In February 2018, after floodwaters caused destruction in Watseka, Illinois, for the third time in as many years, State Representative Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) knew something more needed to be done.

“Flooding is unlike any other natural disaster we have in Illinois,” Bennett said. “There are lots of things an individual can do to prepare for an ice storm or even a tornado. You can stock up on canned food, you can buy a generator, you can have a safe room in your house. Floods are different: they require entire communities or entire regions to work together to take action.”

Name added to State Police Memorial Wall. In a ceremony held in Springfield on July 20, the family of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story unveiled the addition of her name to the list of state police officers inscribed at the Illinois State Police Memorial Park. The ceremony followed the death of Trooper Jones-Story on March 28, 2019 on U.S. Highway 20 near Freeport, Illinois. The police officer had been conducting a traffic stop, and was hit by a heavy truck driver who had failed to observe the “Move Over” law. This law requires drivers to move over, or sharply slow down, in order to avoid endangering a first responder who is on or next to a working highway.
Employees drill holes in watch plates at the National
Watch Company factory in Elgin, Illinois, 1917.
“Does anybody really know what time it is?”

So asked the Illinois-based rock band Chicago on their 1969 debut album. It’s a good question; one that had plagued travelers throughout the United States during the 19th century, and one which was finally answered after a conference in the band’s namesake city of Chicago.

Before we all had smartphones in our pockets to tell us the time down to the millisecond, before wristwatches, pocket watches and even clocks on the wall, people told the approximate time by the position of the sun. Decorative sundials are not an uncommon sight today, but two centuries ago they were the only method for telling time to any degree of accuracy.

Human trafficking victims’ advocates have hailed Illinois' action as a major step toward combatting human trafficking.

In January 2019, new laws took effect in Illinois that provide creative relief to human trafficking victims. These laws expand victims’ ability to bring civil lawsuits against their trafficker and provide financial incentives to cooperate with police investigations of human traffickers.
U.S. Army troops taking a break while on patrol in Vietnam, 1968
More than 58,000 Americans gave their lives in the Vietnam War. They came from every state in the union and from many different communities in Illinois. The United States drafted young men into the armed forces until near the end of the war, but a great many also volunteered to fight for our nation in Southeast Asia.

Among those who gave their lives far from home a half century ago were three young men from Fulton County in western Illinois who left Canton High School for the military before their graduation.
Push for federal flood recovery assistance. The heavy rains that fell over Illinois and watershed states in the spring and early summer of 2019 caused significant lost business and property damage to residents along major Illinois rivers, ranging from the Ohio River in southern Illinois to the Rock River in northern Illinois. The Mississippi River was in flood for a record number of days this spring and early summer, with extensive damage and impacts that could trigger federal assistance to Illinois.

Individuals and businesses affected by the Flood of 2019 are urged to work with their county emergency management efforts on floodwater recovery. The State is currently conducting a damage assessment to strengthen its application for possible federal flood assistance.
President Nixon visits the Apollo 11 crew as they sit
in quarantine after returning to Earth, 1969. 
Three weeks after their historic mission to the moon, the three astronauts of Apollo 11 were honored with a ticker tape parade through Chicago attended by as many as two million people. They were formally welcomed by Mayor Richard J. Daley with a celebration in a jam-packed Civic Center Plaza.

It was part of a day that began with a similar parade in New York, and ended with a dinner in Los Angeles hosted by President Richard Nixon, at which they were each presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

For two of the Apollo 11 astronauts, it was also a homecoming of sorts.

Neil Armstrong had first set foot on the moon at 8:56 p.m. central time on July 20, 1969. It was the culmination of a career in flight which had started in the Midwest, and included some time in Illinois.

Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens appointed to serve as 20th District State Rep. At a public meeting on June 29, local, city and suburban leaders across the 20th legislative district unanimously selected Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens to serve as their state representative. On June 17th, longtime State Representative Michael McAuliffe announced his resignation, initiating a process set by state law that requires the appointment of a successor within thirty days to fill out the remainder of the term. State Representative Brad Stephens was surrounded by his family, friends and supporters and was sworn into office by former Democratic state senator now Cook County Judge John Mulroe.
Illinois State Capitol under construction in 1871
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Illinois has had six capitol buildings in three cities. The first three capitols met untimely fates. Our first capitol building, in Kaskaskia, was lost to the shifting course of the Mississippi River, which has taken most of our first capital city over the past two centuries. Illinois’ second statehouse; the first one to stand in Vandalia; did not last long. On the night of December 9, 1823, the building was destroyed by fire. The third statehouse was torn down by desperate local citizens who thought they could retain the seat of government in their city if they built a more stately-looking building.

Those civic boosters in Vandalia failed, but the structure they ultimately built; our fourth capitol; still stands today. So does our fifth capitol: at 6th and Adams in Springfield. It was replaced starting in 1868 by the sixth and current Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe. But on one summer afternoon in 1933, it seemed the run of bad luck for statehouses in Illinois might claim another victim.