Illinois

Thomson Prison Inches Closer Toward Fully Opening

Feb 8, 2017

The main facility is getting a makeover, and its minimum security work camp is currently housing inmates.

That's according to Thomson Village President Vicky Trager.

The process of making the maximum-security federal prison fully functional has been a long road. 

Illinois built the facility in 2001, but didn’t have enough funds to keep it running, so the federal Bureau of Prisons purchased it in 2012 and took over renovations.  

Trager says officials are working on security upgrades and filling job positions.

A lawsuit has been filed in a southern Illinois court against the company that managed the Illinois Lottery.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that the lawsuit filed in St. Clair County alleged Northstar Lottery Group defrauded businesses that sold scratch-off tickets and the individuals who bought them.

The lawsuit comes after a Chicago Tribune story that found that the private company pulled scratch-off game tickets from stores before all had been sold and before all the grand prizes had been awarded.

"Fire Hose" by Flickr User Ian Carroll / (CC X 2.0)

Small communities throughout Illinois are having trouble recruiting and retaining volunteers at their local fire departments.

The State Journal-Register reports that 70 percent of fire departments in Illinois are volunteers. Springfield is the only community in Sangamon County with an all full-time fire department.

The Illinois Fire Chief's Association has been offering seminars over the past few years to help departments recruit new members. The seminars are covered by a $1.3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

State of Illinois

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says the way to settle the controversy over state-employee pay is to approve a state budget.

The Chicago Democrat spoke to the City Club of Chicago Monday. He urged support for a compromise budget plan that includes appropriations for worker pay.

He says the Senate will take up the package this week after failing to OK it in January.

Feuding between Legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has prevented a budget agreement since July 2015.

"PUMPKIN PIE FROM A *REAL* PUMPKIN" BY FLICKR USER BROWNIESFORDINNER / (CC BY 2.0)

A bill proposed in the Illinois Senate would get rid of state symbols, such as the state bird, flower and state animal, among many others.

The State Journal-Register reports that Republican Sen. Tom Rooney of Rolling Meadows proposed the bill. He says too many state symbols has decreased the value of the ``important'' ones.

Rooney's legislation would only keep the state flag, seal, motto and song.

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