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News Around Illinois – July 7, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 7, 2020.

‘The Blues Brothers’ Wauconda Beach To Reopen After 30 Years

WAUCONDA, Ill. (AP) — Wauconda’s iconic beach seen in the “The Blues Brothers” movie is set to open after a $3 million renovation. After a prolonged wait due to the coronavirus pandemic, the northeastern Illinois beach is set to open to the public Wednesday, the Daily Herald reported. The initial grand opening was envisioned for Memorial Day weekend. The beach, featured in the classic 1980 film “The Blues Brothers,” was formerly a privately run attraction founded by the late Phil Froehlke in the 1920s. Froelich’s descendants closed the beach in 1990 due to rising insurance costs, but park district leaders preserved the site and took over when the family opted to sell in 2016. – Associated Press

GOP Congressional Hopeful’s Dairy Got Virus Relief Loan

CHICAGO (AP) — A dairy owned by Illinois Republican congressional candidate Jim Oberweis received a loan worth $5 million to $10 million from the federal rescue package aimed at helping small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday. Oberweis Dairy, the North Aurora-based business where Jim Oberweis is chairman, was approved for the Paycheck Protection Program on April 8, according to Treasury Department data. The business is currently operated by Oberweis’ son, who is the company president. Oberweis says his role with the company is advisory and he does not receive a salary. His campaign website says his wife also works for the family business. Oberweis said in a statement Monday the loan was used to pay for salaries and benefits for employees. The Treasury Department did not release the exact amount of the loan. A spokesman for Oberweis’ campaign said it was between $5 million and $6 million. – Sara Burnett – Associated Press

Big Players In Illinois Got Millions In Federal Help For ‘Small Businesses’

In March, when the COVID-19 outbreak first prompted many states to all but shut down their economies, Congress and President Donald Trump approved an initiative that was supposed to help avert layoffs by “small businesses.” The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, has doled out more than half a trillion dollars across the country in just a few months. data released Monday identified all who are getting $150,000 or more — including more than 27,000 recipients in Illinois. A WBEZ analysis of the new data found 255 companies, nonprofits and other organizations got the largest loans available — more than $5 million and as much as $10 million. The records show those enjoying the biggest PPP loans included the Field Museum of Natural History, Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning in Bedford Park, the Des Plaines-based Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, the Mario Tricoci Hair Salon & Day Spa chain, Willow Creek Community Church, the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. – Dan Mihalopoulos – WBEZ

Illinois Law School Grads Ask State To Let Them Skip The Bar Exam Because Of COVID-19

Law school graduates in Illinois petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court Monday to waive the bar exam requirement for those scheduled to take the test in September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency petition filed by recent law graduates asks the Illinois Supreme Court to waive the requirement and allow those who otherwise qualify to become licensed lawyers in the state, known as diploma privilege. The petition was written by Mollie McGuire, a 2020 graduate from the University of North Carolina School of Law who now lives in Chicago, and Dalton Hughes and Steven Tinetti, both graduates of the University of Illinois College of Law. Graduates typically take the bar exam in July, but Illinois pushed the test back to September due to the pandemic. – Kate McGee – WBEZ

Illinois Ends License Suspension For Non-Moving Violations, More Penalties For Texting While Driving

Drivers in Illinois will no longer have their license or vehicle registration suspended for unpaid parking fines and tollway violations. Spokesperson for Secretary of State’s Office, Henry Haupt said a parking ticket doesn’t define a person’s ability to drive. Backers of the new law, referred to as The License To Work Act said drivers in Illinois should be able to drive back and forth to work, even if they cannot afford to pay fines. Suspensions will be lifted for drivers whose license is suspended for ten or more parking tickets, providing they don’t have other serious driving convictions. However, the new change does not apply to moving violations. Drivers who receive three or more moving violations in a year, could still have their licenses suspended. Some moving violations include speeding, running a stop sign, or a red light. There are now more severe penalties for Illinois drivers who are caught texting while driving, and for crashes involving crosswalks and right-of-way violations. If a driver is caught texting while driving, or using a computer, and they cause a serious injury to a person, they will face a 12 month license suspension and a minimum fine of $1,000. – Olivia Mitchell – WUIS

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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