U.S. Reps. Bustos & Davis Voice Hopes For More Illinois-Cuba Trade

Oct 16, 2015
Office of Rep. Rodney Davis

Two U. S. House members from Illinois are praising the possibilities of future trade with Cuba after returning from an agricultural trade trip to the island nation.

Rodney Davis, 13th District Republican from Taylorville, says the trip boosted his hopes for opening an office in Cuba for the Illinois Cuba Working Group, which organized the trade mission. Chicago food exporter Paul Johnson launched the Working Group to expedite trade between Cuba and Illinois’ agricultural sector.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

The lack of an Illinois budget means public pension systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks.

However, there could still be an impact.

The funds get money from members, the state and in the case of the Teachers Retirement System, school districts.

Dave Urbanek is the TRS spokesman. He says another key is investment income. But some of those investments, like stocks and bonds, might have to be liquidated in order to send out future checks.

Illinois Lottery

More Illinois Lottery prizewinners won't be able to reap their rewards immediately. The Lottery says claims will be paid only once a budget is passed.

The Illinois Lottery website has a press release, dated Aug. 13, 2015. It quotes Homer Glen resident Rhonda Rasche, who'd won $50,000 on a Crossword ticket, exclaiming "This is amazing! I can't believe it's happening to me!"

Rasche is still waiting on the cash, and is suing the state to get it.


Some officials at public universities in Illinois are at least floating the idea of taking legal action against the governor and the Illinois legislature over the absence of a state budget.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz says it's not likely that will happen, but admitted some educators are considering going to court.

"Some of the institutions are looking at this as a possibility, though we don't think it's a high probability," Dietz said.

DeKalb Mosque Officially Open To Public

Oct 14, 2015
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A DeKalb mosque is now officially fully functional and open to the public. That follows a soft opening about a month ago. 

This project was a long time coming. That’s according to Saad Ali, president of the Northern Illinois University Muslim Student Association.

“Now, since we have our own place, we can do all the events,” Ali said. “We don’t have to worry about booking or renting someplace to do our prayers, events and whatnot. So now we have an official place we can have all our stuff over there.”

Major League Baseball

The Chicago Cubs clinched a postseason series yesterday at their home field for the first time ever.

They will face the Los Angeles Dodgers or the New York Mets on Saturday in the National League Championship Series. The Mets currently have a 2-1 lead.

The Cubs last reached the NLCS in 2003, when they lost in seven games to the Florida Marlins. Chicago dropped those last two games at home, including the infamous Steve Bartman defeat in Game 6.

However, former Cubs player Moises Alou has previously admitted he wouldn't have caught that foul ball, anyway.


The chair of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board isn’t holding out a lot of hope for some conditions to be approved for treatment with the drug, even after endorsing them a second time.

The list of eight recommended in the panel’s meeting last week included post-traumatic stress disorder and osteoarthritis.

Weeks before, Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah rejected those conditions, and nine others, while Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill supporting cannabis treatment for PTSD. 

state of Illinois

The Illinois budget gridlock continues four months into the fiscal year. Downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C.D. Davidsmeyer. He says he has his theories of when the General Assembly will negotiate a state budget.

Davidsmeyer says that would likely mean it will be worked out in December at the very earliest. He says little is happening that oculd move the situation toward compromise.

Amanda Vinicky

Another lawsuit over a pension law was filed this week in Illinois, this time seeking to strike a law that reduced Chicago Park District pensions. That could be significant for other local governments, and future negotiations.

When it first passed, the park district pension law was seen as a possible model for future ones. That's partially because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

The llinois Department of Transportation may be wrapping up its busy construction season, but the upcoming winter will mean more repairs for road crews to work on next summer. But that depends on getting a state budget in place first.

A lot of money for road construction comes from a separate fund than what's being debated in Springfield right now in the months-long budget stalemate. But some money comes from the same pot of cash that many human services and other state programs are vying for.