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Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Galesburg youth detention home accused of abusive practices new in class action lawsuit. PJ Star

    -The Mary Davis Detention Home in Galesburg is being accused of abusive treatment of its residents in a new class action lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Peoria.
    -Court documents say that the home continues to put young residents in solitary confinement.
    -The complaint, filed by two current teenage residents of the home, says that the home uses extended solitary confinement as a form of punishment, putting those who break rules in confinement for 23 1/2 hours a day, for multiple days, at the whim of staff.

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Chalkbeat | Illinois’ Teacher of the Year felt like an outsider growing up. Decades on, she wants her students to know they belong.: Fourth and fifth grade teacher Rachael Mahmood wants to ensure all her students feel like they belong. That’s why she works hard to incorporate their identities, cultures, interests, and histories into her lesson plans and assignments. Mahmood, who has taught at Indian Prairie CUSD 204 for the past 19 years, was recently named the Illinois Teacher of the Year for 2024. The Illinois State Board of Education, which gave out the award, said in a press release that Mahmood has “a passion for designing curriculum that affirms students’ identities” and fosters their love of school. That has been a mission for her ever since she was a young student. (Indian Prairie CUSD 204 serves students in some of Chicago’s southwest suburbs.)

* Block Club | Famous Wrigley Field Rooftops Including Torco And Eamus Catuli Buildings Could Be Torn Down: The owners of three iconic, century-old buildings across from Wrigley Field’s right field bleachers on Sheffield Avenue are proposing to tear them down and replace them with one 29-unit apartment building. Meanwhile, some neighbors in the area are pushing back against the project due to the historical significance of the apartment buildings and worry about the preservation of the neighborhood’s character.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Capitol News Illinois | Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision: “Illinois law is not affected by the decision,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in an email statement Friday. Meanwhile, however, advocates on both sides of the gun control debate in the United States are anxiously waiting to learn whether the high court will hear a broader constitutional challenge to the state’s 2023 assault weapons ban, which includes the state-level ban on bump stocks. An announcement on that appeal could come at any time in the next several days.

* Sun-Times | Schools still rely on cops to ticket kids for minor violations. It’s a practice that should stop.: Across Illinois, tickets of up to hundreds of dollars are issued for things like littering, swearing or hallway scuffles — behaviors that schools should address internally with evidence-based solutions like restorative practices. The ticketing practice is a debilitating symptom of a larger problem: the transformation of our classrooms into carceral spaces. Over the past decades, schools and prisons have become more alike in law, policy, and staffing. Courts have granted prisons tremendous control over prisoners purportedly in the name of rehabilitation and safety — and they’ve extended that same power to schools.

* Capitol City Now | Mendoza: Budget “responsible”: “Government has an obligation to provide essential services to the state of Illinois,” Mendoza told WTAX News. “While $53 billion sounds like a lot of money – and it is – the increase between this year and last year was well below the rate of inflation. So we do have a responsible budget. There are investments that have to be made in the state of Illinois, and particularly when you see those investments, which cost money, being put into areas that have a good return on investment for taxpayers, that’s something that should be applauded.” Mendoza is trying to back away from statements she made after the budget passed … that she wanted to see “across the board cuts” – a phrase which drew an immediate negative response from the governor’s top aides. She says what she really means is to scrutinize everything to see if it’s really the lowest number possible.

* 21st Show | An in-depth look at the new Illinois state budget: Today on the 21st, we’ll take a look at the new state budget. We are joined by Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and David Merriman, a professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

*** Statewide ***

* Center Square | Illinois begins multi-year, record-breaking transportation upgrade plan: The state will spend more than $41 billion to build and repair transportation infrastructure. It is the largest investment in state history and will involve all 102 Illinois counties. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said it is an area of the state that has been neglected for years. “Not only was that holding back Illinois’ economic growth, but it was making our residents less safe and our communities less connected to one another,” said Pritzker.

*** Chicago ***

* Block Club | 2 Shot While Alderman Talks On Facebook Live About Camping Out To Stop Violence: A South Side alderman returned to his campout to stop violence on a South Side street Monday, a day after two people were shot in their faces early Sunday as he talked about his indefinite stay on Facebook Live. Ald. David Moore (17th) said he won’t be deterred by the shooting, and plans to stay on 73rd Street until he sees a positive turn in an area he’s called “an open air drug market.”

* Sun-Times | Violence programs to expand in 4 West Side neighborhoods as business group nears $100 million goal: The neighborhoods are Austin, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Little Village. About one of five shootings citywide occur in one of those neighborhoods, according to city crime statistics. […] Anti-violence programs have reached into neighborhoods across the city over the past five years, driven by a massive expansion in funding from philanthropic organizations and government grants for non-policing approaches to combating a surge in violence that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Sun-Times | Efforts to root out Chicago police extremism have ‘fallen short’ of Mayor Johnson’s promises, watchdog says: The harsh criticism was included in an 18-page letter that Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s office sent to Johnson calling for a coordinated response to “an issue of profound importance and pressing public concern.” “Any ongoing mishandling of the matter puts CPD’s public public legitimacy at critical risk, and profoundly undermines its effectiveness by damaging the very public trust that the city and the department are endeavoring to foster,” Tobara Richardson, deputy inspector general for public safety, wrote on April 25.

* Chalkbeat | Chicago’s Opportunity Index takes center stage in school budget drama: Giving more to schools that need more is a worthy goal, some experts said. But it comes at a complicated time, as the district faces enrollment instability and a deficit brought on by the end of federal COVID recovery money, meaning officials are taking from some campuses to give others a boost. The budget shift is especially challenging to pull off in a district with both large campuses and a growing number of very small schools, experts said.

* Crain’s | Chicago downplays the threat of losing its biggest water customer — DuPage: Chicago will soon begin another round of high-stakes negotiations with the DuPage Water Commission in a bid to retain the city’s largest water customer, but the commission’s recent $80 million suburban land purchase adds bite to its threat to tap into Lake Michigan to bypass the city and become its own water supplier.

* Block Club | Why Is The Wieners Circle Fighting With Portillo’s? A Confusing PETA Stunt Sparks Beef: “The PETA lady rolled up and had no idea that we don’t actually sell pork hot dogs,” Eggert said. “She told us that Portillo’s sent her over here and we had to tell her, “Ma’am, Portillo’s sells pork.’ I think she thought Portillo’s was a vegan restaurant.” […] A spokesperson for Portillo’s told Block Club that the famous Chicago hot dog chain did not partner with PETA for the event. The hot dog chain has avoided responding to social media dunks by Wieners Circle. Block Club reached out to PETA to ask how they got connected with Portillo’s for the stunt, but did not immediately hear back.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | ‘I feel like my brother has been neglected’: Questions linger one year after deadly mass shooting: Investigators with the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office recovered multiple handguns and more than 100 shell casings from the parking lot, along with video footage of what happened. One man has been charged in connection with the shooting, but no one has been arrested for Meadows’ death.

* NBC Chicago | Chicago suburb named ‘safest and most affordable’ city in US in new ranking: Elgin was noted for having a median household income of $85,998, with average mortgage costs of $1,840 and monthly cost of living totals around $4,000. Compared to other cities on the list, Elgin had a low number of property crimes and violent crimes.

* Daily Southtown | US Rep. Robin Kelly, area mayors stress sustainability in renewed push for south suburban airport: Environmental groups and farmers alike have raised concerns about the potential impact of operating a cargo airport and warehouses near Peotone to allow the Will County area to cash in on the increased demand of fast shipping from companies such as Amazon. During a news conference at the East Hazel Crest clerk’s office, Kelly and members of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association stressed their support for building “the greenest airport in North America” as the Illinois Department of Transportation prepares to seek interest from potential developers.

*** Downstate ***

* STLPR | Metro East residents also push for federal radioactive waste exposure compensation: An informal survey they conducted over several years starting in 2009 found 368 cancer cases among residents in a six-block radius of the site. No government agency appears to have formally documented the cancer rates or health outcomes of residents in the community surrounding the plant. While a related federal program has paid more than $64.5 million to 383 former employees of this facility and another just north in Granite City, area residents have never been eligible for government compensation.


  1. - TJ - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 8:12 am:

    re Wrigleyville teardowns/buildups - eh… as long as the new building(s) has an eamus catuli sign up, I’m fine with whatever they do to buildings out on Sheffield.

    re bump stocks - think we’re clearly on a countdown for that getting axed given the recent fed decision and the overall tilt of the judiciary everywhere. I’ve honestly given up on the idea of meaningful and long-lasting gun control for at least a quarter century.

    re PETA - always remember, they’re IRL trolls and only do stunts to get attention. Don’t feed the trolls with attention, they don’t care if most people think that they’re dumb. 
    re Elgin - pretty darn good accolade for Elgin, which I think to most folks still has a negative connotation of a place. Have a cousin that lives there, but haven’t visited the town since before she moved there. Should try to change that.

  2. - Numbers.... - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 8:50 am:

    On the 21st Show as linked, Ralph Martire at the very end (around the 33rd minute mark) said we need to get more revenue from our income tax, but a progressive income tax is unlikely in the near future, but the State could increase the rate and increase refundable credits.

  3. - Old IL Dude - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 9:07 am:

    From the Daily Southtown story re: Peotone Airport boondoggle: “[Rep] Kelly and members of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association stressed their support for building ‘the greenest airport in North America’”

    Kinda like saying “it’s the safest cigarette in North America”. The Peotone Airport project is a tremendous waste of money.

  4. - Nick - Tuesday, Jun 18, 24 @ 9:34 am:

    “preservation of the neighborhood’s character.”

    … *Wrigleyville?*

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