News

Visitation For Cardinal George Begins Tuesday

Apr 17, 2015
Chicago archdiocese

Public visitation for former Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George, who died in his home Friday at the age of 78 following a long battle with cancer, will begin at 2:30 p.m.Tuesday in Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral.

Funeral services will be held at noon Thursday, according to an announcement from the archdiocese. A ticket will be required to attend the funeral.

George will be buried in the family plot at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

Illinois Cuts The Line On Help To Quit Smoking

Apr 17, 2015

Twenty-seven people are out of a job at Illinois' Tobacco Quitline ... which means there's no one left to answer the phone.

For the past 15 years, Illinois smokers could dial 1-866-QUIT-YES, and a tobacco treatment counselor or nurse would answer.

Try calling now, and you get the mechanical recorded voice:

"Your call is important to us. Unfortunately, Quitline funding has been suspended due to budget cuts and we will be closed until further notice."

It was an abrupt end. Supporters say they had little financial wiggle room.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Next Thursday evening, April 24, the NIU School of Music hosts a program featuring the berimbau.  An original cycle of music for the Afro-Brazilian instrument ranging from solos to sextets will be performed.

Greg Beyer is the director of the NIU Percussion program. Beyer is also director the ensemble Projeto Arcomusical.  The group's six members all play the berimbau, which resembles a long bow with a round gourd in the middle.  

Jenna Dooley

Glass, puzzle pieces, even a domino sit in piles on a farm on Irene Road in Kirkland, just outside of Fairdale.

Trucks loaded with broken bricks and concrete make trips along a normally busy road, but it’s their turf now going back and forth.

It’s the reality of one week after a storm.

Carissa Brendle’s father-in-law saw the twister coming, so he headed down to the basement of his newly built home and called his son who lived nearby.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois schools were not spared from the recent state budget cuts. But a $97 million fund was established to help the most cash-strapped districts pay their bills until the end of the school year.

Schools that qualify have limited local resources, a higher concentration of low-income students and very little cash on hand.

Robert Wolfe, who is the chief financial officer of the state school board, says the last minute cuts will affect every school district.

ILGA.gov

It can take a decade or more for the FDA to approve a new medicine, but a measure in the Illinois House is meant to help people who can't wait that long.

Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat from Chicago, says for people who have been told they have just a short time to live, it could be a ray of hope. 

"It's the last, best hope for some of our constituents," Harris said. "I'm very proud to carry it. I'm proud to give this hope to people who have no place else to turn."

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been traveling the state to promote his so-called "Turnaround Agenda." 

It calls for sweeping changes to unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, limits on where lawsuits can be filed, and the creation of right-to-work zones. 

It's a huge agenda. But so far, it hasn't been introduced in a way that legislators can debate or vote on.

Rauner says bills are ready. Here’s what he said during a recent editorial board appearance:

"We will introduce those when the leaders say we should introduce 'em."

Former Oakland California school superintendent Anthony “Tony” Smith has been selected as the new Illinois Superintendent of Education.

The Illinois State Board of Education made the change unanimously at Wednesday’s meeting, replacing current Superintendent Christopher Koch, effective May 1.

Koch, whose contract expired earlier this year, remained on the job at the request of the state board. One of the longest serving state superintendents in the nation, he has been in the post since December 2006 and has overseen changes to testing and teacher evaluations.

Tim Nuding LinkedIn profile

Social service agencies are reeling from sudden budget cuts. But more could be on the way.

Some Democrats say they were taken off guard when, two weeks after legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner passed a law to handle the budget through June, Rauner's administration said certain programs would be cut off.

Grants for a quit-smoking hotline, support for autistic kids and funding for a teen after-school program were all eliminated. In some cases, workers have been laid off, and services were discontinued.

Flickr user Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / "School of Jumping Silver Carp" (CC BY 2.0)

Asian carp, an invasive species in northern Illinois, may be declining. That eases the concern of them spreading into the Great Lakes.

But the area’s not out of the woods yet.

Matt O’Hara, an Asian carp project leader for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says the carp can ruin the ecosystems in the Illinois River and its tributaries. That’s because they eat the same food that other native species – such as big-mouth bass – live on.

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