npr illinois

Report Renews Calls For Consolidation, Service Sharing Of Illinois’ 9,000 Local Governments

Illinois has long held the record for the most units of local government in any state — 8,923 local taxing bodies to be exact, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Civic Federation.

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Local Calls Made In 217 Area Code Now Require 10-Digit Dialing

Illinois residents who live in the 217 area code now need to dial a full 10-digit number when making local calls. The area code encompasses Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Quincy, and other parts of Central Illinois. The change in dialing requirements corresponds with a new 447 area code being overlaid in the region on March 27.

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Pritzker Announces Infrastructure Grants To Help Close Equity Gaps In Economic Development

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced $11 million in new infrastructure funding aimed at spurring economic development in underserved areas.

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Senate Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to tighten the limits on who can receive the next round of stimulus checks as part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to several Democratic sources.

The change comes after demands from moderate Democrats to make sure the latest round of checks is targeted at lower income families. The full amount of the checks remains unchanged at $1,400, but the amount would phase out quickly for higher earners.

In Disney’s new film “Raya and the Last Dragon,” Raya is a young warrior in the fantasy land of Kumandra, where humans and dragons have lived together for centuries.

But an evil force known as Druun turned the dragons and many of the humans into stone, with the remaining people split into warring factions. On her mission to restore peace, Raya manages to find the last surviving dragon, Sisu. “Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in theaters and is available on Disney+ beginning Friday.

Air traffic controllers may soon see more planes crossing their radars. Data from the travel analytics firm Cirium shows scheduled weekly airline seats are higher than they were a year ago.

Here & Now transportation analyst Seth Kaplan joins us to discuss what this means for the airline industry as it looks past the pandemic.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

President Biden is asking all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers in order to open more schools for in-person learning. Educators now qualify for the federal pharmacy program.

In California, the LA Unified School District is already taking matters into its own hands by launching a vaccination program this week to get all its teachers and staff inoculated to open schools by mid-April.

How The Pandemic Has Changed Social Media

45 minutes ago

The pandemic has prompted many people to stop posting as much on social media, even as they’re scrolling their feeds more while stuck at home. At the same time, some have turned to social media as a refuge from the helplessness many felt in 2020, rediscovering its capacity for connecting people.

Here & Now‘s Tonya Mosley speaks with Rani Molla, senior data reporter for Recode.

Democratic strategist Bill Press and Republican strategist Alice Stewart join Here & Now‘s Callum Borchers to discuss the differences between their political parties on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, and what’s on and off the table in negotiations.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

The country's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is picking up speed, with a third new vaccine ramping up production and an accelerated timeline promising enough supply for every American adult by the end of May.

Originally aired February 26, 2021.

The Chatham Area Public Library eliminated all fines on overdue materials for its library cardholders and registered reciprocal borrowers. Along with going fine free, the library has taken other steps to continue their service through the pandemic. Library Director Amy Byers and Community Engagement Librarian Megan Freeman discuss this and more with Community Voices' Bea Bonner. 

Director Lee Isaac Chung's inspiration for Minari, his semi-autobiographical film about a Korean American father who moves his family to a farm in rural Arkansas, began with a list.

Chung had been struggling to settle on a new project. Inspired by Willa Cather's writing about her Nebraska roots, he decided to look into his own past. So he went to the local library and spent the afternoon writing a list of memories from his own rural upbringing.

Seven years ago this April 14, armed Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped 276 school girls in the remote Nigerian town of Chibok. Fifty-seven of them managed to escape by jumping onto the highway as the trucks into which they'd been forced were driving away. The Boko Haram convoy continued on, taking the remaining 219 hostages to a destination, and a fate, unknown.

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Bitcoin: Revolutionary Breakthrough, Or Mother Of All Bubbles

If you think America's politics are polarizing, consider Bitcoin. The price of a single Bitcoin today hovers around $50,000. Ten years ago, in its infancy, it was around a buck. The digital currency's meteoric rise has minted millionaires and energized true believers around the world. That's only convinced skeptics that Bitcoin is the mother of all bubbles. In recent weeks, the price of Bitcoin has been driven higher following highly publicized investments from the carmaker Tesla and the life...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

Director Lee Isaac Chung's inspiration for Minari, his semi-autobiographical film about a Korean American father who moves his family to a farm in rural Arkansas, began with a list.

Chung had been struggling to settle on a new project. Inspired by Willa Cather's writing about her Nebraska roots, he decided to look into his own past. So he went to the local library and spent the afternoon writing a list of memories from his own rural upbringing.

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Education Desk

U of I Sued Over Handling Of Sexual Misconduct Claims

Feb 25, 2021
Travis Stansel / Illinois Public Media

Two former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students are suing the University of Illinois for failing to protect them from a professor they say was violent and exploitative. The lawsuit, filed last month in the Illinois Court of Claims, alleges the university focused on generating income from Chinese students at the cost of protecting students.

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Equity & Justice

Chicago Community Bond Fund

The  Illinois Legislative Black Caucus succeeded earlier this month in ushering in legislation that would, among other things, end cash bail. If signed by Governor Pritzker, Illinois would be the first state to completely end the use of money bonds. 

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Illinois Economy

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

Ahead of Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address next week, Republican lawmakers are calling on his administration to preserve tax credits for businesses — especially ones Pritzker himself helped negotiate during his first year in office. 

Read More Illinois Economy Coverage

Statehouse

npr illinois

Illinois has long held the record for the most units of local government in any state — 8,923 local taxing bodies to be exact, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Civic Federation.

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Politics

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. Capitol Police says that it is aware of a threat by an unidentified militia group to breach the Capitol complex on Thursday.

March 4 is a significant date for far-right conspiracy theorists who believe that former President Donald Trump will return to power that day. March 4 was the original date for presidential inaugurations until 1937, after the adoption of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has put the country's largest opposition party under surveillance as a potential threat to the country's constitution, according to public broadcaster ARD and other media outlets. The move affects dozens of lawmakers who are in the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

It took more than three hours for former President Donald Trump's Defense Department to approve a request for the D.C. National Guard to intervene in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the commanding general of the outfit told senators on Wednesday.

The testimony comes as Congress holds a series of hearings about security preparations for and the response to the violence at the Capitol this year.

Michelle Queen does not consider herself part of QAnon, but she does believe some of its most outlandish conspiracies – including that Satan-worshipping elites in a secret pedophile cabal are killing babies and drinking their blood.

"When you are evil, you're evil," says Queen, 46, from Texas. "It goes deep."

President Biden wasn't many progressives' first, second, third — or maybe even 20th — choice in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

But ever since winning the party's nomination last spring amid the onset of the global pandemic and economic downturn, Biden has vowed to govern as the most progressive president since Franklin Roosevelt. He's even made a large portrait of FDR the centerpiece of his Oval Office to underscore that goal.

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The X from NPR Illinois - LISTEN ON 91.9-3 HD OR STREAM

50 Years Later, Why Marvin Gaye's Seminal Album 'What's Going On' Endures

When Marvin Gayes record Whats Going On came out in 1971, unemployment was at a high of 6%, people were protesting police brutality, and Americans were angry over the Vietnam War. Whats Going On reflected those times with laser-sharp precision, and its gone on to become Motowns biggest commercial success. And 50 years later, the themes of the album still reflect some of the most significant challenges and divisions we face as a society. But many people may be surprised to learn that this...

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