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It was a festive, joyous atmosphere at the Clark Street docks on the south bank of the Chicago River on the morning of July 24, 1915, as a group of employees and families from the Western Electric Company in Joliet prepared to board the steamship Eastland for an excursion across the lake to Michigan City, Indiana. A band played lively music from the dock and passengers looked forward to a day of fun and relaxation.

In such surroundings it was hard to imagine that the assembly was just minutes away from the worst disaster in Illinois history.

COVID-19

Delta, Gamma variants spread in Illinois. The Delta and Gamma variants of the COVID-19 virus are spreading throughout Illinois. A significant tracking number, the “positivity ratio,” representing positive diagnoses as a percentage of total tests administered, is creeping back up towards 3% in Illinois as a whole. Illinois remains in Phase 5 mitigation, with residents urged to maintain social distancing and personal cleanliness in public places. More than 50% of Illinois residents are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus, with more than 13.0 million doses administered to more than 6 million Illinoisans.
Earlier this summer the nation learned of the death of the controversial former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who became the public face of the war in Iraq from 2003 until his resignation in 2006.

At that time Rumsfeld was serving his second term as Secretary of Defense, having first held the post during the 1970s (making him both the youngest and oldest Secretary of Defense in American history). He was also the White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford and held positions in the Nixon and Reagan administrations as well.

Before all of that, however, Rumsfeld’s first foray into politics came here in Illinois, where he was elected to four terms in Congress in the 1960s.
ETHICS REFORM

Legislative Inspector General resigns, calls for fundamental changes. Under existing State General Assembly law, legislators are supposed to obey a series of laws and guidelines governing their work, income, and conduct. Legislative members’ compliance with these laws and guidelines is supposed to be overseen by the Legislative Inspector General, who has the power to scrutinize and refer cases for possible disciplinary action against a legislative member of the Illinois House or the Illinois Senate.

One hundred fifty years ago today the tragic story of the Lincoln family met with yet another heartbreak.

Thomas Lincoln III was born in Springfield on April 4, 1853, the fourth son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. He was named for his grandfather who had brought the much younger Abraham Lincoln to Illinois in 1830 before settling in Coles County, where he died just two years before his namesake grandson was born.

BUDGET

CGFA reports receipts down in June 2021, up for FY21 as a whole. June 2021 marked the final month of FY21 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), the fiscal year that just ended in the State of Illinois. The FY21 fiscal year was marked by a sharp upswing in unusual and one-time federal aid payments to state governments, local governments, and individual taxpayers. In some cases, Illinois households responded to these federal payments by spending more money and declaring higher personal taxable income. These trends were associated with the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic.
Babe Ruth, Al Simmons, and Earl Averill.
Photo from chicagology.com
Every July the best players in Major League Baseball meet for the annual clash between the National League and the American League in the All-Star Game. After a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, next Tuesday’s game promises to be just as exciting as many of the 90 such matchups which have preceded it.

The mid-summer classic has featured some of the most memorable moments in baseball history: Reggie Jackson crushing a towering home run at Tiger Stadium, Carl Hubbell striking out five future Hall of Famers in a row at the Polo Grounds, and Pete Rose barreling into Illinois native Ray Fosse at Riverfront Stadium. Fans missed the annual gathering of baseball’s best in 2020 which has become such a part of the summer landscape – a run which goes all the way back to the first MLB All-Star game in Chicago in 1933.