— IDPH: 42 Illinois counties remain ‘high’ risk for COVID-19; weekly deaths plummet, by Shaw Local.
— Illinois Coronavirus Updates: COVID Rebound, Medications, Contagiousness, by NBC 5 Chicago.
— CPS students head back to class after a short summer as district aims for ‘recovery year,’ by The Chicago Tribune.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources task force announces State Water Plan public meetings
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) State Water Plan task force will host three public meetings to discuss the state’s ongoing efforts to identify critical water issues facing Illinois and recommend solutions.
In each meeting, members of the task force will unveil the draft report, provide a brief report overview, and describe the feedback and review process.
The meetings are hybrid and will take place on August 24, 25 and 29. More information about meeting dates, times, and locations can be found here.
AROUND THE STATE
— Gov. Pritzker Announces Sixteen Appointments to Boards, Commissions, and Authorities: On Friday, Governor Pritzker announced appointments to the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Board of Trustees, the Illinois Racing Board, the Illinois Finance Authority, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Arbitrators, and the Illinois Criminal Justice and Information Authority.
— Pritzker Administration Announces All First Round Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Dispensary Licenses Have Been Issued: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Friday issued three additional Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses to applicants selected in lotteries held in the summer of 2021,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.
— State Police tight-lipped as lawmakers try to clarify how agency handled police report about Highland Park shooter: “Lawmakers are demanding more answers from the Illinois State Police on how they handled a clear and present danger report by Highland Park Police about the Independence Day parade gunman Bobby Crimo,” by The Daily Line.
— Historically a place to observe Illinois’ diversity, the state fairgrounds this year became a showcase of divisive politics: “This year’s edition of the fair, which closed Sunday, featured another example of Illinois’ diversity — the state’s factious politics where anger and tolerance met in the state’s capital amid harsh election-year rhetoric and an ever-widening partisan divide,” by The Chicago Tribune.
— Application period open for Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants for park projects: “A long-standing grant program that helps communities cover the cost of local park development will offer up to 100% funding assistance for distressed communities for the first time in the history of the program. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 30 for the next round of state-funded Open Space Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, grants,” by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
— New Student Loan Repayment Program Launches for Community Behavioral Health Care Professionals: “The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has launched the application for a student loan repayment assistance program to support qualified mental health and substance abuse professionals. The Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program is designed as an incentive for recruitment and retention of those who practice in underserved or rural areas.”
Chicago election officials to cut number of voting precincts ahead of November election
Chicago’s new election map will see a nearly 40% reduction in the number of voting precincts before the midterm election in November.
Last year, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation reducing the number of precincts in an effort to address the rising costs of election operations as well as the changing behavior of voters who are increasingly voting early or by mail. Officials with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said the changes are expected to save as much as $2 million.
Ami Gandhi, a senior counsel for voting rights with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, expressed concerns about voter accessibility, saying “we are very critical about any effort to reduce in-person polling place access, which is one of the effects of the closures that we saw in June.”
With the new map finalized, the board plans to announce new polling place locations or confirm existing ones before the start of early voting on September 29.
MORE FROM CITY HALL
— Candidates prepare to run for first-ever district councils created under police oversight ordinance: “Next year, Chicago voters for the first time will elect members of district councils to represent them based on the police district in which they live. The three-member district councils across the city’s 22 police districts were created under the civilian oversight ordinance (SO2019-4132) aldermen approved last year, establishing Chicago’s first-ever citywide commission meant to provide oversight of the Chicago Police Department,” by The Daily Line.
— As schools reopen Monday, CPS struggles to fill key jobs: “Most of the more than 500 new interventionist positions created to help kids recover from pandemic learning loss haven’t been filled, CPS data shows,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.
— Here’s the state of the 2023 Chicago mayoral race: “In the race for Chicago Mayor, there’s plenty of work going on behind the scenes right now. Starting next Tuesday, candidates can begin circulating petitions to get the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. And with over half-a-dozen challengers to Mayor Lori Lightfoot so far–and a handful more playing a “will-they-or-won’t-they” game–things are sure to get wild between now and the November 28 deadline to qualify for the February 2023 election,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.
— Chicago Police Board fires cop accused of choking suspect during arrest — five months after judge acquitted him of charges: “The Chicago Police Board has voted to fire an officer accused of beating and choking a man during an arrest even though a judge found him not guilty of the charges earlier this year,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.
— Chicago Air and Water Show persists through rain and late director’s absence: ‘Seeing this, it gives me joy’: “The annual lakefront spectacular returned to the city Saturday after two years of altered or canceled shows due to the pandemic,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.
— Columbus statues should not return to Grant Park and Little Italy, mayor’s monument commission recommends: “It is not clear if the city will follow the recommendations of the Chicago monuments project advisory committee. In May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot hinted strongly at ignoring them,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.