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Afternoon roundup

Friday, Dec 1, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve reset the donation target amount to match what we raised last year, adjusted for inflation…

The money we’ve contributed so far will help Lutheran Social Services of Illinois buy Christmas presents for 1,503 foster kids. LSSI serves 2,530 children. That means we’ve met 59 percent of their basic goal and will create a little joy for lots of kiddos.

I have my doubts that we’ll make our fundraising goal. Last year’s unprecedented final tally completely surprised me. Also, it’s been my experience that donations tend to drop off after the first couple-two-tree days. We had a good Tuesday, a great Wednesday (people really stepped up to score that $10,000 match), an OK Thursday, but almost zip today, likely because we haven’t posted a reminder.

So, please, if you can, click here and contribute. Thanks.

* Daily Illini

Illinois is the first state to offer fully funded universal tests and licensure preparation classes to public university undergraduate students in the newly passed Prepare for Illinois’ Future Program. The program entails that Illinois public universities’ undergraduate students will have free access to necessary resources to assist them in their preparation for graduate school admission tests and professional licensure.

On Nov. 7, La Shawn Ford, Illinois state representative and chair of the Illinois Higher House Appropriations Committee, announced that the Prepare for Illinois’ Future Program will warrant $10 million of the state of Illinois’ budget.

The funding of the program was passed with the intention of providing free test preparation classes for the MCAT, the LSAT, the GRE and the GMAT in the 2024 fiscal year.

In addition to the graduate school admission tests, the Prepare for Illinois’ Future Program will include free preparation assistance for professional licensure preparation in nursing, teaching, real estate and securities professional exams.

Sounds like a good idea.

* Text message…

In case you might find it of at least slight interest, Congressman Jackson, as of a couple of minutes ago when I checked ISBE, has not filed his nominating petitions. The only IL congressperson not to have done so yet. Only 1 GOP candidate has filed in the first district. I haven’t seen any outlet take note of this.

I’m trying to reach US Rep. Jackson’s campaign, but no luck so far.

* Glad to see the BGA’s policy director standing up for a reporter who wrote a very strong story only to see it trashed by those weirdos on the Tribune editorial board…

Speaking of this topic, here’s an Illinois House rule that you might not know exists

In accordance with Article IV, Sec. 6(d) of the Constitution, the House during its session may punish by imprisonment any person, not a member, guilty of disrespect to the House by disorderly or contemptuous behavior in its presence. That imprisonment shall not extend beyond 24 hours at one time unless the person persists in disorderly or contemptuous behavior.

The Senate has a nearly identical rule.

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * WBEZ | Chicago pastor on housing migrants in his church: ‘This is your new home’: I was sharing earlier today about a gentleman that we received from Police District 14. I was in the basement showing them where the showers were at, with the kitchen where they can cook, and opening cupboards and cabinets. And, one gentleman, when I opened the cabinet, he saw all the snacks and all the food and all the supplies that he hadn’t seen, maybe for years, going back to his days in Venezuela. And the term “taken aback” is usually used figuratively right? “I was taken aback.” This guy literally took a step back because he was overwhelmed by what he saw. And that overwhelmed me. And immediately he just started crying. We were meeting there for the first time. We just had a couple of conversations before. And so, my instinct was to go and embrace him and tell him ‘you’re safe here” and “this is your new home.”

    * Crain’s | Tesla’s truck isn’t a Rivian killer yet: Tesla is expected to produce about 75,000 trucks next year, Baird Equity Research estimates. Rivian is expected to increase production at its plant in Normal to 75,000 to 80,000 vehicles, up from about 50,000 this year.

    * Bloomberg | Battery startup opens Chicago plant as U.S. seeks to curb reliance on China: NanoGraf received $10 million in funding from the U.S. government to build what the company says is the Midwest’s first large-volume facility to produce silicon oxide — an important ingredient for a new kind of longer-lasting battery that can be used in electric vehicles and medical devices. It’s part of a wave of investment in US capacity to make more lithium-ion batteries at home as the country looks to compete with China, which controls large swaths of the world’s output.

    * Tribune | Peoples Gas asks to restore $134 million of ‘paused’ pipeline replacement work, says hundreds of jobs may be lost: The utility is hoping to claw back more than half of the $265 million cut from its budget when the ICC issued an order last month to pause the long-running System Modernization Program to replace 2,000 miles of aging iron pipes below Chicago streets, pending an investigation. “The company understands the Commission’s directive to pause work on SMP; however, the $265 million in work that was paused includes more than $134 million in other critical safety and reliability work outside of SMP,” Peoples Gas spokesperson David Schwartz said in a statement.

    * WBEZ | These conservation-minded Illinois farmers are in a race against climate change to save their soil: Jake Lieb drives his John Deere two-seater around his property and across the shallow Camp Creek. The waterway cuts back and forth through miles of farm fields until it reaches the Sangamon River and eventually pours into Lake Decatur 32 miles away — the man-made source of water for 200,000 people. These are troubled waters. The city of Decatur paid $100 million in 2021 to dredge so much polluted sediment from the lake that it could have filled the Willis Tower seven times.

    * Crain’s | Illinois boosts Amtrak in soaring year for rail travel: Almost 28.6 million customers rode Amtrak nationwide last year, according to fiscal 2023 passenger figures released Thursday. That’s a 24.6% increase from the previous year — albeit still shy of 32 million rides in the 2019 fiscal year. The increase reflects a resurgence in rail travel, which has been slow to bounce back from its struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. […] The Hiawatha, which connects Chicago to Milwaukee via Glenview, saw a year-over-year increase in passenger activity of 26.9%. The line provided 636,854 customer trips from October 2022 to September 2023, the most of any Midwestern route.

    * Crain’s | Feds and city’s inspector general eye Bally’s casino deal: A federal law enforcement agency and Chicago’s inspector general are looking into the process by which Bally’s won the Chicago casino license, according to people familiar with the matter. Crain’s has learned one inquiry is being led by the U.S. attorney’s office, and stems from complaints lodged by losing bidders. The existence of the federal inquiry was confirmed by Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, a longtime critic of the Lightfoot administration’s handling of the casino process, and by other sources.

    * Sun-Times | South Loop had a hybrid car dealership — a century ago. Now it’s headed toward demolition: In addition to its remarkable car-making history, the former Woods Motor Vehicle building is also a pretty nice example of early Chicago School architecture with its minimalist, grid-like face adorned with three bays of large windows designed to bring in natural light. It would be a mark against the city’s architectural heritage to lose a building of this character and pedigree.

    * Crain’s | Northwestern medical residents announce intent to unionize: The group of physicians across Northwestern’s McGaw Medical Center filed their intent to join the Committee of Interns & Residents, a division of the Service Employees International Union, with the National Labor Relations Board and have requested voluntary recognition of the union from Northwestern management, according to a statement today.

    * SJ-R | Friend-In-Deed, Central Illinois Food Bank team up again for a drive-through giveaway: Friend-In-Deed, started by the late State Journal-Register editor Ed Armstrong in 1960, is looking to raise $85,000 this holiday season to assist with the two food drive-throughs and to help out 100 homeless families from Springfield School District 186. Unlike in some previous years, there is no application required for the drive-through food giveaways.

    * Sun-Times | Jussie Smollett’s 2021 conviction, sentence upheld on appeal: A Cook County jury found Smollett guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct in 2021, and he was sentenced to 30 months of probation, with the first 150 days to be served at Cook County Jail. Smollett appealed the conviction and was released while it was pending after spending six days behind bars. A spokeswoman for the actor said Smollett will appeal Friday’s decision.

    * Tribune | Michigan grad sues state after losing ‘G0BLUE’ license plate: Joseph Hardig III said the plate has been on family vehicles for years. But he was told it was assigned to another car owner when he recently tried to renew it at a Secretary of State office. “My dad’s passed away. I got it from him. It’s meaningful to me. We’re just huge fans and love the university,” Hardig told The Detroit News. Hardig, a suburban Detroit lawyer, is asking a judge to block the state from giving the plate to an Ann Arbor man, who is also a University of Michigan graduate and lives just minutes from the football stadium.


  1. - H-W - Friday, Dec 1, 23 @ 3:32 pm:

    Re: WBEZ story on conservation-minded farmers

    There is so much information in this story. It is very much worth the read.

    Even the tangential information is fascinating (e.g., “Two of the biggest Illinois farmland owners are the Mormon Church, at No. 1, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates”).

  2. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Dec 1, 23 @ 3:55 pm:

    “… the House during its session may punish by imprisonment … .”

    Where’s the cell? Some obscure basement in the Capitol complex?

    Will the House employ a Jail Warden?

    [Sarcasm font on] Job opportunity for Terry Gainer!

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