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Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Jun 7, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: ‘An impossible job’: Illinois DCFS comes under new leadership yet again amidst years of challenges. WBEZ

    - Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services has faced challenges and reports of dysfunction for years – from failing to report cases of abuse in schools to reports of improper use of funds.
    - Reset checks in with the new leader of the embattled DCFS, Heidi Mueller, for how she plans to right the ship.

* Related stories…

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* WTTW | More Than Half of Migrants Forced to Leave City Shelters Immediately Returned, Chicago Officials Say: But the acknowledgement that approximately 500 people would be unhoused months after arriving in Chicago raises new questions about plans by officials to start evicting families with school-age children from city shelters Monday. The academic year for Chicago Public Schools students ended Friday, eliminating the dispensation granted to families with children. […] City officials do “not expect a mass exit from shelters” starting Monday because a “number of extensions remain in place and shelter exit dates are staggered according to when individuals entered the shelter,” according to a statement from Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Brandie Knazze.

* Sun-Times | White Sox blown out in franchise record 14th straight defeat: The White Sox set a franchise record with their 14th consecutive loss Thursday, routed 14-2 by the Red Sox. Surpassing a mark set by the 1924 team and extending the longest skid in the majors this season, the Sox lost for the 18th time in their last 19 games, tumbling to 15-48.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Tribune | Legislation would block carbon dioxide pipelines in Illinois for up to 2 years: “We’ve got a moratorium — that’s a good thing and we might get more safety measures depending on what (the federal regulators) do,” said Pam Richart, coordinator of the Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines. Still, she said, members of her coalition were dismayed that the bill didn’t ban or severely limit eminent domain, in which land can be taken from a nonconsenting owner for the public good.

* Daily Herald | State senator hopes gas-leak detector bill can prevent catastrophes like house explosions: If Tuesday’s house explosion in Lake Zurich is determined to have been caused by a natural gas leak, one state senator from suburbs says it would be another example of the dangers he hopes his proposed legislation can prevent. Republican state Sen. Craig Wilcox of McHenry introduced the Fuel Gas Detector Act in February 2023, and hopes to continue negotiating for a version of it to become law during this summer’s veto session in Springfield.

*** Statewide ***

* Sports Handle | Illinois Gaming Board Renews 7 Retail Sports Betting Licenses: Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter renewed seven sports betting licenses for retail sportsbooks Thursday, the first such renewals since in the state since operators began taking wagers in March 2020. Fruchter, using the expanded powers delegated to him following the COVID-19 pandemic and since renewed on an annual basis, granted four-year license renewals through June 2028 to the following casinos: Argosy Casino Alton, DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, and Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria.

*** Chicago ***

* NBC Chicago | DNC protesters, Chicago officials seek compromise ahead of event: During a status hearing Thursday, Andrew Worseck, an attorney for the city, told federal Judge Andrea Wood city officials have finally obtained enough information from the U.S. Secret Service to propose another route. Part of the problem is officials with the Secret Service have not yet announced the security perimeter for the convention, though city officials have begun honing their strategies for the event.

* Sun-Times | Mayor’s pricey hair and makeup: In one year, Brandon Johnson’s campaign has spent $30K on hair, makeup: Asked about Johnson’s spending — including his having a makeup artist paid a retainer, which hair and makeup sessions were for which events and whether any of the payments were for anyone other than the mayor — [the Johnson campaign’s Bill Neidhardt] says in a written statement: “The mayor does not spend taxpayer dollars in preparation for the many public appearances and events he attends every day. “Instead, he is using his own campaign funds to pay Black- and women-owned businesses a fair wage in compensation for their work in preparing the mayor and individuals associated with the campaign for public appearances, events, media segments and other availabilities.

* Chalkbeat | CPS did not violate state law in moving to take over Urban Prep, appeals court rules: The court’s decision is the latest twist in a nearly two-year battle between Chicago Public Schools and Urban Prep, which has fought to stay open amid allegations of financial mismanagement, violation of special-education rights, and sexual misconduct. The appeals court’s decision comes as charter schools face greater scrutiny under the new board of education appointed by Mayor Brandon Johnson, a former teacher and union leader. In January, the board renewed contracts for 49 charters, most by three or four years. State law allows extensions up to 10 years.

* Sun-Times | Calumet Fisheries to reopen Saturday — rebuilt after devastating fire last fall: The seafood restaurant, one of the few smokehouses left in Illinois, was gutted in a fire in November due to an electrical issue. It underwent extensive renovation for its Saturday soft reopening. “My Facebook page has been off the hook with people just dying to come back,” co-owner Mark Kotlick said.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | How Arlington Heights police are taking drones ‘to the next level’: “Time,” Chief Nicholas Pecora replied when we asked about the main benefit of the department’s new addition. “You don’t want a delayed response. You want to have it out on the street and up in the air as soon as possible.” […] Back in 2019, Arlington Heights was among the first suburban municipal police departments to add drones. Today, the department has three drones in service and 26 officers licensed to fly them.

* NBC Chicago | Gov. Pritzker weighs in on Dolton saga, answers questions on if state should intervene: “We’ve looked into whether we ought to put resources, whether it’s state police and their anti-corruption efforts or asking the Attorney General,” Pritzker said. “The reality is there are already two pretty significant investigations going on. We’ll support them in every way we can, but it’s just a matter if you want everybody running over each other in those investigations, or do you want two concerted efforts to get the facts?”

* ABC Chicago | Cook County Assessor to correct thousands of property tax assessment errors in south, west suburbs: In past reports, the Assessor’s Office admitted some south suburban homeowners were over-assessed. Now we have found there were more than 4,000 of these errors. A letter obtained by the I-Team shows that the Assessor’s Office is working to correct problems.

* NBC Chicago | Blowing dust, gusty winds could cause hazardous travel in Chicago area: According to a special weather statement issued Thursday afternoon, winds of 35-to-45 miles per hour are expected to continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening, leading to serious travel concerns around the area. The main threats will be felt on north-south roadways, where winds could impact high-profile vehicles, according to the alert.

*** Downstate ***

* Daily Journal | Judge rules not to detain two Shapiro workers charged with battering resident: Two Shapiro Developmental Center employees charged with battering a resident in September 2023 were released following their detention hearings Wednesday in Kankakee County Court. Both are charged with the battery of a 32-year-old Shapiro resident. […] While Cunnington released the pair, he did order both to report to pretrial services, wear GPS monitoring devices and to have no contact with Shapiro Developmental Center, the victim or a witness.

* SJ-R | New workforce program launching for seniors in the Springfield area: The HAP Foundation partnered with AmeriCorps for the program, which is intended to train seniors to help them reenter the workforce as community health workers. […] Volunteers in the program will receive a monthly stipend of $200, and once the program is complete participants will receive $1,000 through a grant from the Illinois Public Health Association.

* WPSD | Annual Superman celebrations return in Metropolis, Illinois: This year’s guests include Tyler Hoechil, who fans will recognize as Superman on “Superman & Lois,” the “Supergirl” series and other shows in the CW’s Arrowverse. Fans can also catch Nicole Maines, who played Nia Nal on “Supergirl” and “The Flash,” and Jess Rath, known as Brainiac-5 on “Supergirl” and Alak Tarr on the SyFy series “Defiance.”

* PJ Star | Deere and Co. to pay $1.1 million for discriminatory hiring practices in Illinois, Iowa: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs settled with Deere and Co. to pay back wages and interest to Black and Hispanic employees at the company’s locations in Milan, Illinois; Ankeny, Iowa; and Waterloo, Iowa.[…] As part of its settlement, Deere and Co. has agreed to pay $1.1 million in back wages and interest as well as provide 58 jobs to eligible class members.


  1. - that’s bettor - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:07 am:

    How did everyone miss being able to bet on Illinois Collegiate sports, unless that was on purpose.

    Good idea to raise taxes and simultaneously lower incoming revenue.

  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:16 am:

    ===unless that was on purpose===

    The universities asked for the ban, IIRC.

  3. - Drury’s Missing Clock - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:29 am:

    I’m curious if the universities will have to go cry for another exemption now that the NCAA isn’t in the business of amateur athletics.

  4. - that’s bettor - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:32 am:

    It’s way easier to protect athletes and leagues with legal wagering than it is with offshore stuff because there is access to the data. The MLB and NFL are catching players on the legal books pretty regularly now.

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:40 am:

    –State senator hopes gas-leak detector bill can prevent catastrophes like house explosions–

    Heat pumps won’t blow up your entire house no matter how catastrophic the failure mode is.

    Also, the state really needs to work on some sort of regulations for plowing fields during high wind. A video showed up in my feed yesterday afternoon of someone driving on I-55 with a plow off the side of the road in a field throwing up unimaginable amounts of dust that then obscured visibility on the road. There was active plowing going on along I-55 yesterday during the high winds, and it was throwing up so much dust by the time it arrived in my area the whole sky had a milky dull blue hue to it.

    There’s no reason farmers should be plowing in winds over 30mph. Aside from the loss of topsoil it causes to the farmer directly, the impacts it has in increasing the danger on interstates just isn’t acceptable. That this happened barely a year after the massive pile up and fatality caused by the exact same thing, shows there are too many farmers who are not at all concerned with their neighbors or anyone around them.

    Even a simple messaging campaign from the dept of ag would help. This has to be addressed one way or the other.

  6. - JoanP - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 8:41 am:

    = The White Sox set a franchise record with their 14th consecutive loss =

    Some records you do not want to break.

  7. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 9:09 am:

    $30,000 for hair and makeup? The one story where Rod Blagojevich’s expertise is actually relevant, and no one asks his for comment.

  8. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 9:46 am:

    “Mayor’s pricey hair and makeup: In one year, Brandon Johnson’s campaign has spent $30K on grooming”

    I thought he was a common man type - you know teacher and union organizer.

  9. - Annon3 - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 10:17 am:

    TDC- I almost spit my coffee out with Blago reference, thanks!

  10. - Annonin' - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 10:36 am:

    Speaking of college sports better it seems like all limits should be off now that we can pay our athletes

  11. - Friendly Bob Adams - Friday, Jun 7, 24 @ 12:59 pm:

    Sports gambling is going to eventually kill sports. They are already discussing betting options during tv broadcasts. The more they appeal to gamblers the less interests non-gamblers will have in sports.

    In a similar vein, the “pay college athletes” era has arrived, even messier than imagined. Be careful what you wish for.

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