News Around Illinois – January 6, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Chicago-Area U.S. Soldier Killed In Attack In Kenya

A U.S. solider from the Chicago area was among three people killed in an attack on a military base in Kenya. The family of Henry Mayfield Jr. of Hazel Crest confirmed his death to NBC affiliate WMAQ. The 23-year-old held the rank of Army Specialist. Mayfield’s mother says she last spoke to her son on New Year’s Day. Mayfield joined the Army in 2018. Two other Americans, both contractors with the U.S. Department of Defense, were also killed Sunday by al-Shabab extremists at Manda Bay Airfield. – Associated Press

Sixteen File In Illinois For White House Race

SPRINGFIELD – Sixteen men and women have submitted paperwork to run for president in Illinois. The campaigns had just two days last week to file petitions with the State Board of Elections. President Donald Trump has just two Republican rivals: Rocky de la Fuente and John Schiess. On the Democratic side, there are 13: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. The Illinois primary is March 17. – Brian Mackey, Illinois Public Radio

State Will License Dozens More Cannabis Businesses

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ new cannabis law lays out a timeline for how the state will allow the marijuana industry to grow over the next several years. By the end of next year, Illinois will license more than 180 new dispensaries and 40 new small-scale growing operations. Many of those are expected to be operational by then. Right now, around 30 cannabis dispensaries throughout Illinois are selling to recreational customers, and several more are expected to come online in the next few months. Meanwhile, starting this fall, up to eight Illinois community colleges will be allowed to offer cannabis courses to students interested in training for a career in the industry. – Sam Dunklau, NPR Illinois

Champaign County Treasurer Resigns After A Year In Office

URBANA – Champaign County Treasurer Laurel Prussing is resigning after serving only about a year in office. The News-Gazette reports that the Democrat announced her resignation Friday, and it’s effective January 31. Prussing says she ran for the office in 2018 because it was expected to be a strong election year for Democrats and no one else in her party wanted to run. She tells the News-Gazette she has hired former county board chair C. Pius Weibel to serve as the chief deputy treasurer. That position had been vacant for several months, contributing to a backlog of work in the treasurer’s office. Current county board chair Geraldo Rosales will need to appoint a new treasurer to replace Prussing. – Brian Moline, Illinois Newsroom

Volunteers Remove Invasive Plants Around Chicago Area

CHICAGO — A volunteer group says its efforts to remove invasive plant species at eight Chicago-area forest preserves is paying off. The Centennial Volunteers project has been targeting river-edge sites and says that native plants appear to be returning to the targeted locations. Invasive plants can impact native growth and block sunlight from reaching the ground. Funding for the project comes from a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The volunteer project was started in 2014 by several organizations including Friends of the Chicago River and the Forest Preserves of Cook County. – Associated Press

More Illinois Seniors Eligible For State Benefits In 2020

SPRINGFIELD — More Illinois seniors will qualify for state benefits such as discounted license plates in 2020. The Illinois Department of Aging says it’s using new, higher income limits to determine eligibility for the state’s Benefit Access Program as of Jan. 1. The program includes discounts on license plates, the Seniors Ride Free Benefit and the Persons with Disability Free Transit Ride Benefit. Under the new guidelines, single-person households will qualify if they earn less than $33,562 in annual income. That’s up from $27,610 last year.  – Associated Press

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