Latest News

JOBS
Amazon agrees to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian Automotive. Although Rivian is a startup firm, its Central Illinois plant is experienced at motor vehicle assembly. The Normal plant used to make Diamond-Star cars for Mitsubishi Motors before shutting down in November 2015. The electric delivery vans will be operated under the firm’s Amazon Prime identity trademark, and will carry goods from Amazon warehouses for home delivery. The first vans will go into operation in 2021, and the current goal is to operate 100,000 Rivian-made vans under the Amazon Prime name by 2024.
Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings perform Folsom Prison Blues
at Farm Aid 1985 / Video still from Farm Aid on YouTube
The early 1980s were a rough time for farmers in the United States and Canada. Years of record crops had combined with international geopolitical developments to drive down commodities prices and the value of farmland. Debt soared and foreclosures skyrocketed. It was the worst farm crisis to strike the United States since the dust bowl of the 1930s. As a leading agricultural state, Illinois was among the hardest hit.

Barely a year after statehood, Illinois’ new state government abandoned its original riverfront capital city of Kaskaskia and moved northeast to higher ground in Vandalia. It proved to be a wise choice: within a few decades, the Mississippi had changed course, and much of the original seat of government lay at the bottom of the river.

Less than 20 years later, Illinois was once again looking for a new capital city. The efforts of a freshman state legislator and eight of his colleagues would help shift it farther north.

9/11
9/11 memorial events to be held throughout Illinois. The events will honor the lives of those lost on 9/11/01 and the firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who courageously served on that tragic day. A web-based list of events throughout Illinois can be found here.

BUDGET
Summary of August 2019 revenue numbers. The nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) has reported on Illinois revenue numbers for the month of August 2019.
Pro football fans in Illinois are probably familiar with that catchy fight song, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.” The 1941 song about the “pride and joy of Illinois,” marching to victory on the gridiron was inspired by one of the most dominant professional football teams to ever take the field. The “Monsters of the Midway” were the reigning NFL champions, having smashed their way to a 73-0 victory in the NFL championship game, the team’s fourth league title in just 20 years.

The song is particularly fun because of its play on the term “bear down;” meaning to focus and concentrate; and of course the team’s name. It would have sounded a lot different had it been written about a team called the Staleys.
FIRST RESPONDERS
Honoring Illinois State Police Trooper Nicholas Hopkins. Trooper Nicholas J. Hopkins was shot and killed while serving a search warrant at a home in East St. Louis on Friday, August 23.

Hopkins and other members of the Emergency Response Team were making entry into the home at 5:30 am when he was shot by an occupant during an exchange of gunfire. Hopkins became the fourth ISP trooper to die in the line of duty in 2019.

Trooper Hopkins had served with the Illinois State Police for 10 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and brother. The family released a statement saying he had a "lasting impact on the lives of everyone who knew him."
In the early years of American independence, the Mississippi River marked the western border of the United States. With the completion of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, that boundary was moved hundreds of miles to the west. So by the time Illinois became a state in 1818, we were an interior state; that is, we had no international boundaries.

But for a few weeks in the early 1970s that (sort of) changed with the creation of the Republic of Forgottonia in the region between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.