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Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* War

Ridin’ ’round town with all the windows down

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Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated)

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Center Square

A new judge will handle the sentencing phase of a high-profile corruption case centered around former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Judge Harry Leinenweber, who oversaw the 2023 trial of four former Commonwealth Edison executives and lobbyists, died Tuesday evening after 39 years on the bench. He was 87. President Ronald Reagan nominated Leinenweber to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1985. He assumed senior status in 2002 and maintained an active caseload until his death.

The court’s executive committee assigned the ComEd case to Judge Manish Shah for all further proceedings, according to court records.

*** Statewide ***

* Tribune | Bears CEO Kevin Warren added to state business development board: The governor plays no official role in selecting board members for Intersect Illinois, which was created under former Gov. Bruce Rauner, Pritzker’s Republican predecessor. The responsibility for picking board members falls to the Intersect board itself.

* AP | Illinois is hit with cicada chaos. This is what it’s like to see, hear and feel billions of bugs: Cicada chaos is flourishing and flying. Trillions of once-hidden baby bugs are in the air, on the trees and perching upon people’s shirts, hats and even faces. They’re red-eyed, loud and frisky. “What you saw was biblical,” said biologist Gene Kritsky, who has been chasing periodical cicadas for 50 years, yet was still amazed by the 3 to 5 million cicadas crowding a small patch of Ryerson Conservation Area north of Chicago. “There are things I’ve seen this time that I’ve never seen before.”

*** Chicago ***

* WTTW | Ex-Ald. Ed Burke Seeking to Delay June Sentencing if US Supreme Court Hasn’t Yet Ruled on Separate Bribery Case: Burke’s attorneys on Friday filed a motion seeking to delay his upcoming June 24 sentencing date until sometime in mid-July if the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on an appeal filed by James Snyder, the former mayor of Portage, Indiana, who was convicted in 2021 of accepting a bribe.

* CBS Chicago | Migrants frustrated at being forced out of Chicago shelters as city enforces 60-day stay limit: Rosa—who asked to have her identity shielded—has been in the Pilsen migrant shelter on South Halsted Street for months. Now, she, her husband, and her son are looking for an apartment because they were evicted from the Halsted Street shelter—and placed into another one an hour and a half away. […] As of Thursday, the city said about 6,700 migrants were living in city- or state-run shelters. Volunteers like Maria Perez are working to make sure the people still in shelters know what to do if they are evicted next. “This is your only option,” said Perez. “They don’t have any other options, you know, I mean—or they’re going to be put out on the street.”

* Sun-Times | No extremist groups on list barring Chicago police officer membership, only street gangs: The document includes 675 gang factions that department members are forbidden from joining — but no hate or extremist groups. A police spokesperson indicated such groups will be identified on a case-by-case basis. […] “We do not want to be in a situation where a CPD member could point to this list and say, ‘Well, the KKK does not appear among the enumerated groups, and therefore there’s no problem with my affiliating with that group,’” [Inspector General Deborah Witzburg] said.

* UPDATE: Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability: “The new policy focuses on prohibited behavior and makes clear that officers who engage in that behavior or associate with organizations that engage in that behavior can be disciplined. And that includes being fired. There is absolutely no requirement for an organization to be on a prohibited list in order for CPD to take action,” said Community Commission President Anthony Driver Jr. “Under the previous policy, you could put the Proud Boys on a list of organizations you couldn’t join, but then the Proud Boys could decide tomorrow to become the Nice Boys, and then members could say ‘I’m not a Proud Boy, I’m a Nice Boy, and that’s not on the list.’ That policy made it easier to avoid discipline and accountability. We don’t care what you call yourself, we care what you do.” “People who advocate for prejudice, discrimination, or efforts to overthrow or destroy the government have no home in the Chicago Police Department. They should not wear a badge or carry a gun. And reporters like Schuba and Mihalopoulos should help police officers and civilians to understand what the policy is and, together with oversight bodies like the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, work to hold CPD accountable for properly enforcing it,” Driver added.

* Block Club | CTA Stops ‘Rave Train’ Planned For Saturday, Saying It Was Never Approved: “CTA was fully aware of what we were doing this whole time,” a spokesperson for Redline Chicago said in a Telegram chat about the rave train, which includes almost 8,000 members and discussion about where to buy drugs.

* Block Club | Hotel Monaco Rebrands As L7 Chicago By Korean Luxury Hotel Chain: South Korea’s largest luxury hotel chain has made landfall with its first hotel in the United States, now open just steps away from Downtown’s Michigan Avenue. Lotte Hotel & Resorts bought the Kimpton Hotel Monaco at 225 N. Wabash Ave. in 2022 for $36 million, a steal thanks to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic on Downtown real estate.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Why Glen Ellyn police chief says Jimmy Buffett saved his life: In a news report about Buffet’s death last year from Merkel cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, Norton heard a doctor recommend that you should visit a doctor “if you have a pimple that won’t heal.” “And I heard that and thought, ‘Well, you know, I had this thing that I thought was from shaving my head, and it was an irritation,’” Norton said. He got it checked out, and that “thing” turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma, a highly treatable form of skin cancer. A procedure known as Mohs surgery followed to remove it.

* CBS CHicago | Tempers flare in Harvey, Illinois as business owners complain of unfair fines: South suburban Dolton has made headlines lately for chaotic confrontations at its village hall—as ongoing investigations of overspending often cause blow-ups between Mayor Tiffany Henyard and residents. On Thursday, tensions similarly boiled over in south suburban Harvey. Business owners there say they are being slapped with unnecessary fees—but city leaders said they need the money.

* CBS Chicago | Chicago hospital ER closed to new patients due to sweltering heat inside: The emergency room at Community First Medical Center in the Portage Park neighborhood was placed on bypass Thursday. … “We are having to literally drown some of our patients in ice packs because we have no other way of keeping them cool,” one staff member said earlier this month. The issue was not new this month. CBS 2 addressed it with staff last year after an ER doctor shared a photo showing industrial fans in exterior doorways.

*** Downstate ***

* WSIL | Mt. Vernon medical center brings Dolly Parton Library to its business: Asbery & Associates will become a sign-up spot for mothers to join Parton’s library. The program gives free stories to children between birth and five years of age in hopes of establishing a love of reading and learning early on. Dr. and Mrs. Asbery expressed their belief that quality books help lead to a child’s success in a press release about the partnership. The Asberys can see how this fact aligns with the medical center’s mission of bridging the achievement gap around Southern Illinois.


Et tu, Turow?

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sigh

* From Turow’s letter

I have known Ed over the years as one of the most keenly intelligent people I’ve ever encountered, someone with an unrivaled knowledge of the history of Chicago. He is a person with a loving and complex view of human nature, and, in my long experience with him, a central preoccupation with the practical steps that will make life here better for all of us.

None of this is to gainsay the evidence heard in your courtroom, or to diminish the gravity of the crime Ed has been convicted of.

But one thing has been striking to me since the complaint was first unveiled in this matter in 2019. How consistent is it with the image the prosecutors want to draw of a City Hall insider “steeped in corruption” to think that such a man would get on the telephone with people he barely knew and declare, “[We’re going to talk about the real estate tax representation and you [a]re going to have somebody get in touch with me so we can expedite your permits”?

Of course, that was exactly what he said. But what allegedly experienced schemer of Ed’s intelligence, let alone a lifetime familiarity with law enforcement and Chicago history, would deliver such a clearly improper message so baldly? The same observation applies to statements about “tuna” and “cash registers,” uttered so cheerfully—and guilelessly.

In short, I have considered the crimes themselves as clear evidence of a state of decline that the defendant is too proud to recognize or acknowledge and which the prosecutors, naturally, would not focus on. Personally, I have no doubt that a younger Ed Burke would have stayed carefully within the white lines-and out of your courtroom. Accordingly, I believe that is an important consideration as you ponder the heavy task of setting an appropriate punishment for an 80 year old.

Maybe now we have some insights into why the G never went after Burke until relatively recently. He was their impressively smart buddy. A mentor, even.

He apparently worked the refs quite well for decades.


Rides For Moms Provides Transportation To Prenatal Care

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Surgo Ventures partnered with Uber Health and local health centers to provide transportation assistance to expectant mothers facing transportation challenges to their prenatal appointments. Across one city, the initiative covered over 30,000 miles, ensuring over 450 participants reached their prenatal appointments without hassle. One participant shared, ‘There were days when I didn’t want to get up from bed. Knowing that someone was going to pick me up… made me feel safer.’ With programs like Rides for Moms, transportation is no longer a barrier for new mothers to access essential medical care. Learn more

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No quorum: COGFA panel unable to vote on Stateville and Logan prison recommendations (updated)

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Jerry Nowicki

* Max Cotton

* Capitol News Illinois

The panel’s Democratic co-chair, Sen. Dave Koehler of Peoria, told reporters after Thursday’s meeting that he didn’t believe enough of COGFA’s 12 members were even planning on being in Springfield Friday morning for the scheduled advisory vote.

Without a quorum, the panel can’t take official action. But even if COGFA did vote, Koehler said the Pritzker administration’s current plans for Stateville and Logan are so vague that “We don’t really know what we’re voting on.”

In place of a vote, Koehler said he planned to make a motion to urge the governor and IDOC to work with the local communities and employees of Stateville and Logan as plans for closure and rebuild proceed. He noted that his current understanding of the administration’s work with local stakeholders “doesn’t appear to be to be too positive at this point.”

“So that’s my recommendation – is that you make sure that…you’re collaborative in the process because just dropping this on folks is not a good way to proceed,” Koehler said.

…Adding… AFSCME…

Statement of AFSCME Council 31 in response to lack of quorum at today’s COGFA meeting to vote on the proposal to close Stateville prison before rebuilding it, and to close and relocate Logan prison:

“Members of the commission have spent two months studying this proposal, asking questions and getting input.

“Today, all lawmakers present expressed grave concern about the dearth of details provided and the lack of any real plan. The absence of other commission members also reflects the absence of support for the proposal. No member of the commission spoke in favor.

“Today’s outcome, and the large crowds and countless concerns raised at this week’s COGFA hearings in Joliet and Lincoln, all affirm the same thing: The Department of Corrections should rescind its closure threats, slow down, and work with our union and other concerned parties to develop a better rebuilding plan. For the state prison system, its employees, individuals in custody and their families, that’s the right thing to do.”


Open thread

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on? Keep it Illinois-centric please…


Isabel’s morning briefing

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: IDOC holds public meeting on relocation of Lincoln women’s prison. 25News Now

During Thursday’s hearing, IDOC leaders said rebuilding Logan would provide a more regionalized approach for women’s facilities by offering a prison up north to pair with the centrally located facility in Decatur. They add there are more services for rehabilitation and re-entry offered near Stateville. […]

With this move, almost 500 people employed at Logan Correctional Center would have to relocate.

The IDOC says more than 800 employee positions are available within a 90-mile radius of Lincoln, including openings at Lincoln, Decatur, Pontiac, Jacksonville, Illinois River, and Taylorville Correctional Centers.

However, the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2073, the correctional officers’ union, said the move doesn’t make sense.

“You’re going to lose the 450 to 500 employees we have here. We’re not going to make that move; it’s just too far away for us, so they would be starting a fresh, brand new facility, with literally no employees to operate it,” Union President Kenny Johnson said. “Someone needs to make it make sense to us.”

* Related stories…

Governor Pritzker is back in Illinois after a trade mission in Canada. The governor will be in McCook today to announce a multi-year infrastructure improvement plan with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Click here at 2 pm to watch.

Click here to view the AFL-CIO’s endorsements for the 2024 General Election.

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Sun-Times | CTA Second Chance trainees say they faced discipline after complaining of burns from caustic cleaners: The approximately 240 people working in the [Chicago Transit Authority’s Second Chance job-training program] don’t get health insurance or paid sick time and make $15.80 an hour in the temporary jobs. Dorval Carter Jr., the CTA’s president, has touted Second Chance as “giving individuals with barriers to employment the opportunity to really turn their lives around and provide them with really good CTA union-paying jobs.” […] [T]he union is backing the Second Chance workers’ claims that exterior wash crew supervisors lean heavily on them to scrub the outsides of L trains with a heavy-duty acid cleaner that carries warnings about the chances for severe burns and requires the use of protective gear from head to toe.

* Sun-Times | Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard federal probe looking into work of contractor who faces prison for bribery: At the urging of Mayor Tiffany Henyard, the village of Dolton paid a Summit construction company that’s been linked to multiple corruption investigations more than $200,000 for no-bid, no-contract work replacing senior homeowners’ roofs and windows. Now, federal investigators are seeking records from Dolton officials about the construction work by O.A.K.K. Construction Co., owned by Alex Nitchoff. His family was the longtime owner of a restaurant in Dolton, and the Chicago Sun-Times has reported that his late father Boris Nitchoff engaged in a scheme to clear hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes from properties the family owned in the suburb.

*** Statehouse News ***

* WaPo | States bet on boosting taxes for online sports betting companies like DraftKings, FanDuel: DraftKings, FanDuel and other betting apps are facing a bigger tax hit in Illinois following changes to tax policy this year. New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states have also tried to raise taxes on the industry or plan to. […] The new policy puts Illinois’ top tax rate for online sports gambling operations in the same league as New York, which has a 51% top rate. New Jersey is considering doubling its tax rate to 30%. A proposal to boost Massachusetts’ rate from 20% to 51% failed in May.

*** Statewide ***

* WGEM | IL families to see new child tax credit: “The Illinois child tax credit is based off of what the federal government did during the pandemic to institute their own child tax credit to kind of give families that little extra boost,” said state Sen. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island. The credit is open to families with kids ages 12 and younger who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It’s a federal and state credit for low- and middle-income earners. Families who qualify will add an additional 20% to their state EITC refund next year. That number jumps to 40% in subsequent years.

* Capitol News Illinois | Illinois child tax credit: who gets it, how much is it?: Starting in tax year 2025, the state’s child tax credit will double to 40 percent of the state EITC, meaning that it will max out at a bit over $600 for families with three children. Because the federal tax credit that determines its size is tied to inflation, the actual size of future years’ child tax credits is yet to be determined. In its first year, the program is expected to cost the state $50 million, with a cost of about $100 million in subsequent years.

* 21st Show | A report looks at how Illinois’ limited regulations on homeschooling leave children at risk: Thousands of children in our state are homeschooled. Parents who decide to homeschool are required by state law to follow the same educational standards as public schools. But the law doesn’t say how they have to go about that. The state can’t require parents to demonstrate how they teach, their curriculum or testing outcomes. As the regulations are set up now, it’s difficult for officials to investigate or intervene when homeschooling concerns arise.

*** Chicago ***

* Block Club Chicago | Juneteenth 2024: Here Are 40+ Parades, Marches, Barbecues And More To Celebrate: There are dozens of parades, barbecues, art shows, skating events, marches, festivals and other celebrations over the next two weeks to honor Juneteenth this year. Juneteenth is the federal holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865, when traveling federal troops informed the last groups of enslaved people living in Galveston, Texas, of the end of slavery in the United States two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

* WBEZ | CPS elementary reading scores rise, surpassing pre-pandemic levels: What district officials didn’t know, and were especially pleased to learn from a study from Harvard and Stanford universities, was that CPS was improving more than most other large districts in the nation, Martinez said. But, at the Joyce Foundation event Thursday, Harvard professor Tom Kane said the analysis might need to be revised later this year.

* Tribune | Lightfoot to be visiting professor at University of Michigan: Lightfoot will join the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy as a visiting professor in the fall, the school wrote in a news release. The former mayor will teach a class on strategic public policy consulting alongside public policy and sociology professor Jeffrey Morenoff. Lightfoot graduated from the university as an undergraduate in 1984.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Southtown | Economic development breakfast touts Will County’s economy, but notes lack of diverse housing and sufficient workforce: Doug Pryor, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development said Will County places in the top 20 of counties nationwide for new and expanding companies and for five years has held the top position in the state for job creation. However, the labor force for an area that’s principal industry is manufacturing has not kept up, despite a 26% total wage increase from 2019 to 2023, he said.

* Tribune | County appoints insider as new inspector general: A new watchdog will be taking over the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General, responsible for rooting out waste, fraud and corruption across much of county government. The post, which has not had a permanent leader since the fall of 2022, will be filled by current Deputy IG Tirrell Paxton. County commissioners approved his appointment unanimously on Thursday. A certified public accountant and fraud examiner, Paxton has worked in the office for more than 14 years. In a hearing on his appointment on Wednesday, he pledged to “work diligently” to maintain the office’s progress since its founding in 2007.

*** Downstate ***

* WCCU | Illini 4,000 bike from New York to California to support cancer research: Throughout their ride, the Illini 4,000 stop in local communities across the country and sat down with individuals affected by cancer to hear their stories. The Illini 4,000 are expected to finish their ride around August 11th by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in California. To keep up with the Illini 4,000’s journey, you can read their daily journals by clicking here.

* KHQA | Illinois Department of Public Health fines Macomb nursing home $25,000: Macomb Post Acute Care Center located in Macomb, Illinois was one of four nursing homes in the area who were fined by the Illinois Department of Public Health over licensure violations. […] They found the facility had failed to implement fall interventions for a cognitively impaired resident and to prevent falls causing injury for other residents.

*** Sports ***

* Sun-Times | Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr., potential first-round NBA draft pick, not guilty of rape: Shannon’s lawyers called the allegations a “blind accusation” and questioned the motives of the woman. They also criticized the prosecutors in Douglas County for a lack of evidence and a Lawrence detective for the thoroughness of his investigation. Following the verdict, Illinois basketball coach Brad Underwood issued a statement of support: “I am thrilled for Terrence with the news of today’s verdict. Under six months of intense scrutiny, Terrence has shown tremendous composure, maturity, and focus.


Live coverage

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* You can click here or here to follow breaking news. It’s the best we can do unless or until Twitter gets its act together.


Selected press releases (Live updates)

Friday, Jun 14, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller


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