In February 2024 the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that U.S. Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. William L. Leukering, 28, of Metropolis, Illinois, killed during World War II, was "accounted for" eight decades after his bomber was shot out of the sky. His remains were identified on March 20, 2023. Luekering was buried with full military honors exactly 80 years after his death.

If you have a stash of unwanted paint, cleaners, batteries, light bulbs or other household hazardous materials stored in your home, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) wants to help you dispose of them safely.

Household hazardous wastes (HHW) are materials that are residentially generated but potentially have the dangerous properties of hazardous waste when they are no longer used for their intended purpose.

The most important numbers about Illinois’ population loss may be from the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the IRS knows exactly how many taxpayers are filing returns and how much income they have, by state.

The new numbers released by the IRS this past month are more bad news for Illinois. Illinois continues to bleed taxpayers, taking billions of dollars of income with them. Our tax base is fleeing.

In all, Illinois netted a loss of 87,000 residents, with 175,000 people moving into Illinois from other states and 262,000 moving out. That loss was the third-largest in the country, with only California and New York netting bigger losses of residents. Read the rest of the story by Mark Glennon on the Daily Journal.

When Faith Colson was an Illinois high school student she was made to feel special by one of her teachers. He became a trusted adult to whom she could turn when needed. Until he wasn't. 

Until he kissed her then sexually abused her. Until he betrayed her trust. 

Illinois State Representative Kevin Schmidt has not slowed down since returning full time to the 114th District in June after a long legislative session in Springfield.

Schmidt kicked-off the summer with Mobile Office Hours in Dupo, Freeburg, Lebanon and Millstadt to ensure constituents from throughout the district have easy access to their State Representative. He also hosted shred events in Lebanon and Freeburg and sponsored a blood drive in O’Fallon. 
Changes to primary election fundraising, the electoral college and the state’s voter registration database are now law after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a wide-ranging bill on July 1.

The legislation, containing several unrelated election measures, passed near the end of the legislature’s spring session on a vote of 68-38 in the House and 51-3 in the Senate.

A measure loosening restrictions on political parties’ spending during primary campaigns sparked pushback from some House Republicans during debate of the bill.

Former President Donald Trump was grazed by a bullet in an assassination attempt on Saturday at a Rally in Pennsylvania. One attendee was killed and two spectators were critically injured as gunfire interrupted the event. The U.S. Secret Service counterassault team killed the shooter. 

Statements from House Republican Legislators on the attempted assassination:

Reick calls for GA oversight of DCFS investigation into latest abuse allegations. After recent news stories surfaced about alleged sexual abuse of foster children in the care of Aunt Martha’s Integrated Care Center in Chicago, State Representative Steve Reick issued the following statement:

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced it has been awarded $1.8 million by the Federal Transit Administration to initiate a pilot program aimed at improving access to public transportation in Southern Illinois. This program will specifically benefit individuals with disabilities, older adults, and low-income residents.

When Illinois high school students sit down to take their annual state assessments next year, they will take a different exam than in recent years.

The Illinois State Board of Education recently announced that starting next spring, it will use the ACT exam rather than the SAT.

Both are standardized tests that measure students’ proficiency in core subjects such as English language arts and math. Both are also commonly used for college admissions – although many colleges and universities have stopped requiring them – as well as scholarship applications.

Illinois State Representative Jennifer Sanalitro's calendar has been filled with meetings, tours and events since she returned to the 48th District after spending months in Springfield for the legislative session. Since returning, she has made it her mission to get out into the District to touch base with residents, local leaders and employers to ensure she provides them with the ultimate representation when she is in Springfield.

After recent news stories surfaced about alleged sexual abuse of foster children in the care of Aunt Martha’s Integrated Care Center in Chicago, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) issued the following statement:
A unique and historic event happened at the Brookfield Zoo in August 2023. An epaulette female shark pup was born without fertilization. The shark was conceived through parthenogenesis, a reproductive process that involves an embryo developing from an unfertilized egg cell. 

This is the second known instance of asexual reproduction by a shark at a U.S. facility in recorded history, with the first being at the New England Aquarium. The baby shark’s mom had not encountered a male since arriving at Brookfield in 2019. Upon reaching sexual maturity, the female shark began laying two to four eggs each month starting in 2022, with the fertile egg hatching an epaulette female shark after a five-month incubation period. 

Shark Week, a creation of the Discovery Channel in 1988, has grown immensely in popularity over the years. Since 2010, Shark Week, which is held annually in July or August, has become the longest-running cable television programming event in history. Shark Week also been dubbed a ‘cultural phenomenon.’ The 1975 film “Jaws” set the stage for the rise in awareness and popularity of sharks in the U.S.

In our lifetime the 4th of July has meant cookouts, fireworks and travel but throughout Illinois’ history the July 4th date has had other significant historical importance. Here are a few July 4th dates beyond 1776 that impacted Illinois:

On July 4, 1778, George Rogers Clark, the highest-ranking Patriot military officer on the northwestern frontier during the Revolutionary War, reached Kaskaskia, seizing it from the British and bringing the colonies’ battle for independence to the western edge of British territory in North America. Villagers celebrated by ringing a bell that is known today as “the Liberty Bell of the West.” The bell, cast in La Rochelle, France in 1741 and sent to the French settlers in Kaskaskia by King Louis XV, is older than Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell.

With the thrilling 2024 NASCAR Chicago Street Race scheduled for July 6 - 7 in downtown Chicago, many preparations are needed in the busy city before the start of the event. Grant Park 165 is the second annual NASCAR Cup Series hosted through the streets of Chicago where everyday life occurs. What does this mean for the lives of Chicagoans?

Multiple road closures and parking restrictions around Congress Circle and Ida B. Wells Drive from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive are currently in place in preparation for the race. It is predicted that the closures and restrictions will be in place until July 18.

Some might think that lawmakers are finished with their work once the legislative session ends in May. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the work of legislators kick into high gear when they are back in their districts.

When State Representative Nicole La Ha is not in the state capital fighting for her constituents, she is in the 82nd District meeting with residents, business owners, civic leaders and those who support our most vulnerable. She is focused on learning about their efforts and needs so she can best represent them and all her constituents when she returns to Springfield.

As a general rule, consumer fireworks are not legal in Illinois. The Pyrotechnic Use Act, passed in 1942, bans the sale, possession and use of all consumer fireworks. While legal to buy in most other states,
firecrackers, bottle rockets and roman candles are not legal in Illinois. 

Violations of this law can result in large fines or even jail time, especially in cases where the fireworks are bought in from another state and transported across state lines. Illinois is one of only three states to ban all or most consumer fireworks.