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News Around Illinois – Aug. 12, 2020

The latest news around the state, for Aug. 12, 2020.

Wind Knocks Down Wall Of Fire-Gutted Historic Chicago Church

CHICAGO (AP) — Strong winds caused additional damage to a historic Chicago church but may have also swept in a badly needed “blessing” for a sanctuary where Mahalia Jackson and other famed gospel singers often sang and the man considered the father of gospel music led the choir. Winds that reached nearly 100 mph knocked down the south wall of the fire-damaged Pilgram Baptist Church in northeast Illinois on Monday. Two walls, made of limestone and braced by metal beams, remain intact. The building has been a shell since January 2006, when it was gutted by fire. The building, constructed in 1890 as a synagogue and converted to a Christian church in the 1920s, was designed by the famous architectural firm headed by Louis Sullivan and his partner. It’s the church where Thomas A. Dorsey perfected his cross of the blues with the sacred music into a sound that became gospel music. – Associated Press

Tax Referendum Sought For Public Aid Programs In Urbana

Voters in Urbana could be asked to approve a property tax increase, to keep assistance at current levels for low-income households. Urbana City Council members, in their second role as the Cunningham Town Board, will vote on placing the proposal on the November ballot at their meeting Wednesday night. Township Supervisor Danielle Chynoweth says the increase would add about $36 to the annual property tax on a $100 thousand home in Urbana. She says the revenue raised would go entirely to support “laid-off workers, disabled residents, families facing evictions and homeless residents to be housed and safe.” Chynoweth says the previous supervisor, Michelle Mayol, who served during 2013-2017, cut both the township property tax rate and number of people getting aid. Since taking office in 2017, Chynoweth says she’s helping more people, but has had to spend down township reserves to do so. If the property tax increase is not approved by Urbana voters, Chynoweth says she’ll have to make cuts as well. Urbana City Council members will meet as the Cunningham Town Board Wednesday at 8 p.m., following their 6:30 p.m. council meeting. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

State Supreme Court Consolidates Lawsuits On Pritzker Orders

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court declined to take on a downstate legal battle over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s coronavirus-related orders on Tuesday, moving the case to Sangamon County and consolidating it with a similar challenge. The decision comes as the first-term Democrat was expected in a Clay County courtroom this week after a judge rule d Pritzker exceeded his authority in issuing orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Pritzker’s orders have faced several legal challenges, which courts have mostly upheld. But in Clay County, Republican Rep. Darren Bailey of Xenia sued over the restrictions, claiming Pritzker exceeded his authority under state statutes. Judge Michael McHaney ruled in his favor last month. – Sophia Tareen, Associated Press

State Panel Approves Gov. JB Pritzker’s New Fines For Businesses That Don’t Enforce Mask Mandate

A state panel Tuesday sided with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker in his fight against COVID-19 by approving a rule that could mean fines of up to $2,500 for “rogue” businesses that don’t require patrons wear facial coverings. The measure was opposed by the GOP and some leading business groups but favored by several influential public health organizations, including the Illinois State Medical Society and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. The new rule still leaves a patchwork of enforcement standards statewide, because local prosecutors will be the ones deciding whether to pursue fines. Several who opposed the governor’s pandemic response went on record last spring saying they wouldn’t pursue fines for violators. – Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold, WBEZ

ISU Reports COVID-19 Case Tied To Residence Hall

An Illinois State University student in a residence hall has tested positive for COVID-19, a university spokesperson said Tuesday. ISU declined to identify in which residence hall the student was living, or when and where the student was tested. The person who tested positive has left the university for a temporary time to recover, said ISU spokesperson Eric Jome. ISU’s residence halls are open this fall, despite most classes being online. Additional dorm precautions include required face coverings (within common areas) and limited guests. Move-in has been underway since Aug. 7 at ISU’s residence halls and university-owned apartments. The extended move-in period is part of the university’s COVID-19 response. – Charlie Schlenker and Ryan Denham, WGLT

OSF HealthCare Dedicates Knoxville Avenue Facility

A former grocery store on Knoxville Avenue (in Peoria) has been transformed into a new medical facility that will start welcoming patients later this month. OSF HealthCare held a blessing and dedication ceremony Tuesday for the new Center for Health in what used to be a Cub Foods. OSF purchased the building in late 2018 and spent a 1 1/2 years transforming it into the medical facility. The building will be home to offices dedicated to endocrinology and diabetes, rheumatology, and infectious diseases, and Heartland Clinic, laboratory services and a retail pharmacy. The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) Pediatric Resource Center and University Pediatrics also will move into the new space. – Dan Musisi and Joe Deacon, WCBU

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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