News Around Illinois – December 26, 2019

News Around Illinois Cover

Illinois Boy Charged In Fatal Fire To Be Evaluated By Expert

EUREKA — A 9-year-old boy charged in a central Illinois fire that killed five people will be evaluated by a child trauma expert to determine if he’s fit to stand trial. The Chicago Tribune reports that the boy’s attorney, Peter Dluski, said in a recent court filing that he has doubts about the child’s fitness to stand trial. The boy was charged with murder and arson in an April fire in Goodfield that killed four relatives and his mother’s boyfriend. His next court hearing is in February. Charging a young child with murder is unusual, something that juvenile justice experts criticize. – Associated Press

Crews Make Christmas Rescue Of Stranded Climber

ALTON — Authorities in southwest Illinois have made a Christmas morning rescue after a woman who climbed bluffs above a city park got stuck on a ledge for hours. The (Alton) Telegraph reports a 911 caller reported hearing a woman calling for help around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Alton Fire Chief Jesse Jemison says the woman climbed the bluffs in an area that’s thick with wooded brush. He estimates she’d been there since 4 p.m. Tuesday and was stranded about 30 feet off the ground in an area with loose rock. Rescue crews used a ladder after cutting a path with a chainsaw. – Associated Press

Black Hawk Statue Restoration To Be Complete Soon

OREGON – Restoration of an iconic Illinois statue is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Artist Lorado Taft called the monumental concrete figure “The Eternal Indian,” but most know it as “Black Hawk.” He constructed it 108 years ago on a bluff above the Rock River near Oregon, Illinois. Work began this fall following years of fundraising and delays at the state level. Both arms had to be replaced. Major work also had to done on the head and other parts of the statue before a final layer of concrete could be sprayed on and shaped to match Taft’s original work. – Guy Stephens, WNIJ News

Students In 2019 Will Learn About Sexual Assault And Consent

DEKALB – A pair of new laws is encouraging schools to discuss sensitive topics like sexual assault in the workplace and consent. Northern Illinois Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch was a sponsor of both plans. Beginning in the next school year, grades 6-12 sex education courses will also have to include the unit on consent. Welch says the workplace preparation course is optional, but many schools in Illinois are already teaching similar classes. “Let’s just teach the basics and how people should behave,” said Welch. “And I think that’s what we’re doing here, and I think it’s going to create a better generation of workers.” A major workplace sexual harassment training law and the workplace transparency act also go into effect at the beginning of the year. – Peter Medlin, WNIJ News

U of I Study: Yoga Is Better For The Brain

URBANA – Practicing yoga could lead to better brain health. That’s according to a University of Illinois review of the available research on how the practice affects the brain. The review found that the areas of the brain that control memory, complex thought and decision making, as well as emotional regulation, are larger in people who regularly practice yoga. Neha Gothe is an assistant professor at the U of I, and coauthored the research review. Gothe says the research on yoga and the brain dates back only about 20 years. Given the rising popularity of yoga, she says she’s hopeful future studies will shine more light on how the practice impacts brain function and health. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

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