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News Around Illinois – Aug. 19, 2020

The latest news around the state, for Aug. 19, 2020.

Architect Of The Capitol To Take Up Issue Of Douglas Statue

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Board members of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol on Wednesday will take up a request from the Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to replace imagery of political giant Stephen Douglas and Illinois pioneer Pierre Menard because of their racist pasts. Madigan called for replacing statues and paintings of the two in July, following the racially charged killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols. The board, consisting of the Senate’s secretary and assistant secretary and the clerk and assistant clerk of the House, will discuss its next step toward legislative approval. Menard, who became a successful fur trader in southwestern Illinois nearly 30 years before statehood and was the state’s first lieutenant governor, is remembered by a large statue on the Capitol lawn despite having once owned slaves as late as 1830. Douglas, a Democrat whose personal and political life is intertwined with Abraham Lincoln. The two courted the same woman and faced off in 1858 in a series of debates during a race for U.S. Senate. Their portraits and statues share prominent places in and around the Illinois Capitol. – John O’Connor, Associated Press

Activists Call On Chicago Leaders To Defund Police In The City’s Next Budget

Community and labor groups are taking aim at Chicago’s municipal budget, demanding that the city defund the police by 75% and invest in neighborhoods instead. Activists rallied outside City Hall Tuesday demanding that Chicago shift more than $1 billion away from the Police Department and steer it towards education, health care and social services. Amisha Patel, executive director of Grassroots Collaborative, one of the groups in the coalition, said Tuesday’s event — titled “Black to the Future” — was a kickoff to their campaign around Chicago’s budget talks this fall. At a press conference in front of City Hall, the activists stacked rows of large boxes painted in green to symbolize the $1.8 billion dollars Chicago spends on its police. Next to those, they laid out a few small boxes to represent funds for homelessness, domestic violence and other issues. The goal was to “make very clear the city’s current priorities,” Patel told WBEZ after the event. “Though elected officials like to say, ‘There is no other option, this is the only thing that we can do, we’re so sorry,’ we know the tough choices actually are about defunding the police, stopping corporate welfare, stopping the subsidized developments like Lincoln Yards.” – Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, WBEZ

Young People Make Up Majority Of COVID Cases In McLean County Spike

McLean County health officials announced a new single-day record with 51 coronavirus cases on Wednesday. This marks the third time in the last week the county has set a new record for cases in one day. More than half of the new cases are younger, according to data from the McLean County Health Department (MCHD). Twenty-six of the cases involved people ages 10-19, and 13 cases are from people in their 20s. One case involves a child under age 10. “Even young healthy individuals can have complications from the virus, and some may even need to be hospitalized,” MCHD administrator Jessica McKnight explained. “Everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Every interaction with persons outside your household should be treated as a risk for transmission.” – Eric Stock, WGLT

ISU Warns Students On Parties, Opens More Testing Sites

More testing options are now available for students at Illinois State University, as President Larry Dietz warned Redbirds against attending large off-campus parties. Photos have circulated on social media over the past few days, showing crowds at apparent off-campus parties on the weekend before classes resumed Monday. Dietz said “what happens at colleges and universities across the state” would impact health and safety metrics Gov. JB Pritzker will use to evaluate whether to pull Illinois back into a more restrictive phase of reopening. It’s unclear how many ISU students are currently residing in Normal. Most classes are entirely online. Dorms are open — albeit with new precautions — and many students had already signed leases at off-campus apartments when the pandemic worsened. Others don’t have another permanent residence which to return. Meanwhile, new testing options are now available for students who are not experiencing symptoms. Testing is now available on the Quad between Schroeder and Edwards halls, as well as at the former fire station, 602 N. Adelaide St., near Cardinal Court, according to the Student Health Services website. Students must show their Redbird ID card. – Ryan Denham, WGLT

More Morton Students Quarantining After Potential COVID Exposures

Morton District 709 currently reports eight COVID-19 positive students district-wide. Another 96 are currently in quarantine, up from 43 on Friday. That’s according to district Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hill, who is communicating COVID-19 cases with students and parents every Friday. He gave an update during the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. No teachers or staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, but 11 are currently quarantining, said Hill, adding the district is coordinating with the Tazewell County Health Department on a daily basis. The health department said Monday that no Morton schools are currently considered outbreak locations. To qualify as an outbreak location, COVID-19 cases would need to be linked back to specific schools or classrooms. Multiple students testing positive for COVID-19 doesn’t necessarily qualify as an outbreak. – Tim Shelley, WCBU

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