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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Thursday, Jun 6, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune

A former state child welfare caseworker on Thursday was sentenced to six months in jail and 30 months of probation for child endangerment in the case of AJ Freund, a 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy who was beaten to death in 2019.

Carlos Acosta also was ordered to contribute $1,000 to the McHenry County Children’s Advocacy Center and to perform 200 hours of public service by Lake County Associate Judge George Stickland.

Acosta, a former McHenry County Board member, was convicted in October in what was believed to be the first successful prosecution of a child welfare worker in Illinois.

Acosta was found guilty of endangering the life or health of a child. He was found not guilty of reckless conduct.

* Dave Byrnes

* The $2 million will go to 113 public libraries across the state

* A cute moment from Violet, Rep. Dan Didech’s “assistant”

The whole video is adorable, and you can watch it here.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Illinois Times | Legislation passes to help BOS Center expansion: A bill recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly increases the likelihood a proposed $93 million expansion of Springfield’s convention center will become reality, a state lawmaker says. “ I do think this project is something that will really benefit and save the downtown,” state Rep. Mike Coffey, R-Springfield, told Illinois Times on June 3.

* WSPY | Aurora state rep. happy with education funding in state budget: [State Rep. Barbara Hernandez[ says she would have liked to see funding for one of her initiatives to provide student teachers with a stipend that didn’t make it into the budget this time around. She says she wants to do something to reduce the property tax burden, but notes that the pandemic left many people needing more services from the state in addition to the recent migrant crisis.

*** Statewide ***

* Brownfield Ag News | IL Ag Director: “We remain committed to conservation”: The Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture says the administration remains committed to conservation despite funding cuts in the next state budget. Jerry Costello says the funding to soil & water conservation districts decreased due to a lack of specific action in the General Assembly.

* WBEZ | Ditch microwave popcorn? With toxic ‘forever chemicals’ on the rise, here’s how to limit exposure: But these chemicals can be hard to avoid on your own, said Erik Olson, senior strategic director of health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “You can’t completely shop your way out of this,” Olson said. “That’s why we need EPA and controls to stop industries from discharging this stuff.”

*** Chicago ***

* Tribune | Chicago leaders react to Biden’s executive order ahead of convention limiting asylum-seekers at the U.S. border: Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters Wednesday that Biden’s executive order was “imperfect” but rejected the premise that it was election-year politicking. “In my view, we now have a proposal from the president that is, again, it’s not a perfect solution,” Pritzker said. “We’d like the Congress to take action, but the Republican-controlled House is unwilling to do so. … And so, the president is using whatever tools he has to do what is necessary.”

* Block Club | What Do New Restrictions For Migrants At The Border Mean For Chicago?: In a statement Wednesday, Mayor Brandon Johnson called on Congress to pass “permanent solutions” for “Dreamers, spouses of American citizens and long-term workers.” “It is time for Congress to finally work with President Biden to pass comprehensive immigration reform and create fair and functional policies for our country,” Johnson’s statement said.

* Tribune | As another Chicago summer begins, stakeholders in anti-violence efforts dig in: Along with city leaders and public safety advocates, Douglas and his colleagues at the University of Chicago trauma center have spent months preparing. And this summer will bring extra challenges as the city prepares to welcome waves of tourists, delegates and party officials for the Democratic National Convention in late August. While doctors, nurses and surgeons have made sure they have what they need to treat the wounded in their emergency rooms, city leaders say they are prepared with law enforcement strategies as well as violence interruption and emergency response plans.

* Tribune | City poised to offer DNC protesters route near United Center: Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is poised to offer protesters at the Democratic National Convention a route near the United Center to potentially settle a federal lawsuit claiming the city of Chicago is violating protesters’ First Amendment rights by blocking plans to march within “sight and sound” of the convention hall. The development was revealed at a hearing Thursday in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which is seeking an injunction blocking the city from confining protesters to places far from the convention site, such as Grant Park.

* WTTW | Pay $50M to 4 Men Who Each Spent Nearly 20 Years in Prison for Double Murder They Didn’t Commit, City Lawyers Recommend: The Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee is set on Monday to consider the proposed settlement, which calls for taxpayers to pay $21 million and the city’s insurance company to pay $29 million. A final vote of the City Council could come on June 12. […] All four defendants, who became known as the “Marquette Park Four,” were exonerated in 2017 after Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against them. Styles, who was 16 at the time of the murder, and Johnson, who was 19 at the time of the murder, had been sentenced to life in prison.

* Sun-Times | How the seizure of a woman’s purple gun led to a Chicago police corruption scandal: One of the officers grabbed the handgun, then made an unnerving comment. “We understand why you have this weapon. We’ll let you go,” recalled German, a legal gun owner who didn’t have a license to carry publicly. “This never happened.” After hearing those parting words and realizing the officer had taken the gun, German said she knew there “was some B.S. going on.” The officers, identified as Daniel Fair and Jeffery Morrow, later claimed they had recovered the gun while responding to a ShotSpotter alert a mile from the bus stop.

* WTTW | Chicago Spent More Than 1 Million Overtime Hours on ‘Scarecrow’ Police Shifts Since 2022 Before Abandoning the Approach: Despite past and current pledges to reduce costs of overtime, records provided to WTTW News show the monthly total of hours assigned for [strategic deployment initiative] shifts reached its highest level under Snelling in the final three months of operation. […] CPD did not respond to questions about how it judged the efficacy of the SDI plan. The city did announce this year’s summer safety plan before the Memorial Day weekend. The plan would continue canceling officers’ days off to make up for staffing issues as it has in the past.

* WGN | No Fourth of July fireworks in Chicago this year: The city has offered no explanation, but reminds residents that Navy Pier holds its twice-a-week fireworks display every Wednesday and Saturday through Labor Day.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | How Illinois’ new child tax credit will affect suburban parents: Parents of children 12 and younger who also qualify for the state’s earned income tax credit (EITC) are eligible for the tax break that could net as much as $300 for one child. Refunds would be higher for parents with multiple children in that age bracket, but the value is staggered similar to the EITC. “It is an important step and it is really exciting because we have seen similar policies work at the federal level and in other states,” said state Rep. Mary Beth Canty, an Arlington Heights Democrat who helped champion child tax credit legislation in Springfield. “It can be the difference in families buying school supplies, diapers, new shoes or what have you. Those types of expenses that keep our families and kids on track for future success.”

* CBS Chicago | Mayor of Chicago suburb of Markham says pandemonium in Dolton is creeping into other communities: The City of Markham is one of 17 municipalities in Thornton Township, and Markham Mayor Roger Agpawa said he felt compelled to speak out about the cloud hanging over Henyard after insisting she is trying to paint Markham in a bad light for her benefit. Homeowners in the south suburbs saw an increase in their property taxes recently, and Markham is no exception.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | Proposed multimillion dollar warehouse could bring hundreds of jobs to Springfield: Frito-Lay has another warehouse in Springfield that operates at 5400 International Parkway. That warehouse is currently hiring for part time positions in the warehousing industry anywhere from $21.89 to $22.88 an hour. While absolute numbers are not available currently for the project, President and CEO of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance Ryan McCrady said that similarly sized constructions in the city would range from $30 to $50 million for a warehouse of that size.

*** National ***

* NBC | Elon Musk’s X app ran ads on #whitepower and other hateful hashtags: While the hashtags make up a small percentage of what is posted daily on X, they add to previous examples showing how the platform has struggled to maintain control of its ad network and how it intersects with hate speech — an issue that has plagued the platform for years. The placements allow X to monetize extremist content more than 18 months after Musk said that he would demonetize hate posts on the platform he owns.

* WaPo | Several Pa. House Republicans boo officers who defended Capitol on Jan. 6: Former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn and former sergeant Aquilino Gonell were introduced on the floor Wednesday as “heroes” by House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D) for having “bravely defended democracy in the United States Capitol against rioters and insurrection on Jan. 6.” As the two men — both of whom were injured by rioters on Jan. 6 — were introduced, the House floor descended into chaos. According to Democratic lawmakers, several GOP lawmakers hissed and booed, with a number of Republicans walking out of the chamber in protest.

* NPR | ‘Washington Post’ publisher tried to kill a story about allegations against him. It wasn’t the first time.: The Washington Post has written twice this spring about allegations that have cropped up in British court proceedings involving its new publisher and CEO, Will Lewis. In both instances Lewis pushed his newsroom chief hard not to run the story. According to several people at the newspaper, then-Executive Editor Sally Buzbee emerged rattled from both discussions in March and in May. Lewis’ efforts were first reported by the New York Times. The second Post article in May, which was thorough and detailed, ran just days before Lewis announced his priorities for the paper, which is financially troubled.

* Smithsonian Mag | Martha Gellhorn Was The Only Woman to Report on the D-Day Landings From the Ground: Gellhorn was one of the first journalists—and the only female correspondent—to view that hellish scene 80 years ago. Lacking proper credentials, she lied her way onto a hospital ship traveling from England to France, then rode in a water ambulance to the still-dangerous Normandy shore as artillery shells from battleships roared overhead. Among other hazards, she endured snipers, landmines and strafing by German warplanes, all to get the story.


  1. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 2:35 pm:

    Chuy looks thrilled.

  2. - Old IL Dude - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 2:37 pm:

    Hey, no fireworks for 4th of July. What would be the cost of a fireworks show, approx. the cost of 3 low-income apartment units in Brandon’s affordable housing proposal?

  3. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===What would be the cost of a fireworks show, approx. the cost of 3 low-income apartment units…===

    I think when you add up the overtime from the police alone, you’re talking about a very large number. You can’t have 1 million people in Grant Park without a LOT of officers, who are being stretched thin with everything else going on in Chicago this summer.

    But if I know my fellow Chicagoans, there will be fireworks in Chicago on the 4th of July. And many other nights as well.

  4. - Socially DIstant watcher - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==the cost of 3 low-income apartment==

    Yes, let’s cut the number affordable housing so we can have one evening of fireworks.

    Going out on a limb to guess that old IL Dude doesn’t live in affordable housing. I hope I’m wrong and that the Dude was offering up his own apartment so the city could have an evening of fireworks.

  5. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 3:32 pm:

    Count down to the Bears or Sox offering to underwrite a Fourth of July fireworks show.

  6. - low level - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 3:32 pm:

    ==What would be the cost of a fireworks show, approx. the cost of 3 low-income apartment units==

    Much different funding sources. Affordable housing is usually covered w federal grant money (HOME and CDBG) that can only be used for housing. The fireworks expense probably comes from the corporate fund (what would be GRF in state terms)

    The money couldn’t be transferred from affordable housing grants to fireworks expenditures.

  7. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 3:43 pm:

    BOS Expansion

    “It’s unclear when or whether the expansion will happen. Construction would take place on a county-owned parking lot on the west side of Ninth Street and immediately south of the BOS Center”

    They need to fix the current BOS building - the lower level conf rooms have all the charm of a 1950s train station - concrete stairs - poor lighting and the wi-fi never works

  8. - Lurker - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 4:13 pm:

    The Department of Natural Resources deals with conservation, especially in regards to soil/land and to water, as well as other natural resources. I think this means we should combine Ag with DNR?

    “… Department of Agriculture says the administration remains committed to conservation despite funding cuts in the next state budget. Jerry Costello says the funding to soil & water conservation districts decreased…”

  9. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 4:20 pm:

    If only kids in underserved communities would take advantage of Library Tech Grants and avail themselves of knowledge and opportunities.

    That might keep them away from Streeterville and attacking and beating residents walking in the neighborhood.

  10. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 4:56 pm:

    Probably good to not do the fireworks. City is poised to lose $60-80 million just from the 1% grocery tax that was repealed. That’s

    Btw that Dave Byrnes tweet has been deleted. Maybe saying that the police should be fully transparent on what every tactic will be and what their equipment will be to the people who will be standing against them may not be a smart idea. Just Saying

  11. - Aaron B - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 4:58 pm:

    The Daily Journal is reporting that 3 out of 4 Shapiro Developmental Center employees that were indicted for the battering of a resident in September 2023 have turned themselves in. 2 of those 3 have received pre-trial release.

  12. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jun 6, 24 @ 10:16 pm:

    === state child welfare caseworker on Thursday was sentenced to six months in jail and 30 months of probation for child endangerment====

    Meanwhile the Director of DCFS that gets slapped with multiple contempts of court sees no real consequence for creating the conditions that created this scenario.

    ===Maybe saying that the police should be fully transparent on what every tactic will be and what their equipment will be to the people who will be standing against them may not be a smart idea.===

    I think it is neat that everyone is just running with this idea that it is absolutely okay for the CPD to be planning on beating protesters and mass arrests.

    I’m sure their plans include placing their own employees in the protests in order to make sure that they have whatever reason they need to beat protesters.

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