve fiscal sustainability, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide core health care services to all individuals in our community, regardless of their ability to pay.”

* Block Club | Meet The 2 Chicago Musicians Behind The Score Of ‘The Bear’: Johnny Iguana and Jeffrey “JQ” Qaiyum have worked on countless musical projects together since they became friends almost 25 years ago. They’ve produced records and singles, played in a band called Them vs. Them and are at work remixing tracks from Iguana’s 2020 blues album for legendary Chicago label Delmark Records.

* PJ Star | Motorsports race in Illinois named one of the best in the country by USA TODAY poll: A recent USA Today Readers’ Choice poll determined the top races by asking a panel of experts for nominations. Readers then voted on the nominees. Chicago’s Grant Park 165 was named the ninth best race in the country. “First run in 2023, the Grant Park 165 pits NASCAR drivers against one another over 75 laps as they speed down Columbus Drive, Michigan Avenue, and DuSable Lake Shore Drive,” USA TODAY wrote in the winning entry. “The 2.2-mile route travels along Lake Michigan and around Grant Park, providing scenic views for spectators.”

* Sun-Times | Garlic in your nostrils? Potatoes in your socks? Health misinformation is rampant on TikTok, Chicago researchers find: In January, Dr. Christopher Roxbury and rising fourth-year medical student Rose Dimitroyannis analyzed 221 videos posted on sinusitis, or sinus infections, on the app over a 24-hour period. They concluded nearly 60% of the videos they looked at from nonmedical influencers, or TikTok users who didn’t identify themselves as medical professionals, contained inaccurate or misleading information. That compares to nonfactual information in 15% of videos from medical professionals. Compounding the problem: Videos from nonmedical influencers were far more popular and visible on the app, according to the study.

*** Sports ***

* Sun-Times | Cubs’ Shota Imanaga is crushing it on the mound, but life as a Chicagoan is coming along more slowly: Imanaga has ordered Japanese takeout a number of times but has not yet sat down for a proper meal in a restaurant. He keeps meaning to sample a Chicago hot dog but has yet to belly up to a counter and order one. He has gone all-in on a couple of pizzas and marveled at the portion sizes, the thought occurring to him that pizza could help him keep his weight up throughout the long grind of a season. “I’ve definitely noticed the fact that I’m a lot shorter than a lot of players here, but [at least] if I do gain weight, they’re not going to notice much,” he cracked.

* WBEZ | How Angel Reese has juggled her first month as a professional athlete: Since being drafted by the Sky with the No. 7 pick a month ago, Reese attended her first Met Gala, appeared in a Good American ad campaign that’s featured on billboards in downtown Chicago and made her WNBA debut. She had 12 points and eight rebounds in the Sky’s 87-79 loss to the host Wings on Wednesday night. On Saturday, she’ll graduate from LSU — she majored in interdisciplinary studies and minored in communications, leadership and psychology — in the morning. That night, Reese will play in her second game, a rematch with the Wings.

* Forbes | White Sox Should Try To Hang Onto Their New Ace, Not Trade Him: Erick Fedde is a commodity the White Sox must consider trading. But rather than feel pressure to strike quickly, rookie general manager Chris Getz should take his time as he talks to teams interested in the 31-year-old ace. Fedde has returned from one season in Korea as the best starting pitcher in the American League. He’ll take a 4-0 record and a 2.60 ERA into a Monday start in Toronto — not bad on a team that is 14-33 with a 5.10 rotation ERA, better only than Oakland in the AL.

*** National ***

* Tribune | Cyberattacks on Ascension, Lurie are the latest in a string of health care breaches: Lurie and Ascension are hardly alone when it comes to battling increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals going after health care organizations. Last year, a record 725 large health care security breaches were reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, according to the HIPAA Journal, which covers news related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The number of large, reported health care breaches increased by 93% between 2018 and 2022, according to the health and human services department.

* Politico | Tesla loses top public policy staffers amid challenging times for the carmaker: Hasan Nazar — who led federal U.S. policy for Tesla — is departing, along with other policy staffers including Patrick Bean and Brooke Kintz, according to two people familiar with the situation granted anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel issues. Bean oversaw global charging and energy policy, and Kintz led state-level policy in the U.S. and oversaw work in North America.


  1. - TJ - Monday, May 20, 24 @ 2:45 pm:

    If I’m reading that resolution correctly, is Ford calling for a shared Bears/Sox park?

    == Urges all professional sports teams seeking a new stadium to collaborate on finding one stadium solution that can serve more than one team in a private-sector led development to share the cost and keep the stadium filled for more of the year. ==

    Don’t get me wrong, I do miss the sight of baseball diamonds on football fields on the TV, but man alive Ford is advocating a return to something truly awful that was seemingly left in the wastebin of sports history where it belongs. Building a dual-use baseball/football stadium is the quickest way to end up with a bad facility for both teams and both fanbases.

  2. - thechampaignlife - Monday, May 20, 24 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===He blamed the system for the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer responding to an alert from the system in March 2021.===

    They could not come up with a better example than one where actual shots were fired by the decedent’s associate, and the decedent himself had a gun in hand less than a second before quickly turning towards the officer? Are there no examples where a car backfiring or some other non-gunfire sound led to a response with a negative outcome?

  3. - Jibba - Monday, May 20, 24 @ 8:08 pm:

    Just because a state facility has been in a location for a long time does not obligate the state to continue at that location when it no longer serves the state. “Local pushback” can be expected and roundly ignored.

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