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News Around Illinois – December 6, 2019

2019 National Christmas Tree
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump stand in front of the National Christmas Tree moments after its lighting on December 5, 2019.

Loves Park Students Make Ornaments For National Christmas Tree

LOVES PARK – Harlem Middle School art students in Loves Park were chosen to make ornaments representing Illinois for the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting celebration. Teacher Ruth Meissen said the 24 students spent hours handcrafting every piece of the 24 ornaments for the last several months. She says they decorated all of the ornaments with the same white oak tree design so they could each work on all of them.  Thanks to a fundraising effort, 18 Harlem students made the trip to Washington, DC for Thursday night’s tree lighting. – Peter Medlin, WNIJ News

Reports: Illinois Made Major Cuts At Environmental Agency

CHICAGO — Two reports show staffing cuts and dwindling funding at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in recent years. An Environmental Integrity Project report released Thursday shows the agency’s workforce was reduced by 38% between 2008 and 2018.  A November report by the University of Chicago Law School and former federal EPA officials shows the state lags behind others in funding allocated to its environmental agency. The Chicago Tribune says federal statistics show Illinois is in the top 10 states for the amount of industrial air and water pollution released into the environment annually.  – Associated Press

United’s Kirby To Take Over For CEO Oscar Munoz

CHICAGO – United Airlines says company president Scott Kirby will succeed CEO Oscar Munoz next May. Munoz recruited Kirby from American Airlines in 2016. At American he had been considered as the likely successor to that carrier’s CEO. Kirby is widely credited with improving United’s fleet and operations. There were even rumors this year that American might try to lure him back as CEO. Munoz has been United’s CEO since mid-2015. It has been a tumultuous period that included a controversy over the bloody dragging of a passenger off an overbooked plane in Chicago. – Associated Press


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Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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