Nearly 25% of people over 65 years of age still need to file their 2019 income taxes, which are due on Wednesday, July 15.

While most Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax-Aide programs, which provided free basic income tax return assistance, have suspended service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department on Aging wants seniors to know that the following options are available at no charge to assist them with their 2019 tax returns:
All Regions of Illinois Move to Phase 4 on June 26. All four Restore Illinois health regions have met the IDPH health benchmarks to advance into Phase 4. Metrics include reductions of positivity rate and hospital admissions and availability of hospital surge capacity.

On a statewide level, Illinois flattened the curve, passed the peak and saw a sustained decline in key metrics since the coronavirus pandemic began. Looking at 7-day rolling averages - which smooth out daily fluctuations and allow trends to emerge - Illinois is seeing marked declines in cases, deaths, case positivity and Covid-related hospitalizations.
The application for Business Interruption Grants (BIG) is currently available for review by businesses seeking assistance. Applications will be accepted between June 26 through July 7, 2020.

In the first round of grants, the state has allocated $60 million for businesses experiencing extreme hardship as a result of COVID-19 related closures. Up to $20,000 per business will be awarded for eligible applicants.
It might not come as a surprise to learn that a phrase which has been around American politics for a century; a phrase which has come to symbolize secret, backroom political deals; has its origin here in Illinois.

This year millions of Americans went to the polls during the late winter and spring to choose their party’s Presidential nominees. Just as they did four years ago and every four years going back for as long as most of us can remember.

But it wasn’t always that way.
Push for “Phase 4” reopening. Under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, restaurants, bars and taverns will be allowed to reopen their indoor facilities under conditions of social distancing. Schools and universities will be allowed to make plans for reopening in fall 2020. Health and fitness clubs, gyms and swimming pools will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines. Many Illinois residents have been laid off from jobs that are associated with these workplaces, and the Illinois unemployment rate has spiked to more than 15 percent. The move to Phase 4 is currently scheduled to begin on Friday, June 26.
It had taken three years for the news to travel from Washington to Texas, but it had finally arrived.

President Abraham Lincoln had called his Cabinet together in July 1862 and informed them that he intended to issue an Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all then-enslaved persons in the Confederate states to be “thenceforward and forever free.” The Proclamation was issued in September just after the Union victory at the battle of Antietam, and took effect to much fanfare in the north on January 1, 1863.

But in those areas of the south still controlled by Confederate forces, the news did not spread so quickly. As Union armies marched through the south, they carried copies of the Proclamation with them, announcing the joyous news at every stop, months or sometimes years after its issue by the President. With Grant’s victory at Appomattox, and the cascading effect of surrenders of other rebel armies throughout the south, Union forces began arriving to restore United States authority in many parts of the seceded states.
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is reminding taxpayers that state individual income tax returns and payments are due July 15, the same date set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal returns. Taxpayers who have yet to file their 2019 state individual income tax returns must act by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest. The Governor extended the tax filing season three months from the normal due date of April 15 to help Illinois taxpayers experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois residents who are new drivers or have expired driver’s licenses or ID cards  can now preregister online to apply/renew their driver’s licenses and ID cards. This is in an effort to reduce the processing time of transactions at Driver Services facilities.

Customers may go to to access the preregistration application for driver’s licenses and ID cards and input specific information regarding their upcoming transaction. As a result, once the customer visits a Driver Services facility, the clerk will not have to enter all of the data like a change of address or a change of height and weight into the electronic application form because the customer has already updated the information. This will improve the efficiency of these transactions.
Continued progress towards “Phase 4” reopening. Phase 4 of the State’s “Restore Illinois” plan will allow the limited reopening of restaurants and bars. Schools and universities will be allowed to reopen with social distancing. Health and fitness clubs, swimming pools, and other public facilities will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines. The movement to Phase 4 is made necessary by the fact that many Illinoisans have jobs that depend on these activities, and that a growing number of Illinois residents now understand the danger of this virus and how to protect themselves and others from transmitting or catching it.
The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) has extended the deadline for accepting nominations for the 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame Awards to August 31, 2020.  These awards recognize adults, 65 years of age and older, and highlight the meaningful contributions they have made in Illinois.

Award nominations are being accepted for the following categories:
Some sporting figures just endure for generations. A hundred years after he played, if you ask who the greatest baseball player who ever lived was, you’ll probably hear a mention of Babe Ruth. If you ask about the greatest track star, someone will likely put forth Jesse Owens. In Illinois, although there are a great many candidates, if you are looking for the name of the greatest football star, you’re sure to hear about Red Grange.

A legend at the University of Illinois a century ago, and then in the early days of the Chicago Bears, Red Grange earned the nickname “the Galloping Ghost” for his ability to elude the grasp of defenders who might as well have been grabbing at thin air.
Protests and looting break out; state of emergency declared in fifteen Illinois counties. The declaration followed numerous statewide incidents of looting in the wake of protests. While these protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many voices are now being raised concerning the overall state of race relations in the United States. The disaster declaration accompanied the deployment of hundreds of National Guard troops to strategic locations throughout Illinois. 
The State of Illinois is opening its community-based testing sites to anyone to get tested, regardless of symptoms or other criteria. As we move through the Restore Illinois plan, and into a full reopening of the state, testing will be crucial to identifying new cases and taking immediate action to prevent additional spread.

No appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is needed at state operated drive-thru sites and testing is available at no cost to the individual.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recommending anyone who has recently been part of a mass gathering, including rallies and protests over the past week, get tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The virus has been found to spread between people up to a couple days before people start showing symptoms. Because of this, the number of people an infected person could unknowingly expose can be exponential.

A list of public and private testing sites can be found on the IDPH website at
Severe weather is always a threat in the spring and summer months and it is important to be prepared and have a plan in place to protect your family.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) recommends a few new items be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit are: water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger, and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at

IEMA offers severe weather preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website, a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe.
Captain Daniel V. Gallery, Jr. and Lieutenant Junior Grade Albert L. David.
Photographed on board USS Guadalcanal, June 1944. 
When America entered World War II, a menace lurked off the nation’s east coast. German submarines, called U-boats, had been stalking British and other allied shipping in the North Atlantic since the outset of the war, and upon America’s formal entry into the European war these fearsome warships were sinking American ships, some within sight of the U.S. coast.

One of these U-boats was U-505, a Type IX-C submarine which entered service in the German Navy in 1941. U-505 had an effective first year, attacking and sinking allied shipping off the coast of West Africa and in the Caribbean Sea. The loss of thousands of tons of shipping and cargo to the torpedoes and gunfire from these submarines threatened to starve the British into submission and strangle the war effort.

Something had to be done.