Illinois | WGLT


Headlines from around the state, curated by the GLT newsroom. If you want more state news, listen to Illinois Public Radio's The 21st on Mondays-Thursdays at 11 a.m., and Statewide at 11 a.m. Fridays.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday signed into law a long-awaited $45 billion infrastructure plan.

The co-chairman of an effort to change the way Illinois draws legislative districts calls yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on redistricting disappointing - but isn’t giving up hope for change.

Brad McMillan is the executive director of Bradley University’s Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service and the co-chair of CHANGE Illinois. 

"We were hoping that they would come up with a constitutional standard on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, but they pretty much decided not to do that, and to leave it up to separate states," McMillan said. 

The Peoria community celebrated the opening of the Romain Arts and Culture  Community Center in the old Greeley School in the North Valley neighborhood today. 

Jonathon and Nikki Romain purchased the former school building last year to transform it into a hub for the arts, education, business, and community events. 

Nikki Romain said she hopes kids in Peoria take a lot away from the new community center. 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is cosponsoring legislation that would rollback one of the provisions of the 1994 crime bill. It’s called the Restoring Education and Learning Act— or REAL Act. The bill would restore Pell Grant eligibility to people incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

People have been leaving rural midwestern areas for decades. And it’s not just population loss. Often fresh food sellers move away too. There might be hope, though.

UnityPoint Health is planning to merge with Sanford Health of South Dakota. 

On this episode, while President Donald Trump has rejected the scientific evidence of climate change, nearly half of his voters — many in Midwestern states — believe in global warming. This bucks stereotypes about a rural voting bloc that doesn’t care about the environment. However, don't expect all of them to use the term "climate change."

Also, a major warehouse fire is believed to have destroyed thousands of original master recordings, including many from the legendary Chicago rock and blues label Chess Records.   We find out why that matters.  

That and more more on this week's Statewide.

Who should pay pension costs for Illinois teachers and school administrators? Currently, the state bears virtually all the cost, leaving the state’s 852 school districts free to negotiate benefits without worrying about the price tag. 

As Statewide listeners heard earlier this month, the education advocacy group called Stand For Children hopes to persuade lawmakers to shift pension costs to districts by integrating them in the new school funding formula. The group’s legislative director, Jessica Handy, calls that an “equity boost.”

This week, we bring you the response from the Illinois Education Association — the state’s largest teachers union — whose lobbyist, Will Lovett, spoke with our education reporter Dusty Rhodes.

Farming can be a lonely job. That isolation can take a toll on mental health.

OSF Behavioral Health Manager Luke Raymond said farmers face more stress due to pressure to maintain the family farm and economic factors like poor weather and uncertainty in the market. In rural areas, farmers have less access to resources to help them work through issues. 

“There are higher rates of depression, suicide and anxiety among that population," Raymond said.

The age to buy tobacco products in Illinois will officially be raised from 18 to 21 next week. Supporters say the move is aimed at stopping young people from starting a bad habit.

Bond for the man charged in the shooting death of a Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy is set at $5 million.

The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says if the party can frame the 2020 elections around health care, it can win some seats that Republicans have controlled for years.

Copyright 2019 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

After a years-long legal battle, the remains of Archbishop Fulton Sheen have been transferred from New York to Peoria.

The state of Illinois has a problem with its prison boot camps: too many empty beds.

The Department of Corrections runs two military-style programs in DuQuoin and Dixon Springs. But the facilities are at just 12 percent of capacity. Illinois lawmakers are trying to boost that number.

It’s rise and shine at 0530 hours for men in the DuQuoin Impact Incarceration Program.

By 0600, they’re outside doing drills — scissor kicks. jumping jacks, and pushups. Then it’s time for a mile-long “motivational” run.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board determined an energy company is responsible for contaminating groundwater with coal ash in four Illinois communities. 

When it comes to the battle against distracted driving, Illinois is taking it up a notch.   

Illinois lawmakers plan to ask state prison officials why more than 200 books were removed from a colle

The suspect in the slaying of a Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy was arrested Wednesday morning.

A Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy is dead after he was shot in an armed standoff near Avon on Tuesday afternoon.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana. That makes the state the 11th to approve recreational use.

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) is hailing today’s  passage of a recreational cannabis bill into law.

A budget. Recreational cannabis. Gambling expansion. The Illinois General Assembly passed a sweeping slate of bills in the final days of this year’s legislative session. 

A report released today by the Illinois State Board of Education shows most kindergarteners in the state start school unprepared. The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, known by the acronym KIDS, has teachers observe their students during the first 40 days of school to assess math, language and literacy, plus social and emotional readiness. 

Similar to last year’s survey, the results show only 26 percent of students are ready in all three areas. Almost 40 percent failed to demonstrate readiness in any of the three developmental areas.

The city of Pekin is tackling human trafficking with new regulations on Asian bodywork parlors. 

A buyer has been found for the old Maytag plant in Galesburg. 

Real estate firm Phoenix Investors purchased the 855,000 square foot facility on South Linwood and the 462,000 square foot space on Monmouth Boulevard. 

The company purchases old industrial properties and rehabilitates them for new usage. 

Ken Springer, President of the Knox County Partnership for Economic Development, said it is likely the facilities will be used for transportation, warehousing or logistics, although theoretically, the buildings could return to manufacturing usage, as well. 

UnityPoint Health is eliminating birthing services at Pekin Hospital.

A hospital spokesperson said more women are choosing to make the drive to Peoria to deliver their babies, leading to declines in Pekin. 

Low-income college students in Illinois got some good news today. The state's Monetary Award Program — which provides MAP grants to help pay for tuition — will be able to give more grants with more money, thanks to the largest appropriation in the fund’s history.

Lynne Baker, with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, says the agency approved a new formula that will boost grants by an average of $220 and cover at least 6,700 more students.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Monday at the federal death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student who killed a visiting scholar from China after abducting her at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

Opioid use is on the rise in Illinois. In response, the General Assembly adopted a plan to create a statewide needle exchange.

The measure calls for a  new community-based needle exchange programs, which the Illinois Department of Public Health would have to sanction.