Illinois

The Republican candidates for state comptroller and treasurer are calling on Illinois lawmakers to pass legislation that would consolidate the two offices they’re running for.

Comptroller candidate Darlene Senger and treasurer candidate Jim Dodge made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday in Rockford.

Both say the move would improve transparency and efficiency. Senger says it also would save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Groups Focus On #MeToo In Campaign Workplaces

Jul 9, 2018

A panel is traveling across Illinois to hear about what it’s like to be a female in politics. The Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel is hosting listening sessions to hear about sexual harassment in the political workplace.

The non-partisan panel is led by Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Sen. Melinda Bush, and State Rep. Carol Ammons. 

Becky Carroll is Communications Director for the group. She says their findings on workplace sexual harassment can apply to all political races, not just in Illinois.

Wikipedia

A 71-year-old central Illinois woman faces federal charges accusing her of possessing and intending to distribute synthetic marijuana.

Federal prosecutors say Letha Dean is the eighth defendant charged in a task force investigation of synthetic marijuana distribution in central Illinois. The Salisbury woman appeared before a Springfield federal judge Monday and waived a preliminary hearing.

Illinois DNR

Starved Rock State Park is struggling to keep up with the more than 10 million visitors that have come to the Illinois park in the last four years.

The facilities and trails in Utica aren't equipped to handle the traffic they get, said Kerry Novak, the park's complex superintendent. The park faces a growing maintenance budget that's difficult to support, he told The News Tribune.

U.S. Government

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his corruption convictions, the second time in two years it has declined to take up his case.

The nation's highest court offered no explanation for its decision, letting stand the Chicago Democrat's convictions. They included seeking to trade an appointment to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president for campaign cash.

Blagojevich, 61, began serving his 14-year prison sentence in 2012. His scheduled release date is 2024.

A former DeKalb schools superintendent was arrested at his Elgin home today, accused of sending explicit photos of a person without consent.

Police executed an arrest warrant Thursday for former DeKalb schools superintendent Doug Moeller.

The district had placed Moeller on paid leave in the fall of 2016, shortly after a former principal sought an order of protection against him for alleged sexual harassment. He was dismissed the following April.

"US-Mexico border fence" by Flickr User sheilaahmadi / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Senate is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to reject a presidential call to send National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 33-22 Thursday to adopt a resolution urging the GOP governor not to comply if President Donald Trump makes a request.

Flickr user Tony Alter / "Nice Heels" (CC v 2.0)

About 100 people are expected to participate in this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Saturday in DeKalb. About a quarter of that number will be men walking that mile in high heels.

Registration is up from last year’s event. That’s according to Kendal Baker – she is a spokeswoman for Safe Passage, which is a domestic violence agency and rape crisis center in DeKalb County.

Baker says the main purpose of the nationwide event is to continue to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence, especially since this month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

photo provided by Rockford Police Dept

Rockford police say a search continues for the man charged in connection with the shooting deaths of three passengers on a party bus.

The Winnebago County coroner on Monday identified the victims of Saturday's shooting as 22-year-old Daijon Sistrunk, 24-year-old Martavies Blake, and 27-year-old Sean Anderson, all of Rockford.

The Rockford Police Department says Raheem D. King was on the bus with the victims at the time of the shooting. Police spokeswoman Laura Maher says an arrest warrant was issued for King by the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office.

realitybytes.niu.edu

This week is the 17th annual Reality Bytes film festival at Northern Illinois University.

  

 

Organizers say they've received more than 60 film submissions, which they will narrow down to around 20 to be viewed by the public.

 

The annual event is hosted by the NIU Department of Communication.

 

Organizer Tatianna Salisbury says there are some recurring themes in this year’s films.

 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

More than 20 students at a Rockford high school won’t have to leave the school to get paid as local credit union workers this fall.

What’s now a classroom next to the cafeteria soon will become a credit union within Guilford High School, according to Chris Magee, the college and career academy coach at GHS.

Magee says students also will help design the space and determine what type of work environment they want for this branch. She says the goal is to teach students financial literacy before they leave high school and to help them establish a relationship with a bank.

flickr/dankdepot

Illinois medical marijuana companies may have to deal in cash because the main bank serving them is withdrawing from the industry.

The Bank of Springfield informed cannabis clients last month it would close their accounts May 21, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"AR-15" by Flickr User Robert Freiberger / (CC X 2.0)

Members of the village board in the northern Chicago suburb of Deerfield have voted unanimously to ban certain semi-automatic firearms.

 

Wikipedia

The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has been linked to two deaths.

Federal prosecutors have charged 48-year-old Fouad Masoud and 44-year-old Jad Allah, both of suburban Justice, and 44-year-old Adil Khan Mohammed of Chicago with conspiring to distribute and sell a controlled substance. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic cannabinoids at Masoud's West Side Chicago store.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Illinois Commerce Commission plans to spend more than $194 million on safety-improvement projects for railroad crossings over the next five fiscal years.

Funding for these projects comes from the Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF), which was created to help counties, townships and municipalities pay for safety improvements at highway-railroad crossings on local roads and streets only.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

High school students in northern Illinois will soon have the opportunity to work at a credit union inside their school.

Rockford Bell Credit Union will open a branch inside Guilford High School this fall, the Rockford Register Star reports.

Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’s not seeing enough statewide progress in addressing the opioid addiction crisis.  

The Democratic senator visited Mercyhealth in Rockford Wednesday for a roundtable conversation with doctors, first responders, treatment specialists and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. 

Participants echoed a similar theme: they're strapped when it comes to finances to provide adequate services. 

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is suing his political committee and the state Democratic Party, alleging that reporting a top lieutenant for sexual harassment hindered her from advancing in the speaker's organization.

Alaina Hampton filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Democratic Party of Illinois, chaired by Madigan, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for "asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment."

Just Breathe 815

A conversation with his daughter about a year ago led one Rockford resident to create an organization helping hundreds of homeless teenagers in the area.

Kevin Ware says Just Breathe 815 started with a clothes-donation box after his daughter asked if there were any area groups that helped homeless teens specifically. Now, Ware says, the organization has helped about 500 teens and young adults in less than a year.

“And it’s crazy,” Ware said. “Like, from April to where we are today, it’s just crazy.”

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The first phase of the DeKalb Police Department’s Safe Streets Initiative begins this week. That means some residents will need to get parking permits from the city soon to avoid getting ticketed or towed.

DeKalb police officials say overall crime decreased in the city, but the actual number of shootings increased due to a recent string of incidents in areas close to the Northern Illinois University campus. Visitors now aren’t permitted to park along Russell Road and Crane Drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

WBEZ

Democrats say they will try to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill to require licenses for gun stores.

 

The vetoed legislation would have required gun stores to be licensed by the state. 

Rauner said Tuesday the measure would hurt small business owners and won't make communities safer. He called it "unnecessary, burdensome regulation."

Flickr User Jennifer Morrow / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a Medicaid funding plan that changes the way hospitals are reimbursed for treating low-income patients.

The Republican said Monday in Chicago that the proposal is a "major step forward" to ensure that hospitals in impoverished communities are adequately funded.

File Photo by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois state Comptroller Susana Mendoza wants to force governors to pay employees from their budgets instead of "off-shoring" them to other agencies.

The Democrat said Thursday that her legislation would end the practice by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and future executives of "hiding" employees on agency payrolls.

Past governors have done the same. Mendoza contends Rauner's official budget is $5 million and lists 44 employees. But with staff paid from other agencies, the number is $10.4 million and 102 staffers.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Legislation barring the use of taxpayer money to settle complaints of sexual harassment against legislators is moving to the House floor.

The Executive Committee OK'd the plan unanimously Wednesday.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A state audit found that Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office failed to collect more than $2 million in federal rebates.

The review released Tuesday found that the Governor's Office of Management and Budget never received $2.4 million in rebates owed for payments the state makes on bond debt.

Auditor General Frank Mautino found no evidence the office tried to collect the money. Five other receipts show Illinois left an additional $183,000 combined on the table.

The office is responsible for preparing the governor's annual state budget and tracking revenue and spending.

"AR-15" by Flickr User Robert Freiberger / (CC X 2.0)

Possession of assault-style weapons by anyone under 21 would be illegal under legislation that the Illinois House endorsed.

The plan sponsored by Democratic Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg would prohibit minors from buying or possessing high-capacity weapons, attachments, .50-caliber rifles and cartridges. They would have 90 days to transfer ownership.

The legislation was OK'd 64-51.

Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Public Media

Graduate student workers at the University of Illinois have gone on strike after 11 months of unsuccessful talks with administrators on a new contract.

Picket lines started Monday morning on the Urbana-Champaign campus, with a few hundred people gathering for a midday rally. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports some undergraduate classes were canceled or moved to buildings away from picketing.

Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

World-renowned oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle recently visited the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb.

The theater was packed for a showing of the documentary Mission Blue, which follows the TED Prize winner's personal mission to save the oceans from over-fishing and pollution. She says individuals need to be more aware of their actions.

“We should also again look in the mirror for every day things that we do and choices about what you eat, what you buy, and where you put your trash," Earle said.

NPR Illinois

Illinois officials have confirmed a fourth case of Legionnaires' disease at the Quincy veterans home in a week.

The Departments of Public Health and Veterans' Affairs announced late Tuesday that a resident has been diagnosed with the pneumonia-like malady.

It's the fourth case announced by state officials since Feb. 13. The illness caused by Legionella bacteria inhaled from water vapor first appeared in 2015 and has returned each year since.

Emily Reed/WNIJ

As the death toll climbs for opioid-related overdoses in Illinois, state leaders are looking for solutions. Advocates have highlighted a Whiteside County Clinic as a state leader in its outpatient drug rehabilitation program. WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks went to Rock Falls to tour the facility:

Whitney Miller is case manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment program - or MAT - at the Whiteside County Clinic.

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