State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Chicago plans to dedicate a nine-story mural to blues music legend Muddy Waters before the city's annual blues festival this weekend.

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for killing six coyote puppies.

A union representing hundreds of Chicago taxi drivers wants the city to ease vehicle restrictions, waive a tax and eliminate a fee to help what they call a struggling industry.

Federal officials say they're providing free summer meals for school children at numerous sites across Illinois. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that there will be a kickoff event for the program on June 23 at a Chicago city park. 

The planet Mars may have been wetter than previously thought, according to a new study led by a Northern Illinois University geography professor and released Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

Illinois' two Democratic U.S. senators are taking steps to ensure they have a voice in choosing the state's new U.S. attorneys. 

A federal appeals court again has rejected a request from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for a rehearing on his request for another resentencing.

At least two incidents of drones found near a Chicago-area airport have prompted alerts and warnings.

Erosion along shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago's northern suburbs has been an issue for decades, but new research indicates it could be accelerating.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to deny requests from former Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock to throw out his corruption case. Prosecutors say Schock's reasons for dismissing the charges against him are "meritless." They made their argument in a filing in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Weather experts say data show Illinois had a cool and rainy May this year. Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel says the statewide average temperature during May was 61.9 degrees. That's eight-tenths of a degree below normal.

The Miller Park Zoo in central Illinois is seeing increased attendance and revenue for the second year in a row.

Springfield businesses and a union have committed $35,000 to fund a summer jobs program for youth in an effort to address a spike in violence. Mayor Jim Langfelder announced the initiative. He was joined by at least three-dozen local elected officials along with community leaders, businesses and labor union representatives.

A Chicago hotel and restaurant workers union has created a cell phone ringtone that's meant to curb arrest and deportation of immigrants.

Rockford has 1.3 billion gallons of water it cannot account for each year. City workers will embark this week on the second year of a program to reduce water loss.

Authorities have hailed a northern Illinois man a hero after he jumped through the open window of a moving car to save the driver, who was having a seizure. 

The nonprofit foundation designed to help upkeep Illinois' fairgrounds plans on selling naming rights to state fair buildings to help pay for improvements.

Three years after Illinois changed how science would be taught and tested, performance data still isn't available because schools haven't seen science exam scores. Illinois officials say that science testing and scoring hasn't gone smoothly, largely due to state budget woes.

Illinois lawmakers last week approved a sweeping overhaul of the way the state funds public schools. Mainly Democrats supported the plan, but the top Republican co-sponsor chose not to vote at all.

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

 

About 75 protesters showed up at Congressman Rodney Davis’ Champaign office Friday afternoon for his “office hour” meetings with constituents.

The turnout was smaller than the Taylorville Republican’s round of closed-door meetings with individuals and small groups three weeks ago. But the demonstrators made enough noise, chanting “Town Hall!”, “Bring Rodney Out!” and other slogans that the congressman’s office neighbors complained.

A former legislator has filed a lawsuit in Cook County seeking to recover money he lost when state lawmakers voted to reject annual cost-of-living pay adjustments. Michael Noland, a Democratic former state senator from Elgin, filed the lawsuit. He says the state constitution prohibits midterm salary changes. 

An exhibition of two of Chicago's great creations will officially open Friday at the Illinois State Museum. The exhibition is called "Kings and Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago." The exhibit runs through Aug. 19.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation prohibiting the Illinois Department of Corrections from hiring private healthcare workers. Rauner vetoed the measure Friday. He says it's unnecessary because his administration signed an agreement May 22 with the Illinois Nurses Association about subcontracting for nurses.

A 30-year-old woman suffered a medical emergency and died during a cosmetic procedure at a medical clinic in Florida. Lattia Baumeister of Rock Island, Illinois, died while undergoing an unidentified procedure at Seduction by Jardon's Medical Center in Doral.

A search is on for $500,000 in jewelry stolen from a traveling artisan attending a suburban Chicago arts show. Police in St. Charles are saying the stolen jewelry included gold and silver, as well as rubies and emeralds.

Volunteer organizations around Illinois will be getting more than $15 million in federal grant money. U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois announced that the additional funding for 16 Illinois-based AmeriCorps organizations will come from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would raise phone fees for 911 services and allow AT&T to disconnect traditional landlines.

Officials in the Chicago suburb of Naperville say repairs to a 160-foot-tall tower that houses a carillon could cost upwards of $3.8 million. An assessment released of Moser Tower found that the tower's structural steel is beginning to corrode, its precast concrete is cracking and the concrete's mortar joints are facing deterioration. Officials say repairs will be needed in the coming years.

Illinois Department of Public Health data show opioids contributed to nearly 1,200 overdose deaths in the state in 2016. There were about 3 million Schedule II opioid patients in Illinois annually from 2008 through 2016.

A day after the Illinois General Assembly ended it’s spring session without passing a budget, two bond rating agencies have downgraded the state’s credit.

The actions, by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, leave state government debt just one step above “junk” status.

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