State Senator Bennett passes away from brain tumor

URBANA – Colleagues are remembering State Senator Scott Bennett for his wit, his work on public safety, and his Central Illinois upbringing. In a statement Friday afternoon, his wife Stacy says Bennett succumbed to complications of a large brain tumor. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says the 45-year-old Champaign Democrat was pronounced dead Friday afternoon […]

217 Today: Iranian American U of I grad student organizes demonstration to support overseas protests

Friday, December 9, 2022 Today’s headlines: Illinois State Senator Mike Simmons joined U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and other health experts in Chicago Thursday to talk about youth mental health. Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is celebrating Thursday’s congressional passage of landmark legislation that enshrines gay marriage into federal law. Rates of suicidal ideation have […]

A Chicago private school defends LGBTQ sex ed after right-wing viral video

CHICAGO – An elite Chicago private school tightened security and disabled its Twitter and Facebook accounts after a video of its dean of students secretly recorded by a conservative group went viral on Wednesday. The video captures the dean talking last week about a visit to Francis W. Parker School by an LGBTQ health organization to […]

Pritzker signs plan to eliminate debt in unemployment fund

SPRINGFIELD — The governor of Illinois has signed into law a measure that officials say will eliminate a $1.8 billion debt in the pandemic-battered account that pays out unemployment benefits. Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that an unexpected surge in revenue fuels the plan. It was brokered by business and labor, as well as Democrats and […]

End of Roe v. Wade increases out-of-state abortion patients in Illinois

  CHAMPAIGN — December 24 will mark half a year since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortions.  The June 24 decision to overturn Roe and the related 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, individual states could suddenly regulate abortion in their jurisdictions. Bans and restrictions spread throughout the country. […]

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been freed from a Russian prison

WASHINGTON — President Biden says WNBA star Brittney Griner has been freed from a Russian prison. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” he wrote on Twitter. Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the swap in a press release to agencies that Griner […]

The White House unveils a new system to track and better prevent opioid overdoses

WASHINGTON — For decades, the U.S. struggled to create a national system for tracking opioid overdoses. Critics including Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) say the lack of accurate, real-time data has made it harder for health officials to respond as black market pain pills, heroin and illicit fentanyl flooded communities. Listen to this story here.  “It […]

217 Today: New Champaign County Public Defender discusses the end of cash bail and more

Thursday, December 8, 2022 Today’s headlines: Illinois ranks 26th in an annual study of U.S. states’ health successes and challenges. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is defending how long it’s taking to expand Illinois’ cannabis industry. The Urbana school board has decided against merging its two Spanish dual-language programs into one school. The Fighting Illini women’s […]

Several central Illinois counties are at an elevated level for COVID-19

Health officials remain concerned that too few are getting the new COVID booster shots. The shots have been available since September. In Illinois, just over 16% of the eligible population have received the booster dose. Compare that to 70% who have completed their primary series of vaccines. The concern comes as the holiday season is […]

Flu cases, hospitalizations are on the rise

It’s turning out to be a bad flu season. Memorial Health reports it is seeing a dramatic increase at its five area hospitals, following national trends. “This year’s strains of influenza are proving to be highly contagious,” said Raj Govindaiah, MD, Memorial Health senior vice president and chief physician executive. “We don’t like to see […]

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers last week passed significant legislation dealing with electric vehicle manufacturing incentives and the availability of hygiene products for prisoners in the state’s correctional system. But some weightier issues, including a possible assault weapons ban, will wait until a lame duck session scheduled for early January. Last week, lawmakers wrapped up a […]

217 Today: End of Roe v. Wade increases out-of-state abortion patients in Illinois

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 Today’s headlines: On Tuesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed changes to the SAFE-T Act into law. The Urbana school board has decided not to merge its two Spanish dual-language programs into one school. The University of Illinois’ McKinley Health Center is partnering with Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to combat opioid overdose deaths […]