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Capitol News

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs public safety measures creating mental health co-responder program

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs public safety measures creating mental health co-responder program

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4736 into law Tuesday, May 10, in Peoria, one of the four communities that will be part of a co-responder pilot program that aims to send social workers and mental health professionals on law enforcement calls. The others are Waukegan, Springfield and East…

Pilot program to send mental health professionals with law officers in 4 Illinois communities

Pilot program to send mental health professionals with law officers in 4 Illinois communities

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Police departments in four communities in Illinois will be part of a co-responder pilot program that aims to send social workers and mental health professionals on law enforcement calls. That was part of House Bill 4736, a measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. JB Pritzker…

Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White named to replace Justice Garman

Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White named to replace Justice Garman

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that 4th District Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White has been appointed to succeed Justice Rita Garman, making her the first Black woman to serve on the state’s high court. “Being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court is the honor of…

Garman to retire from state Supreme Court, setting up appointment to replace her

Garman to retire from state Supreme Court, setting up appointment to replace her

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Republican Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman announced Monday that she will retire on July 7, marking the end of a long legal career that has included 48 years as a jurist. She would have been up for retention this year, but the timing of her…

DCFS director: ‘Stuck kids’ docket a problem years in the making

DCFS director: ‘Stuck kids’ docket a problem years in the making

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith has faced nine cases of contempt of court in recent weeks for failing to comply with a judge’s order to place the state’s most vulnerable children in an appropriate setting. In a recent interview with Capitol News…

ANALYSIS: Where does the GOP governor field stand on abortion?

ANALYSIS: Where does the GOP governor field stand on abortion?

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] Perhaps the biggest news affecting state government this week came not from Springfield but from Washington, D.C. That news was an unprecedented leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade. That case’s precedent protects access to…

UPDATED: Fitch, S&P announce Illinois credit ratings upgrades

UPDATED: Fitch, S&P announce Illinois credit ratings upgrades

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Fitch Ratings on Thursday raised the state of Illinois’ rating for general obligation bonds two notches, to BBB+, while S&P Global Ratings on Friday upgraded state bonds by one notch. That means all three major credit rating agencies have updated Illinois credit by two notches in…

Ceremony honors officers killed in the line duty

Ceremony honors officers killed in the line duty

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – As rain steadily fell in Springfield Thursday morning, there was a somber feeling among the law enforcement officers and elected officials that gathered at the Illinois State Library to honor 11 fallen officers killed in the line of duty in 2021. “I have a heavy heart…

Audit finds IDPH failed to intervene in early days of LaSalle Veterans' Home outbreak

Audit finds IDPH failed to intervene in early days of LaSalle Veterans’ Home outbreak

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A new report from the state’s auditor general found more fault with the Illinois Department of Public Health in its response to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans home than was found by a previous watchdog report that investigated the matter. A November 2020…

Fitch raises Illinois credit rating two notches

Fitch raises Illinois credit rating two notches

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Fitch Ratings on Thursday raised the state of Illinois’ rating for general obligation bonds two notches, to BBB+, making it the second rating agency to do so in recent weeks and marking the fourth time the state has received a credit upgrade in the last year.…

CAPITOL RECAP: Lawmakers react to leaked draft abortion decision

CAPITOL RECAP: Lawmakers react to leaked draft abortion decision

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats warned of an “end to the constitutional right to privacy” if a leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade becomes finalized as precedent. “It means women who lose access to the full suite of medical advances…

Illinois has tangled history with abortion despite recent liberal push

Illinois has tangled history with abortion despite recent liberal push

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A leaked draft of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision that could overturn the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade reignited a political debate over whether access to abortion is a constitutional right or something that can be regulated by the states. The draft opinion was…

Illinois lawmakers respond to leaked Supreme Court abortion decision

Illinois lawmakers respond to leaked Supreme Court abortion decision

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats warned of an “end to the constitutional right to privacy” if a leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade becomes finalized as precedent. “It means women who lose access to the full suite…

Pritzker signs bills aimed at easing teacher shortage amid data suggesting progress

Pritzker signs bills aimed at easing teacher shortage amid data suggesting progress

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Wednesday aimed at easing the state’s shortage of teachers and other education professionals, even as a new report shows Illinois just added a record number of new teachers to its ranks. Speaking in the library of Springfield High…

$309 million available through federally-funded mortgage assistance program

$309 million available through federally-funded mortgage assistance program

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker was joined by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and local elected officials in Chicago Friday to promote the Illinois Emergency Homeowner Assistance Fund for struggling homeowners. Overseen by IHDA, the emergency assistance fund is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act and…

‘Stuck kids’ docket details challenges for DCFS wards in improper placements

‘Stuck kids’ docket details challenges for DCFS wards in improper placements

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The weekly docket for children who are wards of the state and waiting for placements recommended by the Department of Children and Family Services after an assessment of their needs took place as scheduled Thursday in Cook County. It’s the docket that has spawned nine contempt…

Educators push back against testing requirements

Educators push back against testing requirements

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Teachers and other education professionals are urging the Illinois State Board of Education to reduce the amount of time students spend on standardized tests each year and to adopt a new testing system that produces more useful information to help teachers improve their instruction. “One thing…

ANALYSIS: Supreme Court denies ex-Bear Richard Dent’s efforts to identify accusers

ANALYSIS: Supreme Court denies ex-Bear Richard Dent’s efforts to identify accusers

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] Richard Dent won’t be able to learn the names of the people who accused him of sexual harassment and drunken disorderly conduct in 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled last week. The former Chicago Bear, Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and 1986 Super Bowl MVP had sought the identities of…

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs bills aimed at making teacher licensure easier

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs bills aimed at making teacher licensure easier

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Wednesday, April 27, aimed at easing the state’s shortage of teachers and other education professionals, even as a new report shows Illinois just added a record number of new teachers to its ranks. Speaking in the library of Springfield High School…

Rivian R1T truck named ‘Coolest Thing’ made in Illinois

Rivian R1T truck named ‘Coolest Thing’ made in Illinois

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Rivian’s all-electric R1T truck is 2022’s “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.” That was the result of the third annual Makers Madness bracket-style tournament hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association which allows Illinoisans to vote for the “coolest” product made in the state. This year’s winner was…

Pritzker signs bills aimed at easing teacher shortage amid data suggesting progress

Pritzker signs bills aimed at easing teacher shortage amid data suggesting progress

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Wednesday aimed at easing the state’s shortage of teachers and other education professionals, even as a new report shows Illinois just added a record number of new teachers to its ranks. Speaking in the library of Springfield High…

Highway camera expansion covering 6,600 miles of road in 22 counties awaits Pritzker’s signature

Highway camera expansion covering 6,600 miles of road in 22 counties awaits Pritzker’s signature

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A pair of bills on Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk would expand a state roadway camera monitoring program to 21 additional counties while also expanding the number of crimes the cameras can be used to investigate and the number of parties that can prosecute them. The measures…

Pritzker appoints rejected Prisoner Review Board member to labor board

Pritzker appoints rejected Prisoner Review Board member to labor board

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] Former Illinois Prisoner Review Board member Jeffrey Mears, who failed to receive confirmation for that post from the Illinois Senate last month, has been appointed to the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Gov. JB Pritzker made that appointment Thursday, setting Mears up to face another Senate vote in the…

DCFS director faces 9th contempt charge for improper placements

DCFS director faces 9th contempt charge for improper placements

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] A Cook County judge found DCFS Director Marc Smith in contempt on Thursday. It’s the ninth time this year that Smith has faced contempt citations for failing to place children in settings that comply with the agency’s recommendations and court orders. The latest case involves a 15-year-old boy…

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Local News

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CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

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OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. (Supplied photos)

OLHMS showcases student artwork

By Kelly White Students in the Oak Lawn community proudly showcased their artists talents last month. More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. “When I went to…

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Palos South Middle School students recognized for Say Something Week Campaign

From staff reports Students in the Palos South Middle School Save Promise Club have been recognized by the non-profit organization Sandy Hook Promise for their efforts to create a more inclusive school environment. The students were recently named one of the winners of the 2022 Say Something Week Award for their week-long campaign in March…

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Library Briefs

PALOS PARK Rescheduled: An Evening with Michelle Zauner (Virtual) Join us for an evening with musician and author Michelle Zauner as she discusses her music career and her beloved bestselling memoir, “Crying in H Mart.” Music critic and producer Jessica Hopper joins her in conversation from 7-8 p.m. Monday, May 30. Register online through the calendar. Morse Code Bracelet…

The fifth concert, “ScribbleMonster: Camp Creativity” was designed to follow the Summer Reading Challenge theme, Read Beyond the Beaten Path, and it will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. (Supplied photo)

Orland Park Library announces 5 free concerts for the summer

From staff reports Orland Park Public Library announced this week that five free concerts will be performed for residents at the library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave. Three concerts are for families and two are intended for an adult audience. “The library has a long tradition of offering concerts during the summer on the weekends,” said…

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Coffee with a Cop in Palos Park

Palos Park police are again asking residents to join them for a cup of joe at “Coffee With A Cop” at the Plush Horse, 12301 S. 86th Avenue. On May 12, residents were encouraged to bring their public safety concerns and stop by for a cup of coffee and to chat with officers Kevin Green…

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