News

Illinois Republican Congressman Peter Roskam has told the White House he opposes a Trump administration proposal to eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  Roskam has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing the administration's proposed elimination of the initiative, calling proposed cuts completely unacceptable. Trump in March proposed cutting funding to the EPA by 30%.

Senate Democrats are paring back on the services that would be subject for the first time to the Illinois sales tax.  The Revenue Committee discussed changes to a revenue measure that's not been called on the Senate floor. 

Illinois will receive over $1.2 million from an $18.5 million multi-state settlement with Target Corp. to resolve a probe into the discounter's pre-Christmas data breach in 2013.  Target's breach, which occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 of 2013, affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. 

An investigation conducted by two news outlets found that red-light cameras acquired nearly $67 million last year for 86 Chicago suburbs and the companies that operate the lights.  Nearly 90 Chicago suburbs have red-light cameras sending out more than 770,000 tickets a year.  From the 10 suburbs with the highest revenue totals, nine have contracts with Chicago-based SafeSpeed LLC. 

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Democrats in the Illinois Senate are preparing to go it alone on a budget plan. On Tues. morning, they’re set to consider both spending cuts and tax increases. 

Officials say they're changing mowing routes along interstates to help protect dwindling populations of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.  Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the agency is one of the state's biggest landowners and has a responsibility to "act as steward of the environment."

The state of Illinois is urging farmers and others who use or produce pesticides and other agrichemicals to save the containers to be recycled.  The Department of Agriculture says it plans to collect the containers in July and August. They will be recycled to make products such as fence posts, shipping pallets and plastic lumber. 

Cleve Heidelberg Released After 47 Years

May 22, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

When Cleve Heidelberg woke up in his jail cell Monday morning, he didn’t know he’d be stepping outside hours later in civilian clothing. In fact, Heidelberg was notified just minutes before that he’d be released, for the first time in 47 years.

Lawyers for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have asked for another hearing before the same three-judge panel that affirmed his 14-year prison sentence last month.  Blagojevich's attorney petitioned the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday to rehear his case. 

The state is again racking up unpaid utility bills for its Springfield offices. City Water, Light and Power spokeswoman Amber Sabin says Illinois owes about $3.5 million in past-due payments.  The state was as much as $12 million behind on its electricity and water bills last year.  

University officials in Illinois and the United Arab Emirates have signed a deal to let students study at schools in both places and get engineering degrees.  The University of Illinois' new program with the American University of Ras Al Khaima allows engineering students to get a bachelor's degree from the school in UAE and a master's from Illinois.

An investigation has determined that a suburban Chicago college student was not paying attention to the hammer throw at a track and field meet last month when he was struck and killed by an errant throw. 

onechi.org

Chicago has launched a campaign hailing the contribution of immigrants amid a harder line taken by President Donald Trump on immigration issues.  The campaign is called "One Chicago." Its stated aim is to assure immigrants they're welcome in the nation's third largest city. 

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Officials of a 30-year-old housing agency, originally intended to stop white flight in northwest Chicago, say it's seeing renewed interest, partly due to anxiety about a proposed apartment complex.  The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program launched in the 1980s. It allows members to get property appraisals and pays for shortfalls when owners sell their houses, as long as they lived there at least five years.

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The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline and a feeder line leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in North Dakota in March.  A state Health Department database shows 84 gallons spilled at a pipeline terminal in Watford City March 3. Dakota Access developer Energy Transfer Partners says the line is operated by a connecting shipper.

Heavy rainfall across much of Illinois late last month has left many corn farmers wondering what will become of their crops.  Most of the corn has been planted around the state but there is a concern that the flooding of some fields caused by more than a foot of rain, particularly in southern Illinois, will force them to replant their fields.  

A new partnership between the Chicago Department of Public Health and community providers has already served 3,600 people living with HIV.  The department partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Harvard Brown Health to provide four times as many individuals with HIV treatment services in its first year.

Authorities have charged a suburban man with arson after he allegedly started a fire at a hospital on Chicago's South Side.  23-year-old Marcus L. Allen of Harvey is charged with one felony count of aggravated arson.  The fire happened Thursday night at Jackson Park Hospital. 

Two judges in Illinois say a new pilot program aimed at ensuring minorities are well represented in local jury pools will be "revolutionary."  

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The daughter of a World War II veteran who died 47 years ago has finally received her father’s Purple Heart.

Dave Dunford / Wikimedia Commons

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - The city of East Peoria is donating items to Habitat for Humanity that were salvaged from seven households that were condemned following landslides four years ago.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate's "grand bargain" budget compromise comes down to three pieces of legislation.  

Democratic State Senator Andy Manar, of Bunker Hill, is accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of trying to kill his school funding legislation. He says the administration fed erroneous information to a Republican operative's website.  The story appears in the Kankakee Times, one of a dozen community news organizations created by Dan Proft.  Proft runs a political action committee supported by Rauner.

Illinois 6 Months Late Paying Medicaid Providers

May 19, 2017

Two dozen doctors and health care organizations are taking the state of Illinois to court for not paying Medicaid providers fast enough.  And in a new court filing, the state argues it’s out of money.  A federal judge has ruled Illinois HAS to pay for Medicaid even if there’s no state budget.  

Prosecutors say a retired federal law enforcement agent told investigators he shot an Amtrak train conductor because he wasn't allowed to de-board in suburban Chicago.  Edward Klein appeared in bond court on attempted murder and aggravated battery charges. DuPage County prosecutors say the 79-year-old was ordered held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

Chicago Public Schools plans to take out a $389 million short-term loan to get the financially struggling district through the end of the school year and make a pension payment due next month.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the plan Friday. His appointed school board will vote on it Wednesday.

Flickr Creative Commons/Kiran Foster

Illinois is set to eliminate the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases through legislation passed with support from a victim of imprisoned former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert.  The Illinois House unanimously approved the measure on Thursday, sending it to a supportive Gov. Bruce Rauner.   Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Hastert's case provided a prime example of why the law should be changed. 

This week, we're talking with cellist Patrice Jackson and David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. The HFO's next concert is called "New World." It features music by Dvorak, Carl Maria von Weber and American composer David Popper. Jackson is the featured soloist for this performance. She talks about her own arrangement of Bruno Mars' 24K Magic," which she'll perform with the orchestra. She also talks about her wide-ranging musical pursuits, and how she encourages a similar versatility in her students.

Obama White House / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Legislature in Barack Obama's home state has decided to honor the 44th president's birthday.

University of Minnesota

A Peoria writer is coming home this weekend to discuss her first book that centers on black female representation in the US.

Terrion Williamson, a South Side native and graduate of Manual Academy, wrote the cultural critique “Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life.” The book analyzes pop culture, literature -- and it even includes narratives about growing up in Peoria. 

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